Electromagnetism and Special Relativity

Name: Alex Edwards
Country: United Kingdom
Year: Class of 2021
Major: Physics and computer science
Course: Electromagnetism and Special Relativity

This is a course that physics majors usually take around their sophomore spring. The course expands on concepts previously learned regarding electromagnetism such as Maxwell's Equations, and basic framework for Einstein's theory of special relativity, a theory that talks generally about the physics of objects moving close to the speed of light.

Why This Course

Besides being a requirement, this course is also the only proper examination of special relativity that we get in our undergraduate studies, so it was an exciting course to take.

A Typical Day in This Class

The classes were generally small, and in my case, there are eight students and the professor. Professor Mohamed Lotfi Benabderrahmane would outline the general direction we were heading that day, and we began constructing the proofs or displaying a certain derivation.

The classes were normally quite interactive. Every other week, we would have a problem set, consisting of around six challenging problems to solve. These usually took a good five to 10 hours, and were an enjoyable (if sometimes frustrating) challenge.

What I Loved About The Class

By mid semester, we had gone over the basic concepts of electricity and magnetism, and had a fairly solid understanding of them. Then we started learning about special relativity.

In the space of one class, these two very separate concepts of electricity and magnetism — concepts that we had experienced in every day life and knew to be so different — were proven to be the same force. Two sides of the same coin!

The fact you can just sit down with a pen and paper and prove that was really cool to me.

Tips On Navigating What Major or Course to Take

Coming to college, I knew I wanted to study physics. But it wasn't until after I had arrived that I became interested in computer science. If you have a passion, definitely follow it.

A liberal arts education allows you to explore — something that just is not possible in a lot of universities. Take full advantage of that.

Alex Edwards, Class of 2021

Taking courses that weren't directly related to my major like a jazz course in New York, or an introduction to programming course have definitely enriched my experience.

Why NYU Abu Dhabi

I came to NYUAD because it offers so much as a university. The courses offered are really interesting, and it's great to be able to take such a wide variety of them.

There are some really great professors here and you can really get to know them. This is something unheard of in other larger universities.

All these combined with knowing that we have great facilities, great support from our Career Development Center (hugely helpful), and study abroad opportunities really make NYUAD a unique place. It's really an offer I can't refuse.