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Becoming an engineering/mechanics lecturer

  1. Jun 3, 2015 #1

    I am studying maths and physics
    And am 18. Ill hopefully be attending a university to study aerospace engineering to a masters level. But my interest currently revolves around the theory; the mechanics, both solid
    And fluid, aerodynamics, orbital... basically all them. If I could just do a degree in them I would but the best way to get the most mechanics for me is on the course im aiming for. If I want to pursue a life around the theory, do you have any advice about certain decisions that need to be made down the line?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2015 #2
    There is the theory, and the subject matter. And then there is the actual work environment.

    Do you like discussing theory? Do you get excited about it? Can you convey that excitement to others? Are you good with public speaking? If the answers are yes, then you'll do well.

    Note that in academia, there are office politics. Getting ahead is not just a matter of teaching, but writing grant requests, journal articles, dealing with students, administrators, and so forth.

    In other words, even if you approach this endeavor with the self assurance that you'd be a pretty good lecturer, the actual job has a lot more behind the scenes.
  4. Jun 5, 2015 #3
    It might be worth noting that a lot of engineering lecturers originally studied maths or physics. This isn't entirely surprising since the engineering programmes are largely oriented towards preparing students to work in industry whereas physics and maths are less so.

    Also the administrative and bureaucratic elements of academia should not dismissed, as they are a very real and quite possibly very large part of the job. Even doing a 10 week research project as an undergrad, within 2 weeks I had been told to work on 3 different, unrelated projects while still working fully on my main (funded) project, and I'd also been asked if I would demonstrate experiments to local high school students as part of an outreach program (no additional time or funds were to be allocated to this). Thus is the life of academic research. If you genuinely love your subject then I imagine this should help carry you through these aspects.

    It's also likely as your studies progress your interests will mature and change; some things you were initially interested in you may grow to dislike as you study them more *cough*abstract algebra*cough* and other areas you hadn't previously known about you may learn from upper division electives, seminars and colloquia or just surveying papers in your field broadly and become interested in and potentially change fields (for example at my uni, the head of biophysics originally did his undergrad and part of his postgrad as an astrophysicist before swapping fields).
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