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Showing posts from February, 2016

Adventures in SciLab

5 words a girl* never wants to hear:

"My Matlab install's not working."

*for girl, read lazy physics trash

So I up and googled things and stumbled upon SciLab, which is good because it took like 10 minutes to install and looks a lot like Matlab on the surface.

The documentation is plentiful (and man, I have never been more glad I can read French because about half the help documentation is French). This is good because I haven't done any serious data analysis since last June. Yes, it's been eight months since I've analysed lab data using a computer program.

There are downsides to missing a semester of lab after all. I feel like such a noob! (on the plus, setting up scilab to take my data is about 1000 times easier now that I know how to program...but I now need to learn to get it to spit out nice graphs)

Yay! By mucking around with style = a negative number I got it to plot points. But datafit is an actual function and I have to write actual code. Right now i…

Mathematics and Music

I think maths is beautiful. I've been saying this since I was in my teens and I don't think I'll stop until the day I stop being able to add one and one to make two. At the same time, I understand that a lot of people find maths very abstract and difficult to make sense of. (To me, maths is pretty much concrete, so I've had to actually put effort into understanding that other people don't see the world the same way.)

I also think music is beautiful. I try my hardest to keep an open mind; I frequently fail, but hey, my music taste is now pretty eclectic. Or maybe just random, if you're feeling uncharitable.

Over the summer, I had to write a vacation essay. Quite unsurprisingly, I chose to work on the physics of music. Slightly more surprisingly (at least to me), my friends all thought I was insane for working on something so boring.

I don't blame them; the basic physics of a simple harmonic oscillator is important, but it's not exactly the most exciting …

Classical music and (unintentional) elitism

The other day I read a comment that really annoyed me about how normal people just can't get classical music, so classical musicians have a gift that they should share with the world.

I am fully in support of the second part. I think art music might be complex, but it's amazingly fun to make and I want as many people as possible to have the chance to make that music. The first part? Not so much.

I'm one of those "normal people" (well, not quite, but I'll come onto that later). I'm not a particularly talented musician, mostly because while I like music it doesn't have the same attraction for me that other subjects do. I got into music because of my amazing, gifted director John and because of practising a lot. That's all that happened. I don't have some sort of special classical music organ (pun unintended - sorry!) in my body. I'm an average schmo who trained a bit. I don't deserve to be elevated to an elite class. People who don't…