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Physics Accelerator Physics - A field where jobs go begging

  1. Jun 15, 2010 #1

    ZapperZ

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    In case people missed this article, this is a field of physics that needs a lot more free advertisement and enticement to students - Accelerator Physics

    http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/cms/?pid=1000802

    This is a perfect field for someone who can't decide on whether he/she wants to be an engineer or a physicist. Accelerator physics straddles comfortably both areas, and this includes physics, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

    And no, it is NOT tied to only high energy physics. In the DOE website titled "http://www.acceleratorsamerica.org/index.html" [Broken].

    Anecdotally, ALL of the students in accelerator physics (both physics and engineering majors) that I've encountered have never had a single problem of gaining employment in a field related to their majors.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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  3. Jun 15, 2010 #2
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    Mr. ZapperZ thanks for your post. May I please request you delete this thread? Now that I am aware there's this nice field out there for me to educate myself and work in I don't want too many people going into it. I'd prefer to keep it all to myself! :biggrin:

    Edit: but before you delete the thread what particular courses or knowledge would place an individual on a general path towards this field? I would imagine a standard physics, EE, and/or MechE education, no?

    Edit2: questions answered.

    "But with no set path or certification for the profession, it is difficult to determine how many accelerator scientists work in the United States or how many more are necessary."
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  4. Jun 20, 2010 #3
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    It seems like this is a field for people who are more oriented in practical applications of physics (read: engineers). But I suppose physics is physics, to some it might seem better than some programming job.
     
  5. Jun 24, 2010 #4
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    Would this require just a masters or a Phd?
     
  6. Jun 24, 2010 #5

    Pengwuino

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    I have a friend who is working at SLAC and just a couple weeks ago (ZapperZ, do I know you? :biggrin:) who was saying the exact same thing. He claims he learned at SLAC that many corporations will buy time at a particle accelerator for testing out products and that it's amazing how many do! And how there are SO FEW accelerator physicists. I believe he was saying you could get into hte field right out of a MS program.
     
  7. Jun 25, 2010 #6
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    I'd certainly like to know how to break into accelerator physics with just an MS in physics. Would it help to take the online beam physics courses at Michigan State? Or did I already make a mistake by not getting an MS from a school with an accelerator? :-)

    (I've watched the job listings at SLAC on and off for some time now... I haven't seen many MS level positions, to tell the truth.)
     
  8. Jun 25, 2010 #7

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    Does your friend have a missing eye, looks like a troll, have bad breath, a large hump on his back, and walks with a limp? No? Then that wasn't me. :)

    I also haven't been to SLAC in more than a year.

    Coming back to the question on whether one can get by with a MS to go into this field, the answer is, I don't know. I've only encountered students who went on to get their PhD in it.

    Note that most students, both undergraduate and graduate, get a lot of the courses needed for their accelerator physics specialization/degree by taking the classes at the particle accelerator schools that are offered at various times of the year. In fact, one is going on right now and in its final week (I have 2 students attending that right now). Since many schools do not have either courses in accelerator physics, or do not offer the complete suite of courses that an accelerator physicist should know, the accelerator physics community throughout the world came together many years ago and decided that they will offer these http://uspas.fnal.gov/" [Broken] (which carry college credits). So depending on your school and your advisor, you can start specializing in this field even at the undergrad level.

    In addition, if you are at a US academic institution, you could get a good introduction to accelerator physics if you get selected for the http://www.illinoisacceleratorinstitute.org/" [Broken] run by Argonne and Fermilab, which is also going on right now for 2010. Part of that internship is attending the particle accelerator school. It'll get you to work on a topic in the accelerator physics field, get to know a few people, and gives you a good intro to the field.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Jul 15, 2010 #8

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    This may not be exactly on-topic, but these two documents can give you a very broad view of all the related fields and applications of a particle accelerator.

    The first one was produced by APS-Physics a bit more than a year ago called "http://www.aps.org/units/dpb/upload/brochure.pdf" [Broken]", one can clearly see all the many different areas and directions in which advancements in particle accelerator physics and technology are crucial to achieve several important goals.

    Again, I'm highlighting this to (i) dispel the common myth that accelerators are mainly used for high energy physics experiments and (ii) show how physics and engineering can and do merge in this field.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Jul 15, 2010 #9
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    Wow, if this is indeed true I know exactly what I want to do with my physics degree. Accelerators and all the discoveries made by them are what really got me excited in physics in the first place and I would love to work in a national lab somewhere doing research. Thanks for pointing this out, I will keep it in mind when I start looking for summer research opportunities!
     
  11. Jul 16, 2010 #10
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    I'm curious as to what EE or Physics Undergrad classes would give you a taste of this field? I've searched the curriculum of my school and can't find anything that relates in the class description. What classes usually touch on this field? Thanks.
     
  12. Jul 16, 2010 #11

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    E&M. That's what is the large part of this field.

    Again, as I've mentioned earlier, not many schools are able to carry the necessary courses, which is why we have those particle accelerator schools, not just here in the US, but also in Europe and Asia. The school that you go to must already have allowances to accommodate students who want to go into such fields. Most students at the undergraduate level don't do such specialization yet, unless they are at a school that have a specific specialization in accelerator physics (such as Maryland, UCLA, USC, Berkeley, Cornell, MIT, Indiana, etc.. ). At the graduate level, you definitely will be taking one or more classes at various sessions of the particle accelerator school.

    Zz.
     
  13. May 24, 2011 #12

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    I get asked this often, so I thought I might as well post this for future references.

    The Physical Review publishes accelerator physics papers in Phys. Rev. Lett, and also a special topics journal called Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams. The journal is open for everyone to read without a subscription.

    http://prst-ab.aps.org/

    This journal should give you a flavor of the kinds of topics that are dealt with in this field. You'll see a wide range of physics of beams, accelerating structures, and a lot of engineering.

    Zz.
     
  14. May 24, 2011 #13
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    Thanks for posting this.

    I attend graduate school (EE) at a Pulsed Power laboratory, and I think that most of what we do and the coursework is highly applicable to accelerator design. It would most certainly require a graduate degree though, as all the little details that are "neglected" in undergraduate engineering are ever so important at extreme power levels.
    Courses in pulsed power and gaseous electronics (and of course E&M) would be recommended, although they are seldom offered.
     
  15. Jun 15, 2011 #14

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    You should not miss the June 2011 issue of Physics Today, with the cover story on Accelerators in industries. Here are some quotes that reinforce what has been said in this thread:

    Zz.
     
  16. Jun 20, 2011 #15

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    The Europeans are also ramping up R&D in accelerator physics.

    http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/46058

    Zz.
     
  17. Jun 20, 2011 #16
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    What qualifications are required to enter the field of Accelerator Physics? I'm deciding on my career path and I'm hesitating between:

    - Aerospace engineering (specifically astronautical eng.)
    - Physics/Astrophysics with Math
    - Engineering Physics
     
  18. Jun 20, 2011 #17

    ZapperZ

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    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    You only need an undergraduate degree in physics or engineering (preferably EE) and a strong affinity for E&M. You catch up with the rest of the field in graduate school by attending the accelerator schools.

    Zz.
     
  19. Jun 20, 2011 #18
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    Which schools are well known in this field?
     
  20. Jun 27, 2011 #19
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    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?
     
  21. Jun 27, 2011 #20
    Re: A field where jobs go begging

    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.
     
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