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At which degree a person start making discoveries in physics

  1. May 9, 2016 #1
    if I have finished high school can I make a new theoretical discovery in physics with the knowledge of high school ? If yes what kind of discovery it will be ? And if i have finished undergrad in physics can I make a new theoretical discovery ? And the same question what kind of discovery it will be ? And finally after graduate I have all the requirement (knowledge requirement at least) to make theoretical discoveries in physics right ?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2016 #2
    If a 16 years old discovered a theory on the higgs boson or on quantum mechanics he has a chance to be accepted from people ? Ofcorse if his theory is true
  4. May 9, 2016 #3


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    I would be EXTRAORDINARILY unlikely that a 16 year old would be able to do that so it would be difficult to get serious attention from physicists.

    The first step would be to take it to a high school physics prof or maybe someone at a nearby college and see if it makes sense to them.
  5. May 9, 2016 #4


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    Well, in general, it's very unlikely. Impossible? No; however, not probable.

    Judging from your lack of patience given the second thread on the same topic (first thread being about an hour ago)... less likely.
  6. May 9, 2016 #5


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    Are you asking out of curiosity or are you asking because you have a theory in mind?
    If it was true and proven, it wouldn't be called a theory :smile:

    Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from doing your own research and reading on the topic you’re interested in. I’ve thought about a lot of things only to look into it more and find that it already existed.
  7. May 9, 2016 #6
    A little word of wisdom: you are (probably) not a genius and that's okay. It is nice that you have a passion for physics and math. But mastering those subjects is a marathon, not a sprint. Maybe you will make a huge discovery once, but that's quite unlikely. If you have the right persistance, you can make some minor scientific breakthroughs once, but minor scientific breakthroughs are still awesome. Yes, there are child prodigies, but don't make the mistake of thinking that such people automatically have more pleasure or fulfilled lives. Please, continue reading some books on science in your free time from time to time, they will keep your interests awake and may provide some benefits on the long term. But in the end, it is in school that you have to perform, that's just the way the world works (I'm not saying it's the way it should, but just that it is). Meanwhile, while being patient for your future, it is always a good idea to broaden your worldview, have fun, go to parties etc. before you're too old for those
  8. May 9, 2016 #7


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    Wait ... what? ... you can GET too old for those?
  9. May 9, 2016 #8


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    To answer the question that I think you mean to ask, it's normally during the PhD that students begin to start doing original scientific work.

    In high school you're building a general education foundation. You have the tools to get into university and if you're advanced, you're probably dipping into first-year university physics by the end of high school. Some students might have the opportunity to do science fair projects, which can get pretty advanced too.

    At the undergraduate level, you focus on building a foundation in physics and the tools that it requires (mathematics, computer science, electronics, etc.) You may have the opportunity to get involved with research project at some point. Most students that are serious about going on will end up with some kind of research project - working with a professor as a summer job, or as a senior thesis project, somewhere towards the end of their degree. The students rarely make novel contributions to the field, but they support the people who are and learn about how the process works.

    At the graduate level, you complete advanced coursework, rounding out your education and then focus on a research project. You will have a supervisor who will mentor you through the process. Towards the end, you should be in a place where you are capable of conducting research on your own.
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