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Astronomy, quantum, or particle physics

  1. Aug 4, 2008 #1
    Okay, so I'm going to be a senior in high school and it's time to start thinking about college. My interests are astronomy/astrophysics, particle/ quantum physics, and nuclear physics. This is cool and all, but I can't decided on which one or combonation of them to major in. I have a love for all of them. I love astronomy, but at the same time I think it would be really cool to work on string theory etc... I can't decided on which major/majors. However, I have narrowed down my school choices. The schools I am considering are: Rice U, U of Arizona, U of Texas at Austin, Brown U, and Cornell U. I was wondering if any of you can lead me on the right path as to which school has the most well rounded program, and which one is the best in each individual discipline. I realize that most of these schools are ridiculously expensive, thus if I don't get the scholarships I would like, I will go to the most convenient one. Thanks in advance.
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  3. Aug 4, 2008 #2
    Huh? It's pretty obvious that you should major in physics. I am not aware of such thing as major in quantum mechanics or particle physics... but I know there is a major in astronomy. I will say between major in physics and major in astronomy, you should probably choose the former (with some astronomy courses thrown in) to keep your options open, just in case you find astronomy not your cup of tea after a few years. You can always choose to work on astronomy later on in grad school (if you are going for one).
  4. Aug 4, 2008 #3


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    You don't major in specific fields of physics as an undergraduate. Instead you usually just major in "physics." You'll then cover the broad range of physics as an undergrad and start to specialize when you reach graduate school. It is common for there to be a separate "astronomy" major at many places, but if you major in physics it is still possible to go into astrophysics/astronomy in grad school.

    It seems you are set on physics, and I wish you the best of luck with it!
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
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