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Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem

  1. Jul 28, 2008 #1
    Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    I am a rising junior in high school and I think most of us agree, at this time it is important to think about college and the future.

    My problem is I have several interests I seemingly love evenly. I want to be a polymath of odd proportions.
    Here they are

    1. Computer Science/Engineering/technology business
    4.International Relations/History/Government
    5.Some type of engineering(aerospace,electrical,nuclear,Materials..etc.)
    6 Some types of Medicine( biotech,medical research)

    My dream would be to be a Professor of Astronomy at Cal-tech that runs the JPL and runs a technology company that also happens to be a Senator and Lead Technology Adviser to the President.

    Kinda like this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk and I have heroes such as Stephan Hawking,Carl Sagan,Lincoln,Isaac Asimov,Einstein,Richard Feynman,Bill Gates,Woz as well as the The Buddha and Jesus.


    I enjoy science more then anything, I love conventional science,I love theoretical sciences,I love research, I love seeing a dream become reality thanks to science.I also love math(particularly proof...I was recruited to my math team for my proof "skills")

    Astrophysics is a huge interest for me.I am the guy that watches space shuttle launches,researching the universe(Did you know VY Canis Majoris is the largest star known).I love the physics of the universe,stars,black holes, nebula,supernovas,plasma..etc.

    I also love computers and engineering.I love building computers,building new and better computer systems.I find software, the internet and games fascinating as well and enjoy programming even though my Knowledge is small. I find robotics and artificial intelligence extremely interesting and important. I like biomedical engineering because I like how the the cell is like a machine and how me can work with it. I like biology in general excluding the Ecology parts.Nanotechnology also interests me. How we can use it for applied purpose in everything.I also like Aerospace Engineering and well as Nuclear Engineering.

    My political aspirations are partially because I think America is going down the crapper in Science and Technology...I mean we cut NASA funding, while Europe builds the LHC and increases funding for ESA....Nice job America...


    Money isn't a priority

    READ THIS: Ask me all the question you need to in order to better idea.I stress this.

    Sorry if the grammar is bad...It is 5am here and I can't sleep. The College Part will be up tomorrow.
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading my wall of text
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 28, 2008 #2


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    Education Advisor

    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    It's good that you're thinking about your future. I wouldn't get too stressed out at this point about choosing a specific direction. Since you're still in high school, there's lots of time. What you really need is experience and exposure to these different interests at a higher level.

    You might want to consider looking at universities that offer a general first year science program that will expose you to most of your interests. At that point you can talk with your professors, try to get involved with undergraduate science organizations, and maybe try to get a part-time job in a lab. With respect to your political aspirations, you won't find any shortage of student activist/lobbist/political groups. And one of the best ways to learn about politics is to get involved with your student union. All of this will allow you to discover where your strengths and passions lie.

    In the end, no one is going to make this decision for you. And there's no formula that will allow you to arrive at the perfect answer. The thing to keep in mind is that at the high-school level, you're really just scratching the surface of a lot of subjects. Most students, when they get into university, get at least a bit of an an eye-opener as to the level of work involved, and the level of committment and passion needed to excel in a particular field.
  4. Jul 28, 2008 #3


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    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Having a large number of interests can be a very good thing. Ultimately, it means that you'll enjoy whatever you do from that list.

    Moreover, just because you do not follow-up professionally on some of the things on your list doesn't mean that you can't work on them as a hobby.

    If you really don't know what direction to go in, a physics degree would probably close the least doors and let you delay the decision the best, although an engineering degree with some extra math thrown in would probably also do a pretty good job. Ultimately though, I don't see how you'd be able to do active research in such different fields such as biotech and astrophysics, and unless you're ridiculously brilliant, you'll have to choose at some point. You might want to try to get research internships in as many of these areas as possible in an attempt to narrow down what you actually would enjoy. Just because you enjoy reading about black hole astrophysics, doesn't mean you'd actually like spending your days doing calculations about them. Similarly, I would think the job of technology adviser to the president would be quite tedious and boring for someone who wants to do real science.
  5. Jul 28, 2008 #4


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    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Geez, there's enough jobs there for several people. Also realize one's heroes did one or two jobs, or perhaps others, but mostly sequentially.

    When I was a junior in high school - I had some nutty idea of getting three PhD's in math, phsyics and chemistry. Well, while I was slogging through junior year of university, I realized that 3 PhD's wasn't going to happen. One is a more than enough work.

    I strongly recommend finding a core interest and focus on that, but keep abreast of those other areas. One can do some of the tasks mentioned, but sequentially - not simultaneously. There's only 24 hrs in a day, and one does have to sleep.
  6. Jul 28, 2008 #5
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Suggestions for colleges for these things?

    I plan to apply to MIT, but it is crapshot depending if they like you or not.
    Stanford,Princeton,Harvard,UCalB are a bit out of reach since I ****ed my freshmen year

    I mean I love MIT simply because they own...I mean they have a nuclear reactor and work on dark matter detection research even with Undergrads. Not to mention I love Boston(I am from RI,close ride too...), but I would eventually like to live in California.
    Something kinda nerdy is nice(If I wanted to say got to ComicCon with friends, but I would like to get laid and party(even though I don't drink or smoke)too.

    A politically active college with a good debate team is a big plus too.
  7. Jul 28, 2008 #6
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Also while I am at it, My friend said they are very different lifestyles, so I will look into that.
  8. Jul 29, 2008 #7


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    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Why not Brown, since one is in RI?

    Also, the Nuclear Reactor is used by the Nuclear Engineering department. Nuclear engineering is a full time undergrad program, and quite a bit different from Astrophysics. It might be feasible to do Nuc. Eng and Physics, or some other combination of dual degree, Nuc and Comp. Eng, or Nuc and EE. These days, there is a lot of computation in nuclear engineering.

    In CA, consider UCSD, but they don't have a nuclear reactor. On the other hand, UCBerkeley has a good Nuclear Engineering program.
  9. Jul 29, 2008 #8
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Brown is a "meh", I don't have the grades,but I know people from Brown Admission Board quite well who know I can do the work. And I also love the school, it seems to be very well rounded.

    Also a Physicist can work on a nuclear reactor I believe?
    I mean before nuclear engineering existed,Physicists were "nuclear engineers"

    they don't have to have a nuclear reactor,I just want a strong, Physics,Computers and Engineering Program because I will probably bounce around. Also strong research opportunities is a plus....Like MIT dark-matter detection.
  10. Jul 29, 2008 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Brown has a good physics program, and I believe a good astrophysics program. I'm not sure about engineering.

    In the early years of reactor design and development, there were physicists, engineering physicists, and engineers (mechanical/electrical). The industry has matured, and if one had a physics degree, one would have to be trained (or retrained) to 'work' on a reactor, if one did not have a nuclear engineering background.

    Many schools have good computing programs, since computing is a significant part of science and engineering these days.
  11. Jul 29, 2008 #10
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    I will apply to Brown(I am not paying to apply..my parents are:) )

    It it easy to understand why they all appeal to be, I mean they are so similar. They could all easily work on 1 project together.
    There is always other options to "get them all"...I could also was pick one and double major in Math. Then go to grad school for another, but that isn't ideal.
  12. Jul 31, 2008 #11
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    So should I enter as undecided or pick a major such as math that is related to all of those fields?
  13. Jul 31, 2008 #12


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    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    I would suggest entering as undecided. Just because you'll need math for just about every engineering and physics course doesn't mean you should major in it. You can always decide to major in math when you're better acquainted with it in your first year.
  14. Jul 31, 2008 #13
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Any more suggestion on colleges?
    Another reason I am fond of MIT, They have 3 wonderful programs. Physics with Electrical Engineering,Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology and Mathematics and Computer Science. Not as double majors, but as 1 degree.

    Also where can I get into some research as a high school student?
    I plan on applying for RSI, but that is a year away.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  15. Aug 5, 2008 #14
    Re: Astrophysics,Engineering,Computers and my huge problem....

    Holy ****, I think I found my sub hero......7 college degrees


    Actually Director of NASA is also a job I would love to have as well. Astrophysics + Engineering + Politics.....WE HAVE A WINNER
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