Sunday, August 28, 2005

The story so far...

Classes are going okay. Instrumental Analysis is kind of caught in suspension at the moment; Prof. Rice had some sort of crisis and is taking a brief sabbatical, so we're reviewing electrochem. E-Chem, for those of you not in the know, is the study of potentials (voltage) in galvanic and electrolytic cells. It's pretty neat stuff and the math is simple, if you can keep your oxidations and your reductions straight (which is always a challenge for a chemist).
Physical Chemistry is a duke's mixture of Physics (at least the quantum mechanics part is, although I'm sure other parts are), calculus, and linear algebra. We leapt in with both feet on the first day with "Postulates and General Principles of Quantum Mechanics." I shall quote to you the First Postulate and then we shall never speak of it again.

Postulate 1. The state of a quantum-mechanical system is completely specified by a function ψ(x) that depends on the coordinate of the particle. All possible information about the system can be derived from ψ(x). This function, called the wave function or the state function, has the important property that ψ*(x) [the complex conjugate of ψ(x)] multiplied by ψ(x) is the probability that the particle lies in the interval dx, located at the position x.

Ahem. Moving on. German Philosophy is awesome merely because Prof. Leventhal is teaching it. It should be just as fun and stimulating as the first section I took this spring...even if I do skip some of the readings *cough*.

Maria came over on Saturday. Since I refuse to speak euphemistically, I will merely say that I had a wonderful time and that I am fantastically lucky to have found the lady I used to fear I'd never meet. We went out to dinner at Casa Maya and got coffee and spent the evening together. Altogether, it was an amazing day.

Today I didn't do all that much. Finished my P-Chem problem set and helped my friend Anna get her act together. She was in Austin trying to get on American Idol and needed notes for both Instrumental Analysis and Physical Chemistry. After letting her photocopy them, I went to the Grind for a frappe (kind of like a frappacino).

Whilst standing in line, happened to notice a lanky bearded youth with his arms outstretched towards me with both the manner and expression of a bad horror movie zombie. His buddy explained the situation by exclaiming,
"Your hat is awesome!"
The zombie then took my hat and put it on his head, at which point the saner one began asking me questions ("Is it from France? Where'd you get it? Is it from India?") I told them that it was black cashmere and that I got it for my birthday, upon which I retrieved it from the head of the obviously stoned zombie.
"You stole it," he said in the vague way a busy man will answer a trivial question.
"I can't steal what's rightfully mine," I countered. "Ponder that."
"I'm not gonna ponder anything. You stole it."
I moved down the counter to get my coffee. Turning to a blonde athletic-looking girl standing by the rear entrance, I asked her if she thought they were stoned or just naturally crazy. She shook her head. "Probably a bit of both. It seems a bit early in the year for that kind of thing though..."
"Potheads know no season," I reflected. Picking up my drink, I bid the two stoners goodnight. The sane one grinned and waved; the zombie merely glared at me in what he probably thought was a menacing way (it's hard to do when you're zonked). Strolling across the UC Terrace towards Bryan, I realized that I had dealt with--hell, am friends with--stranger people than the zombie and wondered if they were stoned as well. Probably not; most of the weird people I know are probably too crazy to be potheads. Just as well.


Blogger Dymphna said...

Thank you for promising not to mention the First Postulate again. That was gruesome.

How is poetry going?

As for the choice between being "naturally crazy" or merely stoned, why weed is all natural, dontcha know? Organic, like.

How goes the job search?

You should have a printer by next week...almost done looking around.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Gryffilion said...

Poetry has not transpired, and will not transpire 'til tomorrow at 5:30. Details shall follow, naturally.
The job search will continue this afternoon as I hunt around CW. The Fair Maria told me the Scotland House might be offering jobs...I'd get to sell tweed hats and knobbly walking sticks. Would that not be awesome?

And regarding the first postulate...isn't there something rather metaphysical about "The state of a quantum-mechanical system is completely specified by a function [psi] of x that depends on the coordinate of the particle.."
Couldn't we all use a "psi of x" equation for our lives at any given point?

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah quantum mechanics. Much better you then I. Remember that the Hamiltonian for Theta equals the constant A times position or

HO = AX.

Good reason to not become a physical chemist....

C. Durfor

10:53 AM  
Blogger Gryffilion said...

But it is a necessary evil, no? A rite of passage, just as Orgo is for freshmen.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So very, very true!

You will be amazed at the level of respect you will receive from your Chem Professors next year.

Ah! He passed P-Chem, now he is one of us!

Best of luck, this too shall pass

C. Durfor

8:07 AM  

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