During the bachelor/master studies in physics the student acquires a thorough knowledge in the different courses, both at basic and more specialised levels. The skills in using this knowledge are practiced during practical sessions and the bachelor and master theses. In principle a physicist thus disposes of the most important tools to model a problem and put into a mathematical form, but also on the mathematical and numerical methods to solve the problem further and finally also to translate the results back to the original demand. This is a unique asset which is not present in most other studies and which means that a graduated physicist is very versatile and has several possibilities for an interesting career. What is still lacking in the training is the creativity and the ability to use that toolbox outside the niches in which the student has learned and applied them. They learn to solve independently out-of-the-box problems (among others Fermi problems) using generic techniques which have been taught during the Bachelor and Master studies.
In the course of generic problem solving, the students are challenged by a variety of surprising simple problems primarily outside the known areas of physics, for which they can use the generic toolbox which they have learned during their physics studies. Also the students are taught to work within a team. It is also important that the students learn to work in a structured manner.
- Analysis of the problem, clarifying and formulating in in their own words.
- Brainstorming. Ordering of the available knowledge and listing possible directions for a solution.
- Plan for action. Making an allocation of tasks and a time plan.
- Independent activities: looking up complimentary and relevant information. Executing the arranged tasks.
- Reporting and elaboration. Reporting on the activities thus far. Selection and elaboration of a direction for a solution. Critical evaluation of the group result.