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  • LaToya Anderson

From Dance Artist to Schrodinger's Lover

As I sat in the library, struggling through first-semester chemistry, I began chapter 6, Quantum Chemistry. Here I was, a former ballet dancer with a B.A. in dance, turned nontraditional pre-med student earning her second degree, who wouldn't have been caught dead in a science course 5 years before.

Then comes Schrödinger...

Or rather, the Schrödinger equation.

Now before your eyes glaze over, the first thing to keep in mind is that mathematics is a language, and there are folks who spend a lifetime learning how to understand and use it. The fact that this may look like Greek to you is completely normal. All this equation says is, (on the left), is the potential and kinetic energy of some quantum system, like light, an electron, or even a crystal, is equal to (on the right) the total energy of that system. I'll go into the deeper subtleties in another blog post.

I was so fascinated by this equation that I naively tried to solve this equation having only completed a pre-calculus course, which is four courses behind the math skills needed. Nevertheless, by the time I stopped trying to solve this equation to finish the studying this chapter, the physics seed had been planted.

And so I switched and am now earning a B.S. in physics and computational math. The transition wasn't easy and required mental shifts I hadn't anticipated that I will also go into a future blog posts, but is hands down the best life decision I've made.

So here's to becoming one of the next of too few Black woman physicists. Stay tuned...

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