I'm heather. I've been invited to be a guest for the Physics.SE Ask Me Anything (AMA) taking place in the h-bar on Monday, February 20th, at 10pm UTC (for USA users that's 2:00 Pacific, 3:00 Mountain, 4:00 Central, and 5:00 Eastern). I'm excited to talk about just about anything, from teaching yourself physics, middle school (more about that in a moment), coding, math, and just about anything else you want to talk about.
Post questions you want answered below
The AMA will be very informal, with questions posted here to help give me an idea of what people want to talk about, but the chat session itself will be a bit of a free for all. DanielSank has kindly offered to help moderate the session. Please post questions you'd like answered as responses to this meta post. See for examples the questions posted for Secret, DanielSank, yuggib, or Slereah.
As some of you may already know, I'm in middle school. So, in terms of physics education, I'm mostly self-taught, though my dad's helped me along the way, as have the excellent people (and AI's - ACuriousMind, I'm looking at you) here at Physics.SE. A special shout out to Daniel Sank, who invited me to the Google Martinis Lab (!) which I visited last November. I live in America, and have always gone to public schools. I'm currently in 8th grade. I also love Physics.SE (and stack exchange in general) - I've earned 4.5k rep in approximately 7 months (though I've slowed down in the amount of rep I've earned...school's been busy recently) and also gotten on the close vote review queue leaderboard.
- Quantum computing is an especial interest of mine, and is what helped me really kick start teaching myself a lot of different things, such as linear algebra and some of the basics of quantum computing.
- Nuclear fusion and plasma physics I couldn't really do anything at all practical (problems/reading books) but it's a sub field of physics I try to read about and am interested in.
- Particle physics is super cool! What's not to love about smashing things together at high energies?
- General relativity I've just started reading a bit about.
- I'm trying to start teaching myself the basics as well, as before I really got serious about teaching myself stuff this past summer (which was a little before I found out about stack exchange) I'd only really read pop-sci books. Now I'm trying to learn things the right way.
- Computer science/programming
- Python is my favorite language. I'm trying to get better at programming, and I've worked through some of the Euler problems. Currently, I'm trying to write a program that simulates an ideal (and hopefully eventually a non-ideal) quantum computer.
- Complexity classes interest me, though I don't know a ton about them.
- Finally, computer science where it intersects with quantum computing (see above).
- Currently I'm trying to learn multivariable calculus and set theory, though I've got a bunch of topics I want to learn.
- I have taught myself the basics of linear algebra and single-variable calculus, but I'm afraid I couldn't talk much about them (though I could put in a plug for 3Blue1Brown's linear algebra videos which are absolutely amazing).
- I love, love, love trying proofs and puzzling about big problems that are way beyond me. I've read a bit about the Collatz Conjecture, for instance, and have tried to mess with it a bit. Trying problems like these (even if I fail miserably, as I inevitably do) always makes me feel like a real mathematician/physicist/what-have-you, which is cool. =)
- How to best teach yourself stuff.
- The best textbooks/videos/websites. I have a few recommendations, though I doubt I'm very qualified to give them. =)
- I play the guitar, and am absolutely terrible at it, but it's a great instrument. I have an acoustic and electric guitar.
- Rock climbing, which is an absolutely wonderful sport.
- How to survive middle school - joking (sort of, anyway).
I'm very honored to be invited to take part in this, and it should be fun! Like I said, I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have (if I can answer them, that is).