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Is a career in physics suitable for me?

by Brynjolf
Tags: career, physics, suitable
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Brynjolf
#1
Dec1-12, 05:21 AM
P: 12
First I'll give a little background about myself:

1) I'm currently in a university which is top 10 in the world
2) My physics grades are at best below average, 50 - 60%
3) I don't party hard or drink much believe it or not in defence of (2).
4) I hate maths and it scares me.
5) The only topics that genuinely interest me are superconductivity, holography, black holes and dark energy.
6) Weird combination I know.

So to sum up, do you think a career in Physics is suitable for me?
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chill_factor
#2
Dec2-12, 03:28 PM
P: 887
at the grad level everything will be taught in pure math. Grad classes are basically math classes disguised as physics classes. The point is not to teach new physics usually; it packages old physics into harder math with the most asinine and unrealistic geometries possible.

For example, doing a double delta potential problem is extremely tedious. Same with calculating Clebsch Gordan coefficients by hand. But those will come up on tests.

Or some typical Jackson problems:

"(1) The problems are hard. Damn hard. Someone else already said that, and I agree. What I WILL add, however, is that some of the problems are also simply STUPID and a waste of time, offering or enhancing physical understanding very little if at all. (Don't get me wrong-- there are some problems which, while hard, are also pretty darn cool. Unfortunately, there are too many of the other kind, too.) The type of problems I am talking about are of the following ilk: "Prove the following six-term vector identity;" "Re-derive equation #72 for a transverse magnetic field'" "Prove equation #27." Quite simply: WHO CARES!?! "

If you don't like math applied to a bead on a wire, metric tensor of a hyperbolic coordinate system or 1-D particle in a box potentials why do you think you'll like the math of superconductivity or black holes?
micromass
#3
Dec2-12, 03:41 PM
Mentor
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P: 18,007
Quote Quote by Brynjolf View Post
4) I hate maths and it scares me.
5) The only topics that genuinely interest me are superconductivity, holography, black holes and dark energy.
The impression I get is that you just like the physics that you read in pop-sci books. Superconductivity and black holes are all very math intensive and if you hate math, then I don't understand why you are interested in physics in the first place.

Sure, many physicists see math as a tool, but I doubt that they actually hate it. I don't see how anybody can actually do physics without needing mathematics of some kind.

Can you tell us what you like about physics and black holes specifically??

But if you do hate math, then I fear that it might be very hard to be a physicist since a lot of the physics is math intensive.

ZombieFeynman
#4
Dec3-12, 05:25 PM
PF Gold
P: 277
Is a career in physics suitable for me?

Quote Quote by micromass View Post
The impression I get is that you just like the physics that you read in pop-sci books. Superconductivity and black holes are all very math intensive and if you hate math, then I don't understand why you are interested in physics in the first place.

Sure, many physicists see math as a tool, but I doubt that they actually hate it. I don't see how anybody can actually do physics without needing mathematics of some kind.

Can you tell us what you like about physics and black holes specifically??

But if you do hate math, then I fear that it might be very hard to be a physicist since a lot of the physics is math intensive.
I agree with this to a large extent. Even physicists who are sort of disdainful of math are very competent at it. I would not be surprised if number two is due to number 4 in your list.
Choppy
#5
Dec3-12, 06:47 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 2,665
Careers in physics are extremely demanding and very competative.

To make it into graduate school, marks of 50-60% aren't going to allow you to get in (unless of course, your class has a median of 30% or something). It doesn't matter how much or little you party or what rank your school has on the list of arbitrary school ratings. Graduate schools look for students who've been successful as undergraduates and if you don't have that success, you'll have a hard time getting in.

As others have mentioned hating math isn't likely to help you. Are there many carpenters in the world who don't like swinging hammers?


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