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Combining chemistry and physics

  1. Dec 11, 2015 #1
    I enjoy both chemistry and physics, then perhaps wish to combine my interest and pursue it in a single career..... Is that possible?
    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Dec 11, 2015 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, that's possible. I started out as an undergraduate in chemistry and did a Ph.D. at the border between the two, and am now working in a physics department.

    I think that the best way to do it is to choose topics at the border between the two traditional areas, as Borek pointed out.
  5. Dec 11, 2015 #4


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    The truth is:
    If you really like to gets your hands wet in the lab, then go for chemistry and make afterwards a career in oil field chemistry, pharma or the like. Knowledge in physics is frowned at, makes you suspicious and you won't get the job. If you should get pregnant and hence not allowed to work in the lab, you can go to the theoretical chemistry department for you thesis. Well, maybe you can do quality management, or regulatory stuff afterwards as people suppose you at least learned how to use word when writing up your thesis.

    If you want to be a physicist, then either you dream of programming simulations of particle tracks at CERN or to bury yourself for some years of your thesis in aluminum foil, cooper cables and high vacuum pumps. However if you should find out during your physics study that you are too stupid for real physics, then you still can become a physical chemist and make arrogant comments to the chemists in their PC lab classes.
  6. Dec 11, 2015 #5


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    Your experiences may be what they are, but Chemistry benefits much from Physics. More and deeper Physics knowledge can make one a better chemist.
  7. Dec 11, 2015 #5


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    Of course you are right and the above post is ironic to some extent. The point I wanted to make is that although there are many very interesting interdisciplinary studies popping out like mushrooms, you often run in danger of not being taken serious by any of the fields you overlap with. The more it is important to ask about job opportunities before deciding for a given subject. What chemical industry expects from a chemist and is willing to pay for, is several years of proven lab experience as certified by a PhD. There is also a market for analytical chemistry like NMR, mass spectroscopy where quite some physical knowledge is required.
    Although not my favourite, chemical engineering may also be interesting, as you have besides chemistry quite a heavy load of physics, like thermodynamics, fluid dynamics etc.
    From the physics side, maybe an interesting subject is geophysics as you have both quite interesting chemistry and physics lessons.
  8. Dec 11, 2015 #6
    I have two words for you: Chemical Engineering
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