Students Talk About Physics

Guest Poster
trinity students
Trying to understand understanding physics

This guest post was written by Pearse Murphy. Bláithín Power, Pearse, Celia Chari, Sorcha Ní Lochlainn, and Conor Murphy are students at TCD, pictured above.

Recently a few friends and I made a podcast where we discussed a whole lot about physics: both in terms of lecturing styles we’ve encountered, and generally what we find interesting. This got me thinking about how the general public sees physics and science as a whole.

Whenever I tell someone I’m studying astrophysics I’m met with “Oh you must be very smart” or the like, which is quite frankly far from the truth. If you listen to us you’ll realise I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about most of the time, but for whatever reason the whole notion of me doing physics gives everyone the assumption that I’m much smarter than I actually am.

It’s from this that the absurd idea that “I, a person from the general public couldn’t do physics. That’s only for the real brainboxes” arises. Saying you can’t do physics or that you don’t like it is saying that in this vast, crazy, seemingly indescribable universe we can actually figure out how the world around us works which to me is nonsense. It’s quite beautiful really.

All that aside, if you have the time please do listen to the podcast. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and maybe even realise that we physicists are an awful lot like everyone else.