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Q: theoretical and applied physics 
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#1
Jun2710, 04:32 PM

P: 3

hi
this is my first post ,and i hope it is ont the last. can i ask you a single question : can you tell me the different between studying theoretical physics and studying applied physics ? thank you. 


#2
Jun2710, 05:08 PM

P: 614

Applied physics and theoretical physics just focuses on different subjects, namely applied focuses on things that are close to applications while theoretical focuses more on subjects from the forefront of concepts.



#3
Jun2710, 07:51 PM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 1,472

Let's put it in a little different terms,
Theoretical Physics: Pushing the envelope, i.e. new physics Applied Physics: Pick and shovel work to investigate the possibilities 


#4
Jun2710, 08:52 PM

P: 614

Q: theoretical and applied physics



#5
Jun2810, 12:31 AM

P: 3

thank you..
but i think it's like cars: if you learn how to drive the car professionally (this is like applied physics) and; if you learn what inside the car piece by piece and it's not necessary you know how to drive this car (this like theoretical physics) 


#6
Jun2810, 03:43 AM

P: 731

At what stage in education are you at? At what level are you wondering what the difference is? In undergraduate education, there is almost no difference: the basics are the same in both types. 


#7
Jun2810, 04:41 AM

P: 3

i talk about graduate level



#8
Jun2810, 06:32 AM

P: 614

Well, at graduate level the differences starts to become bigger. In applied you actually build stuff that could be useful to mankind in the not so far future while in theoretical you are just working with the theoretical framework and in experimental you test the theoretical framework.
So theoretical searches for new physics, experimental weeds out what theoretical comes up with and applied bridges the gap between the theoretical forefront and engineering. 


#9
Jun2810, 10:03 PM

P: 81

Could the OP be asking more about 'pure' physics rather than 'theoretical' physics?



#10
Jun2910, 05:57 AM

P: 614




#11
Jun2910, 06:13 AM

Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 29,238

One can do theoretical work IN applied physics. There are many theorists in condensed matter physics, which many consider to be "applied physics". Phil Anderson and Bob Laughlin are both theorists in condensed matter physics who have won Nobel Prizes. Maybe what you are asking is the differences between theoretical physics and experimental physics. Other than String Theory, both aspects are in practically all the various fields of physics. Zz. 


#12
Jun2910, 12:01 PM

P: 81




#13
Jun2910, 12:09 PM

P: 217

Everybody has they own opinion on questions of definition like this. And so often the opinions betray what kind of physics the person does.
I would plot experimental vs theoretical on one axis, and applied vs pure on another. This description has regions where people do theory in applied physics and where people to experiments in pure physics, and all the other various combination. 


#14
Jun2910, 01:11 PM

P: 1,534




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