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Career path for physics (Pure research)

  1. Oct 13, 2014 #1
    Hi guys! Sorry I'm new so the questions might seen a bit vague but I'm unclear about a lots of things
    I want to make a career purely in physics, I'd prefer cosmology and theoretical physics because that was I was so interested in from beginning. But I've heard the career in theoretical physics is tough/more like unstable and I should go for experimental.
    If I go for experimental physics what huge difference will it be from theoretical one or it is data analysis majorly.
    And if I dare to chose theoretical physics over it what kind of projects can one do in undergraduate level in Quantum Mechanics.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2014 #2


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    Physics research in general (both theoretical and experimental) is a tough career choice and there are several hurdles before you can get any kind of job security and many depending on pure luck in addition to your own ability. Getting admitted into a PhD program is just the first bottleneck, only a minority of PhDs get a fixed position in academia in the end. I am not saying this to discourage you, only to make sure you know what you are getting into.

    Given the above, I think it is essential that you really enjoy what you are doing so do not pick something that you are not excited about. That being said, you are still an undergraduate according to your profile and I think you will have some time still before you pass the point of no return with regards to whether to go experimental or theoretical.
  4. Oct 13, 2014 #3


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    Dear Richa,
    The suggested career paths are as follows:
    1. Theoretical physics:
    QM+EM+SM+CM+SR+GR+GroupTh+Real analysis+Complex analysis----->Grad school---->Post-doc--->Find jobs
    2. Experimental physics:
    QM+EM+SM+CM+SR+Electronics+Laser&optics+Solid state------->Grad school------->Post-doc--->Find jobs

    I hope you can find the above useful. Like you, I am equally interested in both experimental and theoretical physics so I took basically all courses in the department encompassing both experimental and theoretical physics in my undergrad. My dream is to be a physicist. I wish I can get admitted into physics PhD this year.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  5. Oct 16, 2014 #4
    That is great you took all those courses...
    Thank you so much!! And good luck, I hope you make it.
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