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Programs After the PhD?

  1. Jul 22, 2008 #1
    Hello,

    I come from Belgium where I did my Master in Physics. However, in this country, with this diploma you can only teach in schools (ages 15-18)... PhD positions are relativelly few and far between. As I did not wanted to teach young poeple, I searched for a PhD outside my country and I found one in Germany.

    So, I am currently doing a PhD in Theoretical Physics in Germany, witch is a completly different country where I discovered they was something outside of teaching. I still have two years to go, so I have time. But I was asking myself questions about my future. At first I wanted to continue in the academic research. I know it consists of doing several 2/3 years postdocs in the hope of someday finding a permanent position. However, I have heard that it is also possible to work in industries with a PhD.

    I have searched this forum without success, so now is my question: What are the perspectives of making a carreer outside the academia for someone like me?

    For your information, in my work I am doing more simulations and computational things that really playing with equations all day long. Also I am still quite young and I should have finished my PhD at around 24. Finally, I am disposed of going anywhere so you can give me situation either in Europe or the US (or somewhere else ^^).

    I hope I have been clear enough, and thanks in advance for your answer.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2008 #2
    could you tell us more about your thesis for the phd? Also, what doctoral coursework did you attend/do?

    I have some ideas, but need more specific info about your abilities.
     
  4. Jul 22, 2008 #3

    So my Thesis is on the topic of Cold Atoms (BEC), I spend my time working for simulational methods in that field. I also try to optimize this kind of codes and to make it work on a compute cluster (paralel computing). So I speak C/C++/Fortan/Linux and some mathemical langages, but I suppose that's quite common.

    For the course work, I am not yet finished, but I took mainly things in relations to my field (bad thing for industry, no?) since I did my Master thesis in QCD, I had to learn new things. I did also a few Graduate Days covering some topics of physics like "Climatology and Global Warming", ... Finally I also went to a Journal club in my field. I am not sure I got you right so please feel free to tell me if I am not answering you. (btw here I only have to make 16 semesters hours during my entire PhD, so it is not that much) Also, I did not take it all yet, so if you think some courses my be useful for me, I am also very much interrested.
     
  5. Jul 23, 2008 #4
    scientific computing together with math and physics is always a good thing. Maybe you could do simulations in industry? like finance, materials or mechanic modelling?
    My guess is that materials is a good choice for someone with a computational physics background coupled with quantum theory.
     
  6. Jul 23, 2008 #5
    Ok, thanks a lot for your answers. I still have a few question if you don't mind (I am discovering the world outside academia at the moment ^^). I think I understand what the Finance and Mechanic modeling is. For material modeling, do you mean something like that?

    Finally, a more technical question. If I would like to work in the US, is it possible to search for a job before, from Europe, and then only when you found a job ask for a visa and then cross the Atlantic? Or should I come first in the US, without revenue, and then find a job? (I am not asking for Europe since I moved from a country to another in Europe already so I know how it works)

    Thanks again for your help, I was a bit depressed at the moment, asking myself if I was not putting myself into a dead end by doing my PhD.
     
  7. Jul 23, 2008 #6
    Yeah, something like that. I suppose your background are rather sound for a job like that, maybe in the steel industry?

    I would save up some money where you are now, then travel to the states and set up some meeting before in europe, then going on a "tour", discovering the country and sights at the same time.

    no, a phd is never a waste of time, but engineers who go into phd's more often than not get into a lower starting position than MSc-people who go directly into industry, if you haven't had any contacts with industry before getting the doctoral degree.
     
  8. Jul 23, 2008 #7
    Ok thanks alot for your answers.
     
  9. Jul 24, 2008 #8
    Since you can program (at the OOP level I hope) you are good to go; yet, need to add a internship before you graduate to make things a bit easier on yourself (well a lot).
    However, likely London would be easier to get access to than the US, now from what I understand.

    Funny, I was just talking to the some software reps about parallel computing. Even better for you.
     
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