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Is it too late to start in Phyiscs?

by Danz0r77
Tags: late, phyiscs, start
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ParticleGrl
#19
Dec4-12, 10:53 AM
P: 681
I understand what you are saying but this wouldn't be the usual scenario really.
Yes, it is. Its what happens to most physics phds. Most physics phds cannot find work doing science and are forced to reinvent their resume to get a job in another field (usually one where knowing physics isn't necessarily helpful).

Look at this article for specifically UK numbers:

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/...ademic-pyramid

If you don't want to register to get the article, here is take away

http://imgur.com/8SOJX

After a phd+some postdocs, just under 80% of UK physics phds have left science all together (people in insurance,finance,IT,etc.) 3.5% are in academic research positions, and 17% are in industry jobs (mostly engineering type positions).

Compare this to an engineering degree where most undergrads are able to get work as an engineer.
Rika
#20
Dec4-12, 02:15 PM
P: 149
Quote Quote by Danz0r77 View Post
Is this the same everywhere? I am in the UK. Why would anyone at all bother to do a physics degree is there's absolutely nothing available for them at the end of it? It doesn't make sense.
It's the same reason why people do literature/social science degree.

I did physics degree because I was sure that I want to have career as researcher but I was just pop-sci books wiz. Reality - doing mundane grunt work destoryed my passion.

And it's not about talent or ability. There are not enough jobs for all talented people.
pi-r8
#21
Dec4-12, 02:45 PM
P: 146
Quote Quote by Rika View Post
It's the same reason why people do literature/social science degree.

I did physics degree because I was sure that I want to have career as researcher but I was just pop-sci books wiz. Reality - doing mundane grunt work destoryed my passion.
It was the same for me.
mayonaise
#22
Dec4-12, 03:49 PM
P: 77
Quote Quote by ModusPwnd View Post
I can think of three reasons. One, they simply want to learn physics. They are often interested in quantum or relativity and want to know more about it. The other is they think they have what it takes to go all the way and get the PhD. Much like attempting to be a rock star or football player people often over estimate their abilities and think they can actually be a physicist. Of course some do make it, but most dont. The third reason is that they have the wrong impression. They convince themselves (with the help of others) that their physics degree is highly marketable and sought after by employers.

I would say all three applied to me. I wanted to learn physics, I overestimated my ability and I thought that an employer would want somebody with physics degrees. But I failed at becoming a physicist so I retreat to taking solace in the first reason I listed, I actually do treasure my limited physics knowledge and would not want to live life as ignorant of physics as most people are.

If I had to do it over again I would choose engineering and try to get a career. But I would dual major or minor in physics, or at least take some physics classes because my interest is still there.
Very good description! All three applied to me. There's one additional reason I can think of: They get a wrong impression of what doing scientific Physics is like in reality. I went into experimental HEP and came out, degree in hand, completely disillusioned.

I personally would have done Physics + CS, minor or dual major or whatever, then went to grad school in CS. But since I already made the jump to CS... not looking back.
Danz0r77
#23
Dec5-12, 07:32 AM
P: 6
Quote Quote by ParticleGrl View Post
Yes, it is. Its what happens to most physics phds.
Sorry. What I meant to say was that my situation wouldn't really be the norm.
elkement
#24
Dec6-12, 04:19 AM
P: 119
Quote Quote by Rika View Post
It's the same reason why people do literature/social science degree.
Discerning - I agree. Unfortunately I need to second the other posters:

I was in experimental condensed matter physics, so it might have been less difficult to find an academic position (as in HEP). However, I was extremely reluctant to relocate every 2-3 years and live the nomadic postdoc life.

Actually, when I started to study physics I had no clue about the mobility that would be required, and I was not aware of my reluctance either. I needed to get a taste of it to take the decision to leave academia.

I had fully bought into the "If you are smart enough you make it" mantra. However, I after my PhD I felt that I had now proved already for many years that I am smart enough (in terms of grades, number of papers etc.) and I deserved a stable job and decent income.
No kidding - I was that immodest and naive.

However, I sympathize! I have worked in IT but started dreading it (all of a sudden actually - I really thought it was my new passion). Currently I am in a transition phase - from IT consultant to consulting engineer in renewable energies. I am also going for another master's degree. But it took me several years of preparation - I redesigned my business (I am self-employed) to support that transition properly.

So in a sense it may not be too late, but I believe the later you start 1) the more creative you need to be to carve out a niche, an "alternative career" in science or 2) the more lucrative your pre-science career needs to be to back-up the transition.
George Jones
#25
Dec6-12, 10:11 AM
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Quote Quote by Danz0r77 View Post
I understand what you are saying but this wouldn't be the usual scenario really. I would definitely not be looking to scramble into the first job that comes my way. If I could do a part IT role / part research role in a University that would be awesome.
These jobs do exist, but they are not very plentiful. Also the two people of which I know that had jobs like this (two different universities) both left their jobs at universities for straight IT/management jobs with companies.
Quote Quote by Danz0r77 View Post
Sorry. What I meant to say was that my situation wouldn't really be the norm.
Why not?


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