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Comp. Physics Grad Schools

  1. Feb 19, 2006 #1
    Comp. Physics and Nanotechnology Grad Schools

    What do grad schools look for when picking up students in computational physics? Do they expect a degree in computer science with a minor in physics or the other way around? Either?

    Same with Nanotechnology: Is physics the standard route? Should you be taking lots of chem classes as well?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2006 #2
    Good question. I wonder if a double major in physics and math would work as well.
  4. Feb 21, 2006 #3
    For computational physics you are a physicist first, not a computer scientist. The majority of a comp sci program is not applicable to computer modeling in physics. You could take a look at Bowers's book "Numerical Modeling in Applied Physics and Astrophysics", its the only decent book I've found on the subject. Applied math classes would be useful, but first and foremost is the physics. Maybe a computer science minor as a physics major, but more comp sci than that is not really helpful for working in computational physics.

    The professor who runs our nanotech lab generally recommends large amounts of biochemistry and molecular biology, but they're working on guided self-assembly. I'm not sure if those subjects would be as useful for other facets of nanotechnology.
  5. Feb 23, 2006 #4
    Thanks for this!

    I assume this means in conjunction with being a physics major? Also, does large amounts mean a minor in say biochem, or is that too specific?

    What the main reason behind needing all the bio/chem anyway? What specifics do you get that you wouldn't get as a physics major?

    Lastly, why is physics the standard route for nanotech over chemistry?

    Thanks again.
  6. Feb 24, 2006 #5

    Yeah, the students in the lab are physics majors that take chem/biochem classes.

    In their case, they are working on guided-self assembly, using custom engineered DNA as a sort of velcro to attach and arrange polystyrene microspeheres into predetermined structures, so chem/biochem is pretty applicable. However, most of their lab work is more physics based. For example, the way they measure their yields is they use a flourescent molecule on the end of the DNA strand, pass light through the solution and measure the amount of light the DNA gives off to determine how much of the DNA is correctly binding to their microspeheres.
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