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Engineering Career advice sought: Aerospace engineering or physics.

  1. Oct 26, 2007 #1
    Hello. Maybe this sort of question has been answered before so excuse my laziness.
    At the moment I'm doing my 2nd year in aerospace engineering and my grades won't go much higher than 14. Still, I'd like to get your opinion about my odds if I follow a theoretical physics career or if that's possible at all. I chose this engineering because i'd like to apply my knowledge to real things but mainly because I don't want to end up as a professor: I can't see myself teaching classes (assuming anyone would want me to do that). So, knowing I see teaching with horror, and that i'm not studying sub-atomic particles any time soon, how good are my chances a priori?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 26, 2007 #2
    14 out of what?

    I am completely convinced that you can pretty much do anyway you want as long as you never have debt and do not have a family to support. Your in college so you should know how to live for basically nothing. You could work two days out of the week and be able to afford that life style. So, you can always follow theoretical physics or whatever it is you want to do.

    Now, if you are asking if you are assured a succesfull career in theoretical physics then depending on you definition of success this may or may not be answerible. There is nothing you can do to *assure* you have a steller career in research (part of this is really luck at least that is what I hear). But, if you mean by success as in offering substantial contributions to physics, then there are things you can do to accomplish this.

    Teaching a classroom of college students is not a necessity. But, you have to realize that most successful people in research work with other people (especially in physics). This involves teaching your colleges the things you know and vise verse. Only people who are really really great do not have to communicate their ideas very often (but there path is much harder). It takes a very long time for their research to valued as it should be because they are not communicating it with many other people. This reminds me of the group theorist who recently won the fields metal. There are only a few people on the planent who understand his work because the time it takes to understand it is so substantial that many view it as disadvantagous. He went through a lot in regards to the time it took to get the respect he deserves. My point being that learning how to teach others is a worthwhile skill as well as being personable.

    I think you will notice your own teachers are quite personable. They might have an odd sense of humor or not give much time to their students but with each other you will always see them enjoying a good chat.
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