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Physics: Instrumentation development - need help understanding what's involved

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Jan4-11, 09:57 AM
P: 37
It was brought to my attention that career-wise I might find 'instrumentation development' a particularly good choice given my interests. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of time to go into what this entailed at the time and I was wondering what it involves from the point of view of physics? In particular if anyone has any experience(s) they could convey to me that would be most appreciated.

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Jan4-11, 11:27 AM
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This is huge topic. Virtually every "research" type of experiment involves either building and/or calibrating a special purpose test rig, from something like the LHC down to something as small scale as a project I was involved in, namely "how to rub two 1mm sized metal cubes together while measuring the friction forces and displacements - but to make it more challenging, do it at temperatures above 1000 deg C".

There is also the design of instrumentation for monitoring or controlling "production" systems - which again covers anything in size and complexity from a home central heating system to the flight deck of an airliner or a nuclear power plant.

Tell us more about your particalar interests, and you might get more focused response.

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