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A few questions regarding Astrophysics ;

  1. Aug 3, 2013 #1
    I'm currently a second year undergrad student, in a three year Bachelors program of Physics. I've been trying to read up a little on Astrophysics(to pursue it in grad school), and have a few questions regarding the field :

    1. What are the subjects(at an undergrad level) one must be an expert of in order to be a good Astrophysicist? By subjects I mean Classical Mechanics, E&M, Thermal Physics etc etc. I suppose Classical Mechanics and General Relativity are a must - what else?

    2. Is there either a dearth, or an excess of Astrophysicists in the world today? This question is regarding job availability and current research. Is Astrophysics a relatively uncharted field? Are there still many fundamental questions waiting to be answered?

    4. Where, other than in academia, are Astrophysicists employed?

    3. I don't have much knowledge outside of my textbooks, so what are some good books that talk about Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Black Holes etc (the fundamental topics of Astrophysics if you may.) I suppose I could wikipaedia all of them, but I feel I understand better from books.

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2013 #2

    eri

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    1. A physics major is a good start. If you can take any computer science (programming) and astronomy courses along with that, do so. And a lot of math, of course.

    2. We produce more astrophysicists/astronomers than we can employ, and funding is getting worse. Every job ad will get hundreds of qualified applicants. You need to be willing to move just about anywhere to take a job. There are plenty of questions out there to answer, and no lack of research topics, just a lack of funding.

    3. Introduction to Modern Astrophysics by Carroll & Ostlie is the new classic text for upper level undergrads/ first year grad students, covering pretty much everything at that level.

    4. Colleges and universities employ most of us. The rest work for national labs, observatories, and NASA. There are very few in industry. And many of us get jobs based on our physics, math, or computer programming skills rather than our specific astronomy skills.
     
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