# Can I call myself a physicist yet?

1. Jun 9, 2009

### flatmaster

I have my BS in Physics with a chem minor. I've done two years of gradschool at UAH. I'll be back to classes in the fall at UAB Huntsville. At Auburn, I was awarded TA of the year from the dept. So how about it? Can I call myself a physicist?

2. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

You can call yourself modest.

Sarcasm aside, do you do physics for a living?

3. Jun 9, 2009

### Pengwuino

Someone told me you can only call yourself a physicist when you have your PHD. Then of course there's a professor of mine who said we could call ourselves physicists when we were taking upper division physics courses. Who knows. If you're still in school, you're a student, that's for sure. If you're unemployed, you're a bum. If you work as a physicist, I guess you shoudl call yourself a physicist!

4. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

You should not even be allowed into a physics classroom, let alone calling yourself a physicist.

5. Jun 9, 2009

### Pengwuino

I hate you.

That professor also said to get a PHD so you can say 'Dr.' when you're making a table reservation at a restaurant. It sounds very cool.

6. Jun 9, 2009

### flatmaster

Under this definition, I'm a bum. However bum and physicist and not orthogonal.

7. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

If I had a PhD, I'd tell people to call me Cyrus. The title isnt to impress people working at restaurants.

Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2009
8. Jun 9, 2009

### Chi Meson

You said "orthogonal."

You physicist, you.

9. Jun 9, 2009

### flatmaster

ok.. I think I'm a physiscist

10. Jun 9, 2009

### drizzle

yeah, I don't know.. my prophessors and colleagues think I'm way good at physics, but seriously I'll give myself 80% [though, I used to be on top of my class], right now I'm a research assistant, and applying for a job at my local university [teaching assistant], I’m expecting to start after summer, but I wouldn’t call myself a physicist unless I invent something really rocks the world…high expectations

11. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

It's spelled professors. Why would you go from an RA to a TA? That's a step down, not up.

12. Jun 9, 2009

### drizzle

thanks for the correction, I don’t know how things work where you live, but here I have to go though all steps if I want to major in physics as an assisted professor, you see I didn’t teach after graduation, but I start my master study after 2 yrs [thanks to my GPA and professors recommendations] while I’m still studying master my advisor took me on as a research assistant [that’s temporarily on a couple of researches], got it!

13. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

What is an 'assisted professor': are you trying to become a professor? I think I understand about 60% of what you write.

14. Jun 9, 2009

### drizzle

that's enough for you you can't handle more than that!

15. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

FYI: I generally don't like it when people I don't know post responses to me as if I were a close buddy. I don't know you that well.

Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
16. Jun 9, 2009

### drizzle

lick your elbow! * you are way far from being a close buddy

* [just in case you asks cause I don’t wanna post replies again] it’s a saying I learned, it means if you could lick your elbow then what you think is possible, but it isn't

17. Jun 9, 2009

### physics girl phd

I have my Ph.D. in physics and my job title contains the word "physics", but I still cringe when my husband says I'm a physicist. I just teach physics at a university. I guess I'd only think of myself as a physicist if I was employed at a national lab and was classified as a full time research physicist under some gs grade... or something similar. Since that's not the case, I think I'd be doing hack job if one thought of me as a "physicist".

18. Jun 9, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
It depends entirely how you look at it. The first definition in Websters is "a specialist in physics". In a room full of post-docs doing fundamental research, "specialist" means one thing, but for the average person, including the majority of working non-scientific professionals, it means something else entirely.

When I finished college with a BS in Physics, I began doing industrial designs that required that I have general liability and professional errors and omissions insurance. Some kind of title was required for me that was representitive but not misleading. "Graduate Physicist" was finally the language chosen.

19. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

"Design Engineer"

Anyways, it doesn't matter because I think the thread is self serving and pointless. Why not just make a thread that says I got an award as being a TA, everyone clap for me. I honestly see no other point to this thread than that.

20. Jun 9, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I studied physics, not engineering. They knew what I was doing.

21. Jun 9, 2009

### turbo

Though I started on that track, I never ended up getting a degree in Chemical Engineering. A few years later, when I found myself working as a process chemist in a \$ pulp mill, I had no problem saying "chemist" when people asked what I did. When fractional percentages of improvements in the efficiency of that mill could pay my salary for years (even decades) I felt no compunction in claiming the title. I beat out a newly-minted CE for my position though I had no degree, and we became close friends after his hire a year later.

22. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

Then why do you pm me and respond to my posts as if we are? It's out of place. Again, I don't understand half of what you're saying.

23. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

I know you studied physics, but you weren't hired to do physics, were you?

My point is that physicists are hired to do physics.

A physicist can be hired to do something thats non related to physics, but at that point your no longer a physicist.

24. Jun 9, 2009

### Cyrus

That's because you were actually doing what a chemist does.

25. Jun 9, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I was being paid to use what I had learned. Also, this [my first application for insurance] was for a project funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. I was self-employed.

What is "doing physics"? I use the physics that I studied every day. If you mean research, then that would be a research physicist.

I was being asked what qualifies me to do the work I was insuring. The real answer is that I can figure out what I need to know because, and only because of my physics degree.