Thursday, February 27, 2014

Good Advice from the Ala Carte Menu

In the comments to the previous post, rrtucci points out that that when a researcher needs to know something, he/she doesn't read chapters 1-8 to get to something that's needed from chapter 20, but just goes directly to 20. Now I'm no researcher in astrophysics, but I'm also not a complete stranger to many aspects of physics. Anyway, I noticed myself making exactly that kind of mistake in trying to understand some some aspects of stellar function.

That is to say, I opened some astrophysics books and repeatedly found myself falling asleep somewhere in the first chapter or two when some aspects of transforming from from one spherical coordinate system to another, or some other such point irrelevant to my quest was being explained. I attributed this failure to persevere to senile loss of concentration, but stupidity would have been closer to the mark.

So I turned to the chapter on the point in question and found that it wasn't hard at all to understand.