"So You Want To Be A Physicist" Discussion


by ZapperZ
Tags: discussion, physicist, physics education, physics jobs
yukawa_m
yukawa_m is offline
#73
Mar15-10, 03:01 AM
P: 1
i liked these articles.i hope they'll be useful
ZapperZ
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#74
Mar18-10, 07:48 AM
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Homework copiers, BEWARE!

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ans...ent-cheat.html

That brings us to the new MIT study, conducted by Physics Professor David E. Pritchard of MIT, Assistant Professor Young-Jin Lee of the University of Kansas, and two other researchers.

According to the study, students who copy homework problems requiring algebraic responses wound up performing poorly on problems that required similar work on the final exam—by as much as two letter grades.

Students who copy more than 30 percent of their homework problems have more than three times the course failure rate as other students, even if they started the course with the same math and physics abilities.
This study has been accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. Sp. Topics - Physics Education Research, but has not appeared in print yet as of today (contrary to the report). I'll update this when it appears online. Papers from this journal are available for free.

Edit: the paper is now available online:

http://prst-per.aps.org/abstract/PRSTPER/v6/i1/e010104

Zz.
Who Am I
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#75
Mar22-10, 03:54 PM
P: 77
Great info, however, it needs some grammar correction and then it can be put into a book.

I'm glad I have the internet and interest on my side as far as getting into grad school goes. That's considering that I am a high-school senior and I won't start my undergraduate degree for another 5 months.

I might start here and begin to suck up information until I am an expert on getting into the program that I want.

Stanford, MIT, Columbia and Caltech are my top choices. I will be attending the University of Arizona for my undergrad degree, which means that it will be a bit more of a stretch to get into those programs compared to a school ranked in the top 20 or 30.

So, I'll need all the help I can get.
Daytripper17
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#76
Apr24-10, 02:05 AM
P: 2
In your essay, you recommend inquiring about research work around the middle of year 3...but I've always heard that it's quite important to start doing some work (be it lab work or data analysis) during the summer after your first year or at the latest the summer after your second year. The idea is to be involved in three research projects by the time you apply to grad school so that you can have your three letters of recommendation from the three professors you did work for. What are your thoughts on this?
ZapperZ
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#77
Apr24-10, 07:04 AM
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Quote Quote by Daytripper17 View Post
In your essay, you recommend inquiring about research work around the middle of year 3...but I've always heard that it's quite important to start doing some work (be it lab work or data analysis) during the summer after your first year or at the latest the summer after your second year. The idea is to be involved in three research projects by the time you apply to grad school so that you can have your three letters of recommendation from the three professors you did work for. What are your thoughts on this?
I am in the camp where I dislike the idea of freshman and sophomores already seeking "lab work" that is outside of the class work. I would rather such students pay attention to their classes and get their grades up as high as possible. Aim for straight A's! As I've said, these are going to be the easiest of all the classes that you will encounter. No amount of "research work" is going to mask bad grades when you apply for graduate school.

When I was going through all the application for summer internships, practically all of the students who applied got good letters of recommendations from their class instructors, not from instructors who worked with them in some research project. These students somehow left a very good impression on the instructors, all within the framework of a class. They talked to the instructors, ask questions in class, see them during their office hours, etc. In other words, you do not have to do some research work for someone just so you can have excellent letter of recommendations.

Besides, and I'm being blunt here, what exactly is the type of "research work" that you can do as a freshman or a sophomore? Again, I've supervised many undergraduate summer interns, and most of them require a lot of hand-holding, even when we give them a very limited task to do. And these are juniors and seniors.

The #1 criteria in getting into a good graduate program is.... GRADES. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Zz.
Sunmaz
Sunmaz is offline
#78
Apr26-10, 07:59 PM
P: 8
This is a wonderful resource. I am currently reading through it (I'm on part IX) and I have some constructive criticism: there are numerous grammatical errors that at times cause me to have a quizzical look and be forced to reread the sentence/passage. The errors are mainly issues with plural versus singular verbs and nouns but also a few more pervasive sentence structure issues. Thus while I find the text excellent, I strongly recommend that you thoroughly edit the English in it and perhaps get it proof read by a friend as well.
I hope you do not let that detract from my compliment - it is a refreshing and informative text that I am thoroughly enjoying.
ZapperZ
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#79
Apr27-10, 01:39 PM
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Many of these were written "on the fly", i.e. while I have some structure that I follow, the actual writing were done "as is". So I'm not surprised that there are a lot of typos and grammatical errors, which I do correct whenever I find them upon re-reading.

I did say that I will need a proof-reader if I ever want to turn this into a more "serious" document. At this point, I really do not have a lot of time to go over the whole document carefully. I can't do the proof-reading myself, because often, I'm reading what I THINK I wrote, not what I actually wrote.

Zz.
Sunmaz
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#80
Apr27-10, 02:03 PM
P: 8
Fair enough. Like I said it is excellent nonetheless.
ZapperZ
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#81
May20-10, 01:48 PM
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A good, FREE book for anyone to download from the National Academies Press.

On Being A Scientist : A Guide To Responsible Conduct in Research

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#82
Jun8-10, 07:50 AM
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A new statistics has been published at AIP. This time, it surveys Physics Bachelor degree holder, one year later.

The complete data are not out yet. So far, the available data are on the initial status of the physics bachelor upon graduation. So keep an eye on the page for the next release, which is "forthcoming", it says.

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#83
Jul12-10, 05:36 AM
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A rather useful essay on how to become a successful Principal Investigator. While it is certainly useful for those about to get his/her Ph.D or those starting out as postdocs, the essay should also give a good idea to students intending to pursue a career in science on what is involved and what social skills are necessary to be a successful PI. While science is a study of the natural/physical world, the practice of science is still a social and human endeavor.

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#84
Jul14-10, 07:02 AM
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I think I may have to do this periodically in this thread.

I get asked often on where the "rest" of the essay is, because people who joined in this thread late or skimmed through the first few posts might have missed the link to the essay. So I often get PMs asking me for it. I've concluded that I may have to post this link periodically in here.

The entire essay can be obtained at this link:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=df5w5j9q_5gj6wmt

I've started writing a new chapter to it about a couple of months ago, but somewhere along the way, I got busy and also lost a little bit of motivation. I will have to kick myself into gear some time soon to try and finish that chapter.

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#85
Jul19-10, 07:13 AM
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The AIP has released the latest statistics on the initial employment of physics Bachelor degree holder. This came from a survey done in 2006 and 2007.

39% were employed, 4% were still seeking employment, while the remainder went on to pursue graduate studies. This survey then focused on the 39% who were employed. 59% of those were employed in the private sector, with a significant majority working in the engineering field.

Physics bachelor’s working in the private sector accepted positions with a diverse set of employers doing a wide range of activities (see Figure 3). Over 70% of the physics bachelor’s who accepted employment in the private sector work in a STEM field. As has been true in the past, employment in the field of engineering represents the largest proportion of these private sector positions, followed by computer science and information technology positions. Non-STEM positions accounted for 29% of the new bachelor’s employed in the private sector. The types of positions in this category are very diverse, with "finance" and "marketing and sales" being most frequently cited.
Zz.
vorcil
vorcil is offline
#86
Jul29-10, 04:17 AM
P: 394
Quote Quote by pdidy View Post
Zapper, is there a problem in persuing physics if you are not a math prodigy?
while doing physics as an undergraduate degree you will do math and physics papers simutaneously,

if you are not good with calculus and algebra, then you'll find the mathematics within physics quite difficult,

just expect to study hard, if you are no good at mathematics, you will be no good at a majority of physics
vorcil
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#87
Jul29-10, 04:21 AM
P: 394
Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
The AIP has released the latest statistics on the initial employment of physics Bachelor degree holder. This came from a survey done in 2006 and 2007.

39% were employed, 4% were still seeking employment, while the remainder went on to pursue graduate studies. This survey then focused on the 39% who were employed. 59% of those were employed in the private sector, with a significant majority working in the engineering field.



Zz.
THAT'S QUITE ALOT OF PEOPLE DOING POST GRADUATE PHYSICS WORK!!!

1 more year and I get to do post grad XD
ZapperZ
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#88
Sep1-10, 07:30 AM
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The Science Career Advice section has a very useful article on the Postdoc Experience, especially during this challenging economic times. It might be a very valuable reading especially if one is considering an academic track career. While it isn't strictly confined to physics, it certainly give a good general impression on what one should do as a postdoc in terms of a long-term view of one's career possibilities.

Zz.
Astronuc
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#89
Sep6-10, 08:49 AM
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Cern's Greybook on Univeristy Physics Programs
http://greybook.cern.ch/institutes/


I stumbled across Gerard 't Hooft's page - HOW to BECOME a GOOD THEORETICAL PHYSICIST
It is a nice complement to ZapperZ's excellent essay.

http://www.phys.uu.nl/~thooft/theorist.html

It has a LIST OF SUBJECTS, IN LOGICAL ORDER. Keep in mind that one cannot do everything, but one can be familiar with various areas in physics.

Toward the bottom of the page is a list of textbooks in various physics subjects.
Classical Mechanics
Statistical Mechanics
Quantum Mechanics
Electrodynamics
Optics
Thermodynamics
Solid State Physics
Special Relativity
General Relativity
Particle Physics
Field Theory
String Theory
Cosmology

And I just saved Zz's essay in Word - just in case.
Mépris
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#90
Jan10-11, 02:09 AM
P: 826
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.
Any more news on that, mister? (:


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