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What is physics research?

by jimmyly
Tags: physics, research
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jimmyly
#1
Nov19-12, 01:22 PM
P: 190
Hello everyone, I'm trying to find out a little more about physics research as a career and if it's right for me.I am a little unclear on what physics research is all about. SO Here's a few questions:

1) what area of research are you apart of?

2)what do you actually do in the lab WHILE conducting an experiment?
ex: watch computer screens, do you actually get to play around with stuff, do you actually get to SEE things in action or is it all through computers etc.

basically i want to know what goes on in the lab which no one really talks about. i want to know the boring and exciting stuff.

Thanks in advance!

Jimmy
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pi-r8
#2
Nov19-12, 02:00 PM
P: 146
A lot of it is reading other people's research papers.
jimmyly
#3
Nov19-12, 02:13 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by pi-r8 View Post
A lot of it is reading other people's research papers.
Thank you for the response!
but i'm wondering specifically what is actually done and seen in the LAB while conducting an experiment

pi-r8
#4
Nov19-12, 04:24 PM
P: 146
What is physics research?

Quote Quote by jimmyly View Post
Thank you for the response!
but i'm wondering specifically what is actually done and seen in the LAB while conducting an experiment
Well a lot depends on what kind of experiment you do, of course. Being extremely general, I'd say that first you build/calibrate some lab equipment (based on prior research). Then you let it run for a while and collect data, which could be manual or automatic. Then you graph that data and try to make sense of it.
jimmyly
#5
Nov19-12, 04:54 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by pi-r8 View Post
Well a lot depends on what kind of experiment you do, of course. Being extremely general, I'd say that first you build/calibrate some lab equipment (based on prior research). Then you let it run for a while and collect data, which could be manual or automatic. Then you graph that data and try to make sense of it.

this is why i posted the two questions asking what research area one works in so i can have a view of all areas instead of in general.


what do you do while collecting data? would you say most if not all of it would be through computers?

say for particle physics, since we cannot see these tiny things, i would think all the observations would be through computers

what about something like condensed matter, what is it exactly that gets done experimentally?
in any field actually

i love physics but this is actually the first time ever wondering what physicists actually do?
engineers, chemists, biologists, can all see their experiments in action.
jimmyly
#6
Nov19-12, 05:34 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by jimmyly View Post
Hello everyone, I'm trying to find out a little more about physics research as a career and if it's right for me.I am a little unclear on what physics research is all about. SO Here's a few questions:

1) what area of research are you apart of?

2)what do you actually do in the lab WHILE conducting an experiment?
ex: watch computer screens, do you actually get to play around with stuff, do you actually get to SEE things in action or is it all through computers etc.

basically i want to know what goes on in the lab which no one really talks about. i want to know the boring and exciting stuff.

Thanks in advance!

Jimmy
I think these are very reasonable and extremely simple questions...
i'm not looking for what physicists do but more specifically what gets done in experiments.

this isn't to just professional physicists but students such as undergrads who have done research or anyone in physics doing research.
Stengah
#7
Nov19-12, 06:02 PM
P: 233
In my last project (accelerator/nuclear physics), I got to set up experiments and then watch the results on the computer. I also programmed some simulations and did calculations on a computer. In my current project (astronomy), everything is done through a computer. We take data from observations, run codes that do modeling and calculations, and then look at the results.
eri
#8
Nov19-12, 06:13 PM
P: 976
I did astronomy research for a career for a while. I spent time at telescopes (about 3 weeks at a time running a telescope, but most observers are only there for a few nights), collected data, used the computer to reduce the data, and then made computer simulations of what I thought was happening and compared them to my results. Mostly computer work (data reduction, programming, writing), a lot of reading, and some math.
jimmyly
#9
Nov19-12, 06:14 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by Stengah View Post
In my last project (accelerator/nuclear physics), I got to set up experiments and then watch the results on the computer. I also programmed some simulations and did calculations on a computer. In my current project (astronomy), everything is done through a computer. We take data from observations, run codes that do modeling and calculations, and then look at the results.
Thank you! this is great, exactly the information i'm looking for.
the thing is, i don't know if i'm into more hands on stuff or not. this is why i am curious about physics research.

i would love to hear from more people, it would be greatly appreciated.
jimmyly
#10
Nov19-12, 06:16 PM
P: 190
Quote Quote by eri View Post
I did astronomy research for a career for a while. I spent time at telescopes (about 3 weeks at a time running a telescope, but most observers are only there for a few nights), collected data, used the computer to reduce the data, and then made computer simulations of what I thought was happening and compared them to my results. Mostly computer work (data reduction, programming, writing), a lot of reading, and some math.
thank you for your response!
So one would have to enjoy computing would you say?
jimmyly
#11
Nov19-12, 07:36 PM
P: 190
honestly anything will help
nonequilibrium
#12
Nov19-12, 11:50 PM
P: 1,412
Some physicists don't do any experiments (theoretical physicists).
jimmyly
#13
Nov20-12, 12:15 AM
P: 190
Quote Quote by mr. vodka View Post
Some physicists don't do any experiments (theoretical physicists).
yes, i know. i'm just wondering about experimentalists :)


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