We are weeks into the summer at this point. After starting off the summer with a number of goals I can truthfully say that I haven’t even started most of them. It is an odd feeling living at home again (despite visiting several times throughout the academic year) and I am missing the sense of freedom that comes from living by myself and keeping to my own timetable. It’s so easy to let the summer fly by without realising you haven’t used your time very wisely until the end of it. I hate feeling unproductive and that I’m not learning very much and maybe you feel the same way.
So I’ve put together a list of a few ways I am trying to keep my brain active, specifically in a scientific way, this summer.
- I love reading what might be referred as ‘popular’ science and maths books. They are great because they can help you to understand difficult concepts without getting frustrated or bored. Of course they aren’t extremely technical, but they often inspire me to read further into a topic that really didn’t interest me prior or that I found difficult. Some of them are really just for fun and you can often find good books in regular libraries if you don’t want to pay for them.
- If you haven’t heard of it before, coursera is a great website for learning new things and there is a huge range of topics. They are all free and you can go through the courses at whatever speed you want. At the moment there are courses on R Programming, which we used in first year for data analysis, Calculus One, which looks like a good refresh of the differentiation and integration you learn in A Level maths and The Evolving Universe looks like a good introduction to astronomy.
- The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a well-known physics textbook based on lectures by Richard P. Feynman, which is available in full online for free. You can go straight to a section that you struggle with or read it from the start if you’re feeling determined. It covers all the topics you cover in first year at Leicester and much more.
- Finally don’t forget that Harvard, Yale and MIT have free videos and lecture notes on a range of physics topics.
Hopefully these ideas and links will be useful to somebody who has a few too many hours free this summer. It might make it a bit easier to transition into university if you do a little learning each week. Do you do any light studying in your summer or prefer to stay away from your subject when it isn’t term time?