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A Youtube video about physics careers (and other related matters)

  1. Feb 21, 2013 #1


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    Hi there. I came across this amusing Youtube video prepared by a young woman, ostensibly with a physics background (her handle is "physicswoman"), about career fields for physics majors. I was curious about what the rest of you think.

    If you check out her channel, you'll find more topics about physics and science in general:


    BTW, I'm curious if "physicswoman" is actually a Physics Forums member.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2013 #2
    I think its hard to empirically separate "our degree prepares you for a broad range of fields" and "our degree prepares you for nothing, so our graduates bounce in to whatever they can scramble into." I'm of the opinion that physics is a bit more of the latter than the former.

    At the undergrad level, you have more time to retrain yourself (get a masters in some sort of engineering, and you can probably easily transition to an engineering field).
  4. Feb 23, 2013 #3
    I know around 3-4 physics teachers (they've been working for less than a decade now) who became teachers because that was the only job they could find. One of them teaches at his old high school. One of them said that he was turned down for some jobs he could have gotten after high school or with minimal training ("clerk" somewhere) on the basis of being overqualified. Then again, I'm from a developing country, and there isn't much going on here. And there is a tendency to hire business grads to work in business, English/French/certain social science majors in journalism, CS grads for coding, etc...

    I'm inclined to agree with you. What I also don't like about how she frames this is how easy she makes everything sound. If she is indeed a user here, I'm willing to bet she hasn't been reading much in this sub-section.

    She is wrong about physics graduates being able to easily go to grad school in chemistry or biology. One would need more than the 1st year general chem or bio that seems to be required of science majors at many schools.

    Apparently, in Germany, people with a master's (or "diplom") in math or physics can work in insurance and banking doing more "analysis" kind of work. But take that with a grain of salt, as I don't know the specific backgrounds of the people who posted this information. (I saw a post on Reddit about this in /r/Germany)
  5. Feb 24, 2013 #4
    When she finally gets to what you can do with a physics degree her first suggestion is to go back and get a degree in engineering, bio or chem. lol, great advice... Then she says you can work in a lab doing one of many types of science or physics, I don't think that's true. Unless you go to grad school and do PhD research work. Her take home message is that you can do lots of different things with a physics degrees. Lots and lots... So what? I can do lots of things with no degree at all. You dont need a degree in anything to have lots of options available to you. You only need to be young, kinda smart and healthy. If that's all the degree does, leaves all doors open for you, then its worthless (with respect to a career). If it leaves you equally qualified for everything then it has really qualified you for nothing.
  6. Feb 24, 2013 #5
    Shes a bit overoptimistic because in her position as a recent college grad that is what you should do. If you are looking for a job you shouldnt go into interviews with a positive mindset.

    However you need to be more than a few years into the life of a college graduate to properly reflect on "what you can do as a physics major".
  7. Feb 25, 2013 #6
    I know math majors who went straight to an electrical engineering masters, physics major who went into nuclear engineering masters, chemistry doesn't seem like a big jump either especially since alot of chemistry is applied physics (materials, etc); they would all require some extra prep but not a great deal.
  8. Feb 25, 2013 #7
    Rather, a "recent MIT grad" or "current MIT student." When you graduate from MIT (or any other "top school" for that matter), and make use of the resources available to you there, it's hard to not get a job.

    I have no gripes with any person who attends a top school. I am just saying that they may not necessarily be in a position where they can appreciate that not every college grad had access to the same resources they had. For e.g, 5-6k undergraduates students that was meticulously selected, or on-campus recruitment by, and connections to, big consulting, tech, and finance firms.
  9. Feb 25, 2013 #8
    She did not specify that one would be doing research on fields closely related to physics.

    I understand that there are fields with significant overlap in physics, like biophysics, or fields which openly admit people who just have scientific backgrounds, like computational or systems biology.

    But she does not talk about that. Whether that was her intention or not, she suggests that one can merrily hop onto an organic chemistry PhD. As if having a physics degree was akin to having studied the fundamentals of all that is science, thereby making transitions to separate scientific disciplines seamless.
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