Welcome to my new blog! Before I go any further, I’ll first explain the title of my blog, which I happen to think is pretty clever: If you consider being an undergrad physics student to be the ground floor or “ground state” of the career path of a physicist, then grad school must be the first excited state of the physicist-university system. Get it? I know, I know it’s pretty corny, but I am pretty excited to be moving to a new state to start grad school next month. Okay, I’ll stop with the silly puns for now.
I’ve only gotten acquainted with the blogosphere during the past year. I started out with the basketball blog linked to from ESPN’s website, then later found a whole new world of blogs about physics and life as a physicist. (I’ll add my favorites to my blogroll when I add it.) I enjoyed reading these blogs, and the more I read, the more I felt that I could add something worthwhile to the conversation on the blogosphere.
Now, I realize that there are millions of blogs out there on the internet, and I’ll be lucky if my blog can make even a small ripple in this vast ocean. There are certainly blogs with a similar thrust to mine, but I like to think that I have a unique voice and that I might be able to add something of interest to the conversation. I hope someone out there finds my writing entertaining or informative, but I think that my blog will have value as a way to focus my thoughts by writing them down, if nothing else.
The form and content of this blog will be influenced by the blogs that I have been reading over the past several months. One of my main influences is An American Physics Student in England. The fact that flip puts out a very high quality blog and at a similar stage in life first got me thinking that this is something that I could do. The fact that he is planning on shutting down his blog before the start of the next semester got me moving on actually starting my blog, with the somewhat grandiose thought that I could fill the void he will be leaving in the blogosphere.
Another model for me is Asymptotia. I especially like Clifford’s use of the blog as a window into his mind, especially when that is focused on physics. I plan on focusing my posting a little more on physics and avoiding bringing in my outside interests, but I may find myself wanting to indulge in that at a later date.
Other blogs that I find interesting can be found in my blogroll, once I set it up. From time to time, there is a post on one of these blogs that sets off a train of thought, and now I have a place to put those thoughts. When this happens, I will be sure to link the entry that got those thoughts rolling.
Finally, I feel that I should post a little about the dangers of blogging. It seems that everyone these days is a little shared to publicly share their opinions for fear that it will come back to haunt them in one way or another. I have read about instances where this has happened, specifically with blogging by academics, and I can certainly see how this could be the case.
In light of this danger, I have decided to remain semi-pseudonymous. I have not decided if I will reveal where I am attending school, or other such details, but either way, I think it will be possible for those who know me personally at least to figure out who I am. I would appreciate not being publicly identified on my blog, and I will remove or edit any comments that call me by my real name. I will also abstain from discussing (on my blog) many controversial topics like religion and politics. There is a place to share my opinions on those matters, and I have decided that this is not that place. And of course I will not post negative things about personal acquaintances.
I am planning on turning a modified and updated version of this post into an “About this Blog” page, and I will later add a page about my personal policy regarding this blog. Beyond that, welcome to The First Excited State, and I can’t wait to start writing about something other than blogging itself!