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Math Career switch from biomed to maths/physics? Too old?

  1. Apr 30, 2012 #1
    Hello PF inhabitants,

    I have just finished 5 years of university culminating in a Master's degree in biomedical science. I now work in a genetic diagnostics lab. Problem is I always had a deep 'urge' to do something quantitative and I always liked the seemingly inapplicable aspects of maths/physics (at least from what I have been exposed to in layman science books).

    I am considering retraining in maths/physics/programming but this will be a complete u-turn for me. I know some of you are knowledgeable in physics into finance transitions and wonder what is your opinion on such a career path change?

    Also, if I went all the way to do PhD in physics, would I be too 'old' to get into entry-level roles in finance if I am unable to find a position in academia? I am 24 now, and at the soonest I would start my new degree next year. I feel like completely retraining would put me at a major disadvantage when I start looking for jobs due to my age.

    Any opinion or comments would be much appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 1, 2012 #2
    Why not biophysics, biomedical engineering, biophysical chemistry or materials science (in biomaterials)?

    That way you'll get the quantitative training you want. Biomolecule/biomaterial spectroscopy, crystallography, simulation, computational genetics and medical device design are highly quantitative. I know some labs that do ultrafast X-ray diffraction studies that image biomolecules with an extremely short X-ray flash, so fast that the protein or DNA can't even vibrate in that time. This requires lensless X-ray imaging techniques which are highly computational and train you in X-ray optics which is highly useful in biomedical research, biochemistry, security, materials science and electronics. Take a look at these guys: http://physics.asu.edu/home/people/faculty/john-spence [Broken]

    There's also alot of work in optical spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning probe techniques, etc. There's also theoretical techniques in molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations of biopolymer dynamics. There's ALOT of physics and physical chemistry in biology, but sadly, its never taught in biology courses.

    It also won't waste your biomedical background. It would be a smooth progression, unlike say... particle physics which is totally new.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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