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So You Want To Be A Physicist Discussion

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ZapperZ
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Jun23-08, 08:55 AM
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Discussion on the article "So You Want To Be A Physicist" by ZapperZ

Comments, suggestions, questions are welcome.

The series has almost reached the end of its intended purpose. At this point, I'm looking over it to plug some holes into areas that I may have missed, or didn't emphasize enough. So any suggestions you have will definitely be welcomed. I've also started (although haven't gotten too far into it yet) a "prequel" to the series to include preparations for someone still in high school. Hopefully, that will be done soon to compliment what I've written already.

Zz.
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Greg Bernhardt
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Jun23-08, 09:09 AM
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ZapperZ that is simply amazing work, well done!!
Ki Man
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Jun26-08, 03:15 PM
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hasn't that same thread already been lost a few times before?

bennington
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Jun28-08, 06:09 PM
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So You Want To Be A Physicist Discussion

Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
In case people missed it, the entire series on "So You Want To Be A Physicist" can be found here.

The series has almost reached the end of its intended purpose. At this point, I'm looking over it to plug some holes into areas that I may have missed, or didn't emphasize enough. So any suggestions you have will definitely be welcomed. I've also started (although haven't gotten too far into it yet) a "prequel" to the series to include preparations for someone still in high school. Hopefully, that will be done soon to compliment what I've written already.

Zz.
Great, I'm starting high school this year, and such a prequel would be really helpful.
ZapperZ
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Jul3-08, 05:11 AM
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In Chapter 10 of my "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essay, I discussed the issues in selecting your graduate academic adviser and what criteria you should use when doing that. Last week, Science has a terrific essay that supplements that issue by discussing how you communicate with your adviser/supervisor, especially if he/she is a well-known scientists with a lot of demand on his/her time.

Does your supervisor always seem to address the lab as a whole rather than each of you as individuals with different needs, skills, and abilities? Perhaps in your weekly group meeting, she scans the room, asks, “Everything going okay? Any problems? No? Great,” and then dashes back to her office or to another meeting. This kind of behavior doesn’t make your supervisor a bad person; it may mean she is busy and perhaps insensitive to cues from lab members about the need for regular contact.

Possibly, your supervisor talks to you individually, but he’s a "hit and run" artist, tossing out a query about your progress as he breezes through the lab and then hides behind a stack of journal articles on his desk.
I'd say that this is a very useful essay especially for someone either just about to start a graduate research program, or in the middle of one.

Zz.
nalim
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Jul11-08, 12:48 AM
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I just wanted to say thank you for this really nice essay. It helped quite a lot amidst all the discouraging "advices" I was getting from all sorts of people like: "physics! have you gone mad? How about engineering? you'll make heck of alot of money, and fast..."
yes, so this helped me alot more, and I finally got an opinion from someone who's been through it all.
Regards,
A.H.
hadronhead
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Jul21-08, 01:39 AM
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great information, it doesnt directly correlate to me in all ways (being from the uk) but its really good for getting a general idea, thanks for the interesting read.
ZapperZ
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Jul24-08, 07:11 AM
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Quote Quote by hadronhead View Post
great information, it doesnt directly correlate to me in all ways (being from the uk) but its really good for getting a general idea, thanks for the interesting read.
If you think that there are significant differences between what you have to go through in the UK versus what I've described, I'd appreciate it if you could post some comments/examples. While I know a bit about how the system works in the UK, I certainly do not have a good enough idea of it when compared to someone who had gone through it. I certainly intend to include how one becomes a physicist under the UK educational system. I just can't write about it with the same "authority" as I can with the US educational system.

Zz.
ZapperZ
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Jul26-08, 08:34 PM
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In addition to what I had written in my essay on the preparation leading up to one's thesis defense, there is a very good article in Science's career development section on how one should prepare and present one's thesis defense. There are quite a few recommendations there that one might find useful.

Zz.
hadronhead
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Jul26-08, 11:59 PM
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well id imagine alot of it is very similar, like making sure you stand out by a certain time, and how to go about your doctoral work etc, id have thought the main differences are on a lower educational level, i couldnt really give you more information than roughly what courses etc youd need to study until you have attained your Mphys degree, but if youd like to include it id be more than happy to help out with your understanding of the uk educational system, sorry if this post seems quick and rushed.. im in a rush! :p
Bunga
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Aug12-08, 06:39 PM
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Nice work, man. I am currently pursuing MSc. Eng. Physics at TU Munich, I have finished the course-work and I am planning to start working on my thesis in October. By the way, I did my BSc. Physics in Germany, too..So, will see if I could give you my experience if necessary, when I have time, of course. I just joined this forum today and honestly I have been really impressed.
G01
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Aug12-08, 09:45 PM
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It is cool being able to read this essay as I go through the process myself. (Currently on parts V-VI )

In case I never said it before, this is a great essay and guide Zz. Wonderful job!
RoryP
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Aug13-08, 06:49 AM
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hey guys, i was just wondering if you knew of any helpful information for a physics degree in the U.K??
I am halfway through my A-levels and would really like to go on to do a physics degree next year and wondered if there was any info on a U.K degree?
Any help would be appreciated greatly :)
cristo
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Aug13-08, 07:05 AM
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Quote Quote by RoryP View Post
hey guys, i was just wondering if you knew of any helpful information for a physics degree in the U.K??
I am halfway through my A-levels and would really like to go on to do a physics degree next year and wondered if there was any info on a U.K degree?
Any help would be appreciated greatly :)
I don't think anyone has written anything similar for the UK system, but then I don't think there are too many differences, especially at undergrad. What sort of advice are you after? Have you started looking at universities yet?
RoryP
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Aug13-08, 07:10 AM
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oh right ok fair enough. yeah ive been to a few universities so far which have been really good. i only recently took a keen interest in physics and decided to take it for A-level but im worried that i wont be smart enough to do a degree but i really want to do it. I took a 3 day course at a university last month which i enjoyed but all the other students seemed to have such a better understanding and a better physics background and wondered if it was too late to do a degree?
cristo
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Aug13-08, 07:12 AM
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Quote Quote by RoryP View Post
oh right ok fair enough. yeah ive been to a few universities so far which have been really good. i only recently took a keen interest in physics and decided to take it for A-level but im worried that i wont be smart enough to do a degree but i really want to do it. I took a 3 day course at a university last month which i enjoyed but all the other students seemed to have such a better understanding and a better physics background and wondered if it was too late to do a degree?
What A levels are you taking? I would expect someone intending to do a physics degree (and succeed) to be taking at least Physics and Maths, with a view to obtaining an A in at least Physics. Which universities have you been looking at?
RoryP
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Aug13-08, 07:15 AM
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Im taking Maths Physics and Sport Science. Yeah thats what i thought, well from the internal tests ive been achieving B's and A's in both maths and physics. Ive been to Exeter, Southampton and Bristol so far.
cristo
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Aug13-08, 07:26 AM
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Quote Quote by RoryP View Post
Im taking Maths Physics and Sport Science. Yeah thats what i thought, well from the internal tests ive been achieving B's and A's in both maths and physics.
Ok, well that's a good sign.
Ive been to Exeter, Southampton and Bristol so far.
I'm guessing you live somewhere in the south/southeast then. I'm not sure what the entrance requirements are for those universities, but I would say that you should apply to a range of universities. So, have one that you think will be a push to reach, have the bulk of universities that you would hope to get into, and then have one "insurance" which requires lower grades that you will definitely get into. These all depend on your predicted grades, so probably wait until you've got your AS results before deciding too much about these. Other advice: make sure you go and visit the universities and the departments you apply to. Try and ask the students and (if necessary) faculty questions if you are unsure about anything. Ask the students about practical things: what are the lecturers like, what is the accommodation like, how expensive is it to live in such and such a city, what sport cloubs/societies are good, etc, etc. Try and get to have a look around the accommodation if you can, although not all universities have the facilities for this.

Personally, I think it's more important that you pick a univeristy that you think you're going to enjoy spending your time attending, and a city that you will enjoy living in. So long as you pick a decent enough university, the departments will all be very similar quality-wise, and it will be difficult to pick somewhere solely based on this.


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