I have been more than forthcoming in these posts regarding my lack of love for physics classes, so much so I am sure more than one of you has questioned my choice to become a physicist. But if I was going to be really honest, I should have footnoted that statement and confessed I actually really liked my quantum classes. Not only was it a little trippy (I mean, the cat is half dead AND half alive until you look at it, DAMN!), but there was something zen-like about solving the problems. I have distinct memories of staying up until 4am in the common kitchen of my dorm putting the final touches on a 40-page problem set and feeling very satisfied about it. All of it so elegant, so beautiful – I honestly loved it.
Don't look at me that way, we all have our dirty little secrets and this one happens to be mine.
Unlike most of my other classes, quantum mechanics was interesting to me in the abstract and I really never thought much about its applications and never really cared about the practical problems. Blessed be the infinite square well and other useless scenarios. But I probably should have paid more attention to the hydrogen-like atom in external magnetic and electric fields problem, 'cause I have been thinking about that exact situation a lot lately. So after a rather long absence from quantum, I am back to working with Clebsch-Gordon coefficients and Hamiltonians, but now I have a graduate student to do all the math for me. I believe this is what they call the high life. And yes, I am loving it.