In most casual get to know you conversations people ask what it is I do. I then say that I am studying at Brigham Young University. They then ask what I am studying, and I reply with the quick and easy answer, Physics. Now any physicist will acknowledge that there are 3 or 4 general answers that the average person responds with:
1. (makes a disgusted face) Really that was my least favorite subject in high school.
2.(astonished face) Really I changed majors in college because of the physics class.
3.(astonished face) Wow you must be smart.
4.(smug look) I like physics too. I am an engineer.
So I am in fact studying physics. And I wanted to answers the question that all 4 types of people are asking in the back of their mind. Why the HECK did you choose to study physics?
There are many ways I tend to answer this question. My most common answer of late is that I just want to play with lasers for the rest of my life (my current research area is laser physics). This answer pacifies most people including my critical older brother who compared me to an 11-year-old playing with a chemistry set from Toys-R-Us. Which in fact is kind of the fun of being an experimentalist. Playing with big expensive toys I mean.
I have always wanted to know why. Why things happen? How they happen? How things work? I guess I have a curious mind. Physics has always been able to answer those questions for me. It is the original science of how the world works.
Then there is the question of why I want to study Optics (the physics of light). This may get a little weird. Like I mentioned before all of my posts seem to get religious. I don’t know why. I am just that mormon I guess. When I was in my very first physics class some 6 years ago we entered the optics section at the same time that I started studying something called the Light of Christ in my own personal scripture study. I have never in my life seen something so worldly have such a religious connection. I realized the all of the physical properties light has are astounding. Mind blowing. Just plain amazing. Light is everywhere. It bends and flows. It never ends, but can travel to infinity. I saw the Light of Christ behaving the exact same way that physical light did. It was the perfect evidence of God’s existence.
“ But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” (Alma 30:44)
I want to study optics because I want to understand Light. How it works. What it does. It’s incredible power. It’s mysteries. By extension I feel that my knowing light I will be able to understand a little more about how God works. That is why I study physics. And that is why I want to study Optics for the rest of my life.