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Alternative to Computational Physics

  1. Jun 27, 2012 #1

    I'll get straight to the point. I'm really interested in going into Computational Physics.

    Where I live (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) not many offer that program nor are any of them close to me who do offer the program. I was wondering if it would be alright for me to do something alternative because I really love these two fields.

    Maybe major in Physics and minor in Computer Science or vice versa.

    Can anyone give me opinions on how "Maybe major in Physics and minor in Computer Science or vice versa."

    Or maybe an alternative. TY :]
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2012 #2
    What about U of T? They have an upper level course called computational physics.

    The thing is, I'm pretty sure you don't just do computational physics. You do computational physics in a field such as plasma physics or astrophysics or beam physics etc. So really you need to find a subfield of physics you are interested in, then begin learning the ins and out of computational methods and modelling.

    Not an expert on this topic, but I'm sure some basic computer science would be good for you. Although you probably won't need to delve too far into it. Whether you minor in it or just take a few classes in it is up to you.
  4. Jun 29, 2012 #3
    That naturally raises three questions whose answers are important in this context:
    1. why?
    2. what do you imagine "Computational Physics" to be like? Or in other words: what is the "Computational Physics" you are interested in like?
    3. do you have any long-term career plans/ideas/hopes and what are they?

    The "maybe major in Physics and minor in Computer Science or vice versa" seems to essentially be the question whether you want to be a physicist with some CS background or a CS with some formal physics education. I think almost every natural scientist can benefit from solid computer skills (and be it when he quits academia and looks for a proper job). A formal university education in CS in not required for this (personal interest and keeping your eyes open for new developments should suffice and come natural to a scientist), but not having undergone one I can not judge how much it actually helps. For computer scientist with a physics background, I can naturally not say much at all (being a physicist rather than a CS).
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