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Applied Physics vs Physics

  1. Jan 9, 2014 #1
    what is the difference between these two programs? Does applied lean more on being an experimental physicists?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2014 #2

    ZapperZ

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    No, it doesn't. For example, Phil Anderson, John Bardeen, and Bob Laughlin are all in "applied physics" (condensed matter physics). Yet, they are Nobel Prize winning theorists!

    In many cases, but not all, the term "applied" simply means that the field of study has an obvious, direct application, rather than simply basic knowledge with no direct, obvious application. Condensed matter physics, atomic/molecular physics, etc. are considered as 'applied', while high energy physics, etc are not considered to be "applied".

    Zz.
     
  4. Jan 9, 2014 #3
    Can you please elaborate sir?Sorry for not getting much of what you said.


    Anyhow, I was so sure of becoming a physicist because I love it but then after reading here for hours, I learned that the future can be a little blurry, if after one or 2 years of studying, I suddenly realize that I want to become an engineer because it is much better career wise, which do you think should I take up in my first or second year, physics or applied physics?
     
  5. Jan 9, 2014 #4

    ZapperZ

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    Actually, you need to elaborate. What exactly did you read that you did not understand?

    In the meantime, read this:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/blog.php?b=3727 [Broken]

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jan 9, 2014 #5

    esuna

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    Applied physics programs can vary, so we need to know what the program entails before giving you any quality advice. Some "applied" physics programs simply mean you take engineering electives instead of physics electives. If that is the case for your applied physics program, then that would be the one to do if you foresee yourself switching to engineering your third year.
     
  7. Jan 9, 2014 #6
    For some reason my browser did not have the second paragraph of your first post,it's a good thing i viewed again in my phone.i now get it.

    Good info on your blig sir.


    Esuna,i can't find a link for the curriculun,but i'm planning on applying on UBC or SFU for 2015(our family will arrive in canada on april and applications are done by then).maybe you know their curriculum.thanks for the info.appreciate it :-)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Jan 9, 2014 #7
    I had similar thoughts starting out as an undergrad, so I ended up in engineering just to be safe. I eventually switched to physics in my second year but didn't fall behind at all and ended up with several engineering courses under my belt, some of which have been useful (programming).

    I would suggest starting out in engineering if you're unsure. Usually the engineering and physics students take the same basic courses in their first year (calc sequence, calc based physics, chemistry), but often engineers have to take a few extra courses like intro to programming etc. Therefore, I think it's easier to switch from engineering to physics rather than the other way around.

    Also, some schools have "engineering physics" programs which would essentially be an applied physics program with you're electives being engineering heavy. This might be something to look into.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2014 #8

    esuna

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    It looks like both schools have Engineering Physics degrees:
    http://you.ubc.ca/ubc_programs/engineering-physics/
    http://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar...tion/honours/bachelor-of-applied-science.html

    SFU Actually has Applied Physics as well
    http://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar...pplied-physics/major/bachelor-of-science.html

    Though other than some Nuclear Science classes and a Semiconductor Device Physics class, the actual curriculum doesn't seem too different from any other undergrad physics curriculum. Of course I have no idea what lab/work/project opportunities you may have there that could be valuable.

    The engineering physics at SFU looks very comprehensive and looks like it would give you a lot of foundational engineering classes/skills. Of course it is entirely up to you.

    EDIT: It seems the engineering physics at UBC is a five-year program.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
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