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A few more Q's

  1. Aug 9, 2009 #1
    I read a thread from a year or so ago. About research and engineering jobs being outsourced and what not. To be "greedy" americans when the most life changing research comes around, won't we want to be taking credit for it?

    Anyway, What branch (if any) deals with the construction and composition of atomic particles and energy and their uses. I've always been a big fan of energy.

    Say I obtain a PhD and it turns out oh man, though I worked my butt off to be cream of the crop i still cant get a job in R&D or an engineering job with a physics degree. Will there REALLY be other PhD jobs awaiting? I know Physics and Math Phds can work as quants and what not.

    Is it true that a physics PhD can get jobs not in physics? Call me hard headed but I really do want to pursue a PhD in physics..possibly even math. Most people say I won't want work in a non-physics jobs once I finish a Phd. But i think personally the basis and rigor behind it is worth it..as long as there is some sort of job.

    I Keep in mind that,seeing as how graduate school is practicly free i could always turn to the military as an officer scientist. I hear the Navy is having a hard time trying to get nuclear scientist who are qualified. I can see many physicist wondering why the heck? But I would like to help enrich society. Military R&D eventually reaches the public...?

    What do you guys think the science scene will be like in 2016..2020? I know these are huge prediction jumps..but?

    How do you think PHysics graduates will be getting jobs in other fields of work in those years? Years projected by estimated time to graduate and job finding and what not.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 22, 2009 #2
    Stop worrying so much, work hard to do whatever it is you like and you will be fine. But if you are getting into a PhD program in physics/math and your ultimate goal is to do something nonacedemic other than physics/math afterwards, you probably won't do well in the PhD and more importantly you probably will not like it at all one or two years down the line. In this case, imho, you will be wasting your time, that of your advisor and losing your freshness. Working in grad school is quite different from undergrad: its not just about learning new things and solving problems, but also doing research.

    If you like that sort of stuff, you should be committed to the science. Pardon my extreme opinion and don't take it personally, but wanting to get into a PhD program in science with a future aim to do quantitative finance sounds dumb, even though I do understand your apprehensions about the employment situation by the time you will have finished your PhD.

    While the rigor in the PhD will no doubt be "helpful" (no offence to "quants" but physics is a whole lot deeper than "quant" ever will be :approve:), it would be a bad idea to waste the best years of your life on something you have/will have no respect for. (If quant is what you want to do, why not go in for an MBA or a job directly afterwards instead...quant is less forbidding in its preferences of undergraduate majors, than physics grad school is.)

    The bottom line is: if you work hard and you're good, you will be okay. It won't be like a regular job but it will be intellectually rewarding. Read kote's advice here: https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=2317336&postcount=2.

    Well, particle physics deals with the structure of elementary particles and the study of their interactions, properties, stability, etc. But if you meant energy in a more "industrial" sense, then I guess science management or some form of engineering might be more suitable to your tastes. You can have a look at the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_physics.
  4. Aug 22, 2009 #3
    Thanks Maverick. I have an appreciation for science, and I wold love to do research. Of course my original intention would be to obtain a job in physics research or applied physics. I'm just keeping in mind my other possible options. Just needed to know if i would be caught in a room with no doors if there were no physics based jobs out .

    I'm thinking energy in the sense of increasing efficiently, working on new energies making methods, harvesting "natural" energy and storing it more efficiently. Yahoo answers suggested me alternative energy(which i would LOVE since my other love is enviroment) also fusion and nuclear.
  5. Aug 22, 2009 #4
    Energy harvesting is indeed an interesting field. In my college, this is being pursued by faculty from the Electrical Engineering department. I don't think a particular specialization in Physics would be more suited to working in this area than another one. This is more on the applied physics side.
  6. Aug 24, 2009 #5
    So you're suggesting any physics degree can lead me into the feild or engineering is a better choice?

    Why can't a physics graduate get hired and work as an applied physicist anyway? What are the job prospects for alternative, nuclear, and fusion based energy in the future?
  7. Aug 24, 2009 #6
    Rhine, it has to do with corporate structure. Physicists are hired for pure R&D. These jobs are more rare and will generally be reserved for applicants with graduate degrees. Engineering PhDs are also research focused, so you will be competing with them as well. All PhDs are research degrees.

    The "applied" departments in large companies are called "engineering" departments, and they hire engineers. A physics major could have similar experience, but no one will ever blame the hiring manager for hiring an engineer. The same may or may not be true of physics majors.
  8. Aug 24, 2009 #7
    Thanks Kote. I understand that and a physics PhD is my dream. Not saying I have to be applied to be happy in anyway. It's the whole "The jobs are rare" thing that unnerves me about pursuing my dream while the applied field in engineering seems to be boast lots of jobs.

    In fact I'd RATHER being doing RnD in alternative energies ect then applying things with them. My real point of this thread is about other jobs most commonly open Physics PhDs. You say rare and reserved for RnD so this makes chances of getting RnD positions sound bleak already! Even with a graduate degree there's still competition right? So How many other roads are there truly? I'm not saying I want to get a degree to not do physics. But the amount of reassurance on the internet is nearly 0 to none and looking at things and what people say about us wanting to do research makes it difficult to hold onto.
  9. Aug 26, 2009 #8
    Rhine, you may find it interesting to actually take a look at some research positions and see what they are looking for. See this posting for a condensed matter physicist at GE, for example: https://xjobs.brassring.com/1033/ASP/TG/cim_jobdetail.asp?partnerid=54&siteid=5346&jobid=724042

    I recommend you look through http://www.ge.com/research/grc_6.html [Broken] and take a look at jobs that look similar to what you might be interested in. Just hit search on that page.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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