1. Dec 19, 2004

Hello all

I'm thinking of maybe doing physical chemistry in university (currently i'm 16) but as i am currently doing AS- level, i've chosen maths, biology, Chemistry, and Design technology.

Now the above subjects would be somewhat, pointed towards medicine, however, i'm not that keen on medicine. Although my parents would like it, i just ain't that keen on it.

Now, i've been looking for other subjects to do, and i've taken particular interest in phyiscal chemistry. From what i have seen, a lot of physical chemistry is on Quantum mechanics. Although im not implying that i learn all from a book, i've started reading physical chemsitry books on the schrodinger equation, Bohr model etc..

Can anyone give me some advice on this? And if you do physical chemsitry in uni, what is it like for you?

2. Dec 19, 2004

### pmb_phy

I guess it depends on many factors. What are your goals? What is important to you? What are you interested in?

Keep in mind, for example, the the biotech industry is a pretty large industry and pretty fascinating stuff. If you like chemistry then you might also want to consider being a biochemist. If you like quantum mechanics you might think about biophysics, medical physics etc.

Job security is quite important from a practical standpoint. When I was young I was concerned more with "cool job" than I was "job security" which came in second. I'd do things a bit differently I think. When I graduated from college I went straight to work for a research company on a research contract with the Air Forces Rome Laboratory. It was a military contract and I figured this was a safe position to be in - the company never layed anyone off in the last 25 years. However! It was the following year that the government started cutting contracts, closing bases etc. I neglected to take into account that the cold war could end in my lifetime. :surprised

So I was layed off ... a month after I bought a brand spanking new Acura Integra!

The moral of this story - Be practical too. Consider everything before you make your final decision. Don't ignore simple questions like what the market is like for a particular career path etc. E.g. tell your parents you'll be a biopchemist if they buy you a new Ferrari.

Pete

3. Dec 19, 2004

Well, my goal in life is... i have to find out. All i know is that its gonna be about science in someway.
My interests are...well just about anything. Specifically, i love inorganic chemistry, quantum physics (from what i read), molecular biology, maths (i don't consider myself 'good', but im determined to work as hard as i can), and DT (as i mentioned before)

I ain't in it for money, which many people who do biochemistry and medicine think of.

Very specifically, i have a lot of interest in the structure of the atom. That required to knowledge of elements, (chemistry) and also micro-physics (or quantum physics)

4. Dec 20, 2004

### pmb_phy

I hope you don't have the idea that joy of work and excellant pay are mutually exclusive. One can have their cake and eat it too.

Let me give you an example; Medical Physics. One can make an awesome living in this field. The pay is between $70,0000/year and$190,000/year. In this field one typically works at a Hospital (lots of nurses ) or a particle accelerator lad and would do things like work with particle accelerators, radiation, nuclear medicine etc. Proton therapy is becomming very popular now. Plus you can help people fight to live, which is always a good thing I think you'd agree.

This field seems perfect for you since it has everything you're looking for. The benifits at hospitals are pretty good too. E.g. when I went to work on a military contract I started out with 2 weeks vaction per year. Hospitals will sometimes start you out with 1 month vacation per year. I highly recommend that you investigate it. E.g. go to Mass General's web site and search on jobs using the key word "physics" and read the job description.

Pete's Philospohy of Life: Work to live. Don't live to work.

The best of all worlds is when you enjoy your work to the extent that it seems like play. However when you get into real life its all work no matter what. The newness will wear off and it becomes a job in all cases.

Pete