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ME Undergrad research (Thermo/Robotics/Aerospace)

by Hobold
Tags: research, undergrad
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Dec18-10, 08:05 AM
P: 84
Hello there, Physics forum.

I'm in second year of Mechanical Engineering undergrad and I would like to do research.

I have been offered a position in Robotics lab, but I am not sure if I should accept.

Thing is: there are two fields I'm interested right now: Robotics and Thermophysics, but they aren't really related to each other.

I would straighly accept the position in Robotics if my course wasn't almost completely turned to Thermodynamics and Thermophysics (in fact, it's often called Thermal Engineering insted of Mechanical Engineering) plus my university is widely recognized for being strong in Thermo, one of the leading research institute in Latin America (and certainly the best in the country), but Robotics isn't that good.

But, in fact, I wanna follow to Aerospace Engineering for Master's and perhaps Doctor's degree (but my university has no specific laboratory).

So, my main question would be: what would be better? Accept the position in Robotics lab or attempt to enter a Thermo-based lab?
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Dec18-10, 02:12 PM
P: 273
I don't know what particular in aerospace interests you however, if you want to go into propulsion, just stick with the thermo track. If not, the Robotics track will probably help you if you wanted to go into flight controls. Otherwise you'll be doing tons of make up courses.

Just letting you know the thermo track would make you best prepared for aero propulsion...
Dec18-10, 02:42 PM
P: 264
I am currently a nuclear engineering major. I have done research for a mechanical engineering professor that had nothing to do with my major.

Research experience is research experience, if you're interested in it go for it. Seriously you never know until you try! Plus if you don't like it later you can always nicely resign from it.

Dec18-10, 02:53 PM
P: 84
ME Undergrad research (Thermo/Robotics/Aerospace)

Both propulsion and flight/orbital control interest me. In fact, I was worried if I follow into Robotics and gave up later, my professor would be quite upset with me and I wouldn't be able to get a position in a thermo lab because: 1. I would be quite "old" and wouldn't have much time to learn specific thermo stuff, 2. I wouldn't have enough contacts to get into a Master's degree in a different field.

I am not quite sure what I wanna follow right now and I don't want to blow up my opportunities as well. So, would getting into Robotics take me from other fields both in undergrad and grad?
Dec18-10, 03:03 PM
P: 264
I doubt the professor would be upset that you "gave" up. If anything you realize it was something you didn't enjoy and would rather have someone give someone a chance to enjoy it. I know students that are in their last semester that are taking up research positions. You are never too old for anything, you don't always need to contacts to get into a different field.
Dec18-10, 04:28 PM
P: 273
Quote Quote by Hobold View Post
Both propulsion and flight/orbital control interest me.
Well why don't you do both propulsion and robotics*? You could get into rocket propulsion controls (or even flight propulsion controls), which could easily get you into orbital/flight controls. Mixing them up is always and option, there will always be something for you to do. Also deciding late in your degree should not be a worry, I decided on flight controls right after I found out I hated propulsion my senior year, which I thought would have been a dream job.

As crazy said, research is research, I've done research which had no possible bearing on anything I want to do as a career. Also research gets you well acquainted with professors and perhaps gains you a new network which could be beneficial. Just follow your gut for now. Its better to get into something early and find out you hate it and change,than to keep wondering forever.

*See those feedback systems in robotics? They're the same concept in flight/orbital controls. So if you like that, you'll probably like flight controls.
Dec18-10, 08:12 PM
P: 41
As long as you're interested in robotics, it can't hurt to try it. Getting involved in research in general is a good thing to do, regardless of the specific type of research, just so you know whether or not it is something you'll want to continue in the future. And if an opportunity involving thermodynamics comes up, you could get involved in that later.

Or, if you still have time to try for a thermodynamics position for the immediate future, you could try that too, depending on personal preference. But I wouldn't turn my back on the robotics one if it was the only option and I had some interest in it.
Dec20-10, 09:49 AM
P: 84
Thanks for all your reply, I have decided to go for Robotics Lab for now (:

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