Accelerator Physics - A field where jobs go begging


by ZapperZ
Tags: accelerator, begging, field, jobs, physics
DrummingAtom
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#19
Jun27-11, 03:31 PM
P: 660
Hey ZapperZ,

Would RF or computational EM research groups be somewhat related to Accelerator Physics? The groups I found at my school are under the EE department and don't specifically say if they do any accelerator research.

I also found a plasma research group that says they do some accelerator/beam physics research but it seems like it's mostly space related which I'm not interested in at all. Would the space related research be drastically different than say the stuff covered at an accelerator school?
EricVT
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#20
Jun27-11, 07:40 PM
P: 163
I speak from the heart when I say that the world needs more medical linear accelerator engineers/physicists. I deal with one everyday and he is a class act and 100% indispensable where I work.
ZapperZ
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#21
Jun27-11, 08:05 PM
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Quote Quote by DrummingAtom View Post
Hey ZapperZ,

Would RF or computational EM research groups be somewhat related to Accelerator Physics? The groups I found at my school are under the EE department and don't specifically say if they do any accelerator research.

I also found a plasma research group that says they do some accelerator/beam physics research but it seems like it's mostly space related which I'm not interested in at all. Would the space related research be drastically different than say the stuff covered at an accelerator school?
Computational RF/EM is a MAJOR part of accelerator physics. I gave a link to the Particle Accelerator school a while ago, and if you browse through the courses, you'll see that an important part of accelerator physics is computational work. We deal with several major codes, both commercial and "homemade" such as PARMELA. One needs to remember that particle accelerators and structures are very expensive. One cannot build one by trial and error. So to build a new one with new design and technology, it must first be simulated to make sure we know what to build, and what to expect.

Plasma physics is also relevant to accelerator physics. One clear example is the plasma wakefield accelerators at UCLA/USC/SLAC/Berkeley/etc. Knowledge of plasma physics is also relevant in the study of RF vacuum breakdown phenomenon.

Zz.
ZapperZ
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#22
Dec19-11, 07:41 AM
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While experimental work in high energy/particle physics are growing dim in the US (or in this case, extinguished completely), the field of accelerator physics continue to blossom. Fermilab has broken new grounds to build a new Accelerator Research Center around the old CDF building.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science...esearch-center

While advances in accelerator physics are considerably driven by high energy physics, the applications and use of accelerator physics are mostly done outside of that field of study. As more areas of engineering, biology, medicine, etc. are starting to realize what an accelerator can do for them, the demand for people with expertise in this field will only rise.

Zz.
arpeggio
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#23
Dec19-11, 09:47 PM
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Hey, why do you think it is not as popular as field such as theoretical physics?
ZapperZ
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#24
Dec20-11, 05:27 AM
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Quote Quote by arpeggio View Post
Hey, why do you think it is not as popular as field such as theoretical physics?
"Theoretical physics" is vague, because there IS theoretical physics in accelerator physics!

That's it. I'm going to make an entry in my "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essay on this misconception that people have about "theoretical physics". You don't just choose to do a "theoretical physics", as opposed to experimental physics. You choose a particular field, such as nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, atomic/molecular physics, optics, high energy/particle physics, accelerator physics, etc.. etc. And THEN, you choose whether you want to do experimental or theoretical! Each of these fields that I have stated has BOTH theoretical and experimental areas!

So now, do you see why your question makes no sense?

Zz.
se7enred7
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#25
Mar9-12, 04:34 AM
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I've worked on accelerators in industry for the past 8 years as an electronics technician. I've been working on a BS in physics for most of those years, taking classes in my spare time - partly for enjoyment, partly for career advancement. After a long road, its time to decide on an MS, and was considering USPAS. This thread popped up in my Google search, and was pleased to hear my field of interest is in demand.

Since I'm only a part-timer, the thought of taking classes at USPAS in two week chunks or online with a 5 year time limit is very tempting. I don't believe I'll complete a PhD, so I'm wondering if you see value in a MS from USPAS/UI or is this something best left to those with a PhD?
ZapperZ
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#26
Mar9-12, 08:13 AM
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You need to be enrolled in a degree program at a particular university to take classes at one of the USPAS. In other words, you need to find a program and an advisor willing to supervise you on your intended program, even at the MSc level.

There's always a value in learning something or having a skill in something, even if you only stop at a MSc degree. If you concentrate on RF systems and structures, you could become an RF engineer that certainly is relevant not only in accelerator physics, but also in many other industries.

And that's the beauty of certain areas of accelerator physics that make it such a high demand. There's direct and clear relevancy in many other fields and industries.

Zz.
se7enred7
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#27
Mar9-12, 01:50 PM
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Thanks, Zz. From the this link, it looks like students may be able to enroll at UI directly and attend two week courses for UI credit.

Like many other students, I don't live near a host university. Like some others, I can't move to a city with a host university. So, I'll be looking into this.
ZapperZ
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#28
Feb14-13, 04:42 PM
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More on this since I'm seeing the common questions in several different threads.

This is one of the fields in which both physics and engineering, in particular Electrical Engineering, merge. There are so many aspects of accelerator physics in which someone coming from physics could have the same expertise as someone from EE.

As examples, I'm going to show you prominent people, who are essentially accelerator physicists, but are now professors in the Electrical Engineering departments.

1. Tom Katsouleas, Ph.D Physics.
Not only is he a professor in the Electrical Engineering Dept. at Duke University, he is also the Dean of the School of Engineering there!

2. Pat O'Shea, Ph.D Physics
Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland.

3. Steve Milton, Ph.D Physics
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University.

...etc.

The message here isn't to tell you that you too can become a professor of EE with an accelerator physics Ph.D. It is to impress upon you that Accelerator Physics and EE have a tremendous amount of overlap. I keep seeing questions about people having this issue about choosing physics or engineering, and this is where you can do BOTH. There's very seldom the case where you can have your cake and eat it too. This is one of those rare occasions where you can actually do that.

Zz.
Moneer81
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#29
Feb18-13, 04:09 PM
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Quote Quote by ZapperZ View Post
More on this since I'm seeing the common questions in several different threads.

This is one of the fields in which both physics and engineering, in particular Electrical Engineering, merge. There are so many aspects of accelerator physics in which someone coming from physics could have the same expertise as someone from EE.

As examples, I'm going to show you prominent people, who are essentially accelerator physicists, but are now professors in the Electrical Engineering departments.

1. Tom Katsouleas, Ph.D Physics.
Not only is he a professor in the Electrical Engineering Dept. at Duke University, he is also the Dean of the School of Engineering there!

2. Pat O'Shea, Ph.D Physics
Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland.

3. Steve Milton, Ph.D Physics
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University.

...etc.

The message here isn't to tell you that you too can become a professor of EE with an accelerator physics Ph.D. It is to impress upon you that Accelerator Physics and EE have a tremendous amount of overlap. I keep seeing questions about people having this issue about choosing physics or engineering, and this is where you can do BOTH. There's very seldom the case where you can have your cake and eat it too. This is one of those rare occasions where you can actually do that.

Zz.

Thanks for this thread and all the valuable information that it contains. I think this is a fascinating field, and I love the fact that it will have very useful and in-demand applications. I have done a lot of research on this topic and I concur that this is a good inter-disciplinary field with good career prospects and potential academic prospects as well.
ZapperZ
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#30
Feb27-13, 03:38 PM
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Here are more evidence of the merging between physics and electrical engineering in the field of accelerator physics.

This is the course material for a class in RF Basics, given at a particle accelerator school at CERN. As background info, if you've read this thread, you'll know about the various accelerator schools given in the US, Europe, and Asia as college-level classes that you can get credit for.

What I want you to look at with this course material is that how it looks like your typical physics E&M material in the beginning, and how it evolves into direct applications of RF fields, i.e. what would normally be part of an engineering course. A student who specializes in just this course will eventually have the ability model RF fields in various configurations/boundary conditions (something that is always needed when a new structure is designed) and to also produce designs and devices based on what is needed. It is also why employment for someone with such expertise is not limited to just Accelerators.

Zz.
HDave
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#31
Mar22-13, 07:57 PM
P: 3
Thank you very much for information on this field. My question on getting into this field is: Does it matter what I go into grad school for? I understand there are few schools that offer physics PhDs in Accelerator physics, but these accelerator schools seem to accept graduates from all different fields. So would it matter if I went to grad school for MScEE and then took these additional accelerator courses?

Also, this place: http://uspas.fnal.gov/faq/masters-program.shtml
was the only program I was able to find that gives you an actual masters. The other program I found in the U.S. https://portal.slac.stanford.edu/sit...s/default.aspx
doesn't seem to offer credits or a degree of some sort.

I am currently an undergrad (junior) and was looking into grad/career opportunities when I found your post, and if this field is as growing and industry-applicable as you say, I am very interested!
Guan
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#32
Mar28-13, 10:11 PM
P: 7
Hello there.
Will there be any opportunity for MSc Nuclear Engineering graduate to work on designing or operating Accelerator Driven Subcritical Thorium Reactor? :)

I have a BSc. degree in Nuclear Science. And, I'm considering taking MSc in Nuclear Engineering.
Anding
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#33
Apr2-13, 10:00 PM
P: 4
Hi ZapperZ, and others,

Thank you for your information.

Could you be kind enough to sketch out what might be the best route to becoming an accelerator physicist?

Assume for the sake of argument:
(i) the starting point is someone with a good bachelors degree in physics who also has some practical experience in computing and a little electronic engineering
(ii) the objective is to do a relevant PhD, possibly via a masters, and then become a scientist working at/with a big accelerator facility

For example, specifically:

Are there masters programs specifically tailored to accelerator physics?

Would it make sense to look for an academic group already doing work for an accelerator and seek a PhD with them?

The "accelerator schools" don't seem to be the starting point because they appear to offer short courses that presumably supplement an eductation elsewhere. Would you tend to organize the Masters/PhD first and then go to accelerator school as and when your supervisor advises?

Do you think the track is different in the US/Europe? I'm particularly interested in the European track.


Your thoughts are much appreciated!
HDave
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#34
Apr2-13, 10:27 PM
P: 3
Hey Anding,

Maybe I can help answer some of your questions I know through researching accelerator schools myself. Unfortunately I really only know about U.S. schools but I would guess it is similar in Europe.

The regular path doesn't seem very clear cut. One possible path is to attend accelerator classes WHILE pursuing and masters or PhD in some university. You will get university credits for classes attended at Accelerator school.
There are a few U.S. Uni's that have programs/phD's for accelerator research such as Cornell, Stanford, etc. These schools tend to have access to their own accelerator you can work with.
Another path is through here: http://uspas.fnal.gov/faq/masters-program.shtml, it is a joint program between USPAS and Indiana university.

Overall, the basic idea is to attend accelerator school or perform accelerator research while you are a grad/phD student. The question I still have is, do you have to do physics phD or can you also do accelerator research while going for an E. Engineering masters.
Anding
Anding is offline
#35
Apr3-13, 12:42 AM
P: 4
Thanks HDave for your thoughts

An additional question - does "accelerator physics" as a field generally include the particle detectors, or just the machine that does the particle accleration?
HDave
HDave is offline
#36
Apr4-13, 10:27 PM
P: 3
That's a good question and I would guess the detectors and accelerators are closely related and you would be able to work on either.
However, accelerators can be used for a variety of tasks and unless you are building something used for experiments and particle detection, you probably won't really be working much on detectors.


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