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Change of speciality

  1. Aug 31, 2015 #1
    Hello, well thats just a general question but I was thinking about maybe changing my research speciality after my PhD... I am studying theoretical condensed matter physics right now, but do you think I could change to another branch of physics after it? Lets say, quantum gravity and cosmology maybe, I just want to know the possible outs of this, and what do you think about it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2015 #2


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    As a physicist, you must know that asking a question such as "is it possible to...." will always get the answer "yes!"

    However, it is a different matter when asking is it LIKELY that you will be able to do such a thing. Your post has no background information on (i) why you would want to switch, (ii) what is it in your educational background that makes you qualified to do a postdoc in such an area, and (iii) what kind of competition do you think you will encounter for the meager number of positions in such a field from others who actually specialized in such an area.

    I can speak from first-hand experience, because I switched field from experimental condensed matter into accelerator physics. But I was lucky because they were looking for someone to work on several condensed matter/material science problems in accelerator physics, and I had just the right background and expertise they were looking for. So yes, switching fields is definitely possible, but there's a lot more that's involved in simply saying that! The stars have to aligned just right for that to happen.

  4. Aug 31, 2015 #3
    Thank you for the reply,

    asking some of the background questions,

    i) Its like maybe for me it always had more interest cosmology and particle physics rather than condensed matter, but due to various things during my studies I chose this way... I think that to do research in some field you need to be higly motivated in that field and I dont know if I find that motivation in theoretical condensed matter (I was always better in maths subjects than physics,and more interested in foundations of theories rather than their applications) Of course a condensed matter theorist knows a lot of maths and foundations, but I dont know if the field of expertise is what actuallt motivates me.

    ii) Thats a good question actually, since I dont know either if I am qualified for a postdoc position, I dont know how that works and how difficult is to find some postdocs positions

    iii) Competition in the field of quantum gravity and strings etc... Well, I would say, without any knowledge, that the competition is the same in terms of how smart you are and how smart can the others be around you... But in terms of positions, probably I would say that there is more active research nowadays in condensed matter area than in any other areas of physics, so yes probably it is more difficult to find something.

    With my question I was just wondering if there exists a possibility of switching if, after a whole thesis, you find out that maybe this is not the research field you would like to be in (In case of staying in academia obviously)

    Thank you
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