This post was lost in the transition to the new website. I’ve updated it to reflect the changes to my schedule that have come with my significant change in major.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been four weeks since I gathered up all my belongings and headed back to Homewood. This semester has definitely been flying by, probably because–at least relative to my previous two and next five semesters–it’s a bit of a breather. I’m only taking 14 credits, but I really only have 3 full classes.
I’m going to enjoy the break while it lasts—the next few semesters look to be the most work-intensive ones yet. My original schedule this semester, when I was taking Italian, was considerably more balanced than previous ones, though I quickly discovered that I prefer to stack classes into as few days as possible.
After dropping Italian, I was down to 12 credits, which was a bit too low for both my pride and for Dean’s List consideration, so I decided to add a 2-credit class, Problem Solving Lab. Now, my Thursdays are certainly a marathon, but each of MWF has only one class, a welcome development.
Sophomore Fall Class Schedule
Prof. Michele Asuni / 3 credits / Area: H
In Latin this semester, we’re reading the letters of Pliny the Younger, a Roman author who lived in the first century AD. That’s it. I like this course structure much more than Elementary Latin’s rote grammar memorization, though that structure is probably necessary for an introductory course. The readings are much more enjoyable, since they detail real historical events from the perspective of a leading Roman statesman.
Special Relativity and Waves
Prof. Nadia Zakamska / 4 credits / Areas: EN
Spec. Rel. is the first “real” physics course you take in most physics programs. Every simple equation and law we’ve learned thus far doesn’t *quite* work anymore, as moving close to the speed of light can make all sorts of paradoxes occur. For example, if you’re moving fast enough, you can fit a 16 ft. ladder completely into a 8 ft. long shed! I’m enjoying the challenge of diving into the first truly “new” physics since high school.
Introuction to Algebra
Prof. David Savitt / 4 credits / Area: Q
Despite the very elementary-sounding name, Intro to Algebra is, like Spec. Rel, the first “real” math course I’m taking at Hopkins. I’ve completed the introductory sequence of Calc I, II, & III, LinAlg, and DiffEq, and Algebra is one of the two branches for further math study. We consider everything about the structures of groups, which are sets of rotations, reflections, numbers, geometrical properties, pretty much anything. By analyzing the intricacies of the structures, you can categorize all sorts of seemingly disparate mathematical ideas into their respective groups. I’m not a huge fan of mathematical proofs, but the ones in this course aren’t too intricate.
Contemporary Physics Seminar
Prof. Natalia Drichko / 1 credit / Area: N
Contemporary Physics Seminar is a short, 50 minutes/week seminar on modern physics topics. Each week, a group of students in the class give a mini-talk on some interesting topic, ranging from black holes to exoplanets to superconductors. It’s not at all an intensive class, which is certainly welcome compared to the time commitment for my 1-credit physics labs last year.
Problem Solving Lab
Prof. David Savitt / 2 credits / Area: Q
Problem Solving Lab is a rather informal class in which we practice problems in preparation for the Putnam, a prestigious competitive mathematics test offered each December. I’m not planning on taking the Putnam, at least not this year, but the kinds of questions we deal with are of the “fun” variety—at least to a math major. Prof. Savitt is also my Algebra professor as well as my faculty advisor, so I knew it’d be an interesting class.