maths study via The Open University


The CMA result for M343 came back with a perfect score.
Sometimes it makes sense to follow the maths and ignore your own intuition, as in the case of the one answer I really wasn’t sure of.
As for the three questions I was hopeful of, I devised another method, not described in the course notes, to check my answers.
It began by assuming a given option to the first question of the three was true and creating a quadratic in two unknowns. It relied on the correct answer being given within a range of options for the question – and was basically working backwards using proportions.
Anyway, it checked out, and immediately brought the answers to the next two.

Will continue with M343 from Monday.
For now, until Sunday night, I’m reading an introduction to quantum mechanics. Haven’t got very far yet – still pondering how Planck’s equation could have been logically derived in the first place, though I do see how it can reduce to Wien’s law and the Rayleigh-Jeans law via Taylor expansion.


2 responses

  1. Chris Finlay

    Planck admits himself that it was more an act of desperation, rather than anything logical.
    If you’ve got hold of Longair’s book on Theoretical physics then the whole story from Maxwell’s first use of statistics to explain the behaviour of gases, Boltzmans use of statistics to reformulate the second law of Thermodynamics, which was initially rejected by many physicists includiing Planck, Plancks act of desperation and Einstein’s tortuous route is explained in detail. It seems surprising to us these days that there was such a resistance to the use of statistical methods in physics but at the time the idea that something which was seen as fundamental as the second law of thermodynamics, was in fact statistical was seen as heresy and Boltzmann died a few years before the necessity of taking statistical ideas seriously became apparent.

    Anyway congratulations on the CMA marks, hopefully a little ray of sunshine in the rather depressing times you’ve been through

    All the best mate Chris

    August 19, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    • Chris Finlay

      Sorry may have been talking at Cross purposes. Do you mean Planck’s Black body radiation formula or Planck’s equation E = hf. The latter
      was the act of desperation which when applied to thermal radiation gives rise to the Black body radiation formula, not the black body radiation formula itself

      August 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

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