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AMO vs. condensed matter

  1. Apr 5, 2014 #1
    I got into a top PHD institution for condensed matter physics. I already have a MS in physics doing condensed matter. Now after a few years of actual research, I'm not sure if condensed matter is for me anymore. I feel like alot of condensed matter physics right now is just pressing a button on an instrument then going through alot of data analysis. The creative part doesn't seem to be actually designing the experiment since you are using known instruments.

    I visited a lower ranked school and was amazed by some AMO professors who wanted to talk to me, which I didn't expect. I was very interested in the amount of technical skills that I get to learn and apply, ranging from vacuum techniques to electronics to programming. However, I'm not sure if I like the research in AMO or not, since I have little experience in it. I am also not sure about careers in AMO, since the actual science of AMO isn't as industrially applicable.

    What should I do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2014 #2
    It would be great if there were any suggestions. I have a decision to make coming up in a week, and don't know what is right. I have significant experience in condensed matter, but don't think the type of research I want to do will allow me to learn too many transferable skills. I had experience in optics and programming, but not serious AMO physics, and never took a serious course on it beyond molecular spectroscopy. However I'm interested in the transferable skills.

    Is it worth learning an entirely new area of physics for the transferable skills?
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