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Other Availability of funding within different areas of physics

  1. Aug 4, 2017 #1

    I was wondering if any of you researchers on PF are willing to provide some insight in regards to how much funding is available to different areas of physics? I'm happy with just qualitative, personal experience-type answers, like which areas you think have the most, which areas have the least, etc. It does not have to be solely within US either.

    I will add this below, if it helps:


    (I am posting this in Academic Guidance because it may influence my future career decisions, but feel free to move this topic wherever you think is appropriate.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2017 #2
    Condensed Matter/Solid State is god right now at my school. Most funding goes there iirc.

    Particle is in decline at my school (we barely have enough to pay our undergraduates, and even then only some).

    Astro gets even less than particle (our department is half the size of particle or condensed matter).

    I'm in Astro and it's really hard for undergrads to get stipends for research here.

    I'm at a top 50 school for perspective.
  4. Aug 10, 2017 #3
    I see. I suspected it would be more or less like that.
    Thank you!
  5. Aug 10, 2017 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    PhotonSSBM is talking about undergraduate stipends in his examples. So it's but one facet of what is an impossibly broad question. Just as an example, particle funding at universities is trending down because new facilities construction is trending up. Does that mean funding is bad? Or good?
  6. Aug 10, 2017 #5
    If it's related to electronics or biology, it's probably well funded by industry or the government (United States point of view).

    However the context of the question will determine whether or not any of that matters. Whether or not a field has a lot of funding is not actionable information in a vacuum. For instance, many fields of cellular biology are extremely well funded, but there are also so many people pursuing it that the job market is atrocious.
  7. Aug 11, 2017 #6
    Oh that's interesting, although I don't quite understand why. I mean, if they're building more facilities for (say) particle physicists, wouldn't you expect there would be more data for particle physics people to work on? And more jobs?
  8. Aug 12, 2017 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Can't use the same dollar to build a facility and to analyze the data from it.
  9. Aug 17, 2017 #8


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    Also, capital and/or spending on facilities is a one-off cost whereas if you hire someone you will have to pay him/her for several years (plus pensions etc) so it is a long term commitment.
    Hence, it is not at all unusual for there to be plenty of money for equipment but no money to hire people.
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