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Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tools for physics and art

 Trying to get back to being able to calculate stuff in physics, I remember how important discipline and organization are. Where do you write things? Where do you put the paper when completed? If you write on a white board, how do you record it or collect the results going ahead?

 And there's similar discipline associated with digital work. How to store Mathematica notebooks? At what stage to write up an argument in LaTeX? How to make a good bibliography in bibtex that you can reuse? How to store and access pdfs of reference material?

 How to store and access books? Does one have a home library where one knows easily where to find Griffiths and Jackson and books on physical chemistry and non-linear dynamics? Does one have a pattern of going to the nearby library and knowing how to find books on the shelf there? 

And back to digital, how to organize Jupyter notebooks? And what github repositories does one depend on? What regular habits of computer maintenance and upgrade must one have to ensure access and consistency of one's digital tools?

I feel like I moved forward haphazardly regarding all these tools and I've been left without consistent practice. On all fronts, it's more difficult to use these tools. Discipline is about making choices and following through on them.

But one needs a clear goal in order for that discipline to not be arbitrary. This vacation time is a good chance to consider both the goals and associated practice of working well with ideas and calculations.

I've also been focusing on art and painting recently. And there's also an associated set of disciplines there, that I've been slipping on. Cleaning brushes. Organizing space. Caring for materials. Yet, again, discipline without goals is sterile. A fruitful mess can be better.    

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