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Computational Fluid Dynamics in Physics Graduate School

  1. Oct 31, 2014 #1
    I want to go to physics grad school, but I also want to be ready to go to into CFD for industry if academia doesn't pan out - what area of physics would prepare me best for that?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2014 #2
    Go to graduate school in engineering and study CFD there.
  4. Oct 31, 2014 #3
    Plasma and Astrophysics would make use of CFD.
  5. Oct 31, 2014 #4
    Dr. D, I want to go to physics grad school because I want to try my hand at academia - or would I not get CFD experience there?

    Cool! I'm interested in astro - do you know which subfield I should be looking at if I want extensive experience with simulation/theory? From the physics side i'm interested in general relativity - is there a field combining CFD/GR? That would be ideal =)

    Also, the only astro class I've taken is GR, will that hurt in grad admissions to astrophysics programs? I'm a math/physics double major.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  6. Oct 31, 2014 #5
    I rather suspect you will not be able to have it both ways. Look at your last post and the quotes there. You have had two pretty good suggestions for work in CFD within physics, but they are pretty remote from any industrial applications of CFD. No doubt the same principles apply in both places, but the practice and the applications will be quite different. If I were looking to hire someone for industrial CFD work, I doubt that I would have much interest in someone who had a PHD in plasma physics or astrophysics.
  7. Nov 1, 2014 #6
    Dr. D, thank you for elaborating on your reply.

    Would you have any additional interest if they came from an applied mathematics PhD? Or would you strictly prefer an engineering PhD? And what chance would a physics/math double major who's taken 0 engineering classes have at getting into a good engineering PhD program?
  8. Nov 1, 2014 #7
    I'm not an astrophysicist, but people I know who've worked in astrophysical simulation did CFD related to plasma falling into black holes, but there's loads more topics out there. I know numerical simulations of general relativity are a big thing in the astrophysics world.
  9. Nov 1, 2014 #8
    If I wanted to hire someone to do say, CFD on flow in an IC engine manifold, where would I look? I might hire someone with a strong background in gardening (if he somehow convinced me that he could do the work and wanted to do it), but it is not likely. I'd probably look for some one with an ME PhD in thermo/fluids who had done CFD research. Nothing you do will 100% exclude you from the job market, but that's not really the question, is it? I would think you would want to know what to do to maximize your prospects, not what to do to assure they are not exactly zero.

    If a physics/math major were to apply for an engineering PhD program, they might very well be admitted, but subject to the condition that they take a prescribed list of undergraduate engineering courses as prerequisites. Without that, you would be absolutely destroyed on the qualifying exam.

    When I was in graduate school (back before the last ice age), one of my class mates in an Advanced Dynamics class was a young woman who had a math degree but wanted to do work in Acoustics which was in the ME department. I know she was a good student, but I don't know if she ever made it through.
  10. Nov 1, 2014 #9
    Ah! I know what I'm going to spend my weekend looking at =) thanks.

    Thanks Dr.D! Well, I do come from a place where I was originally worried of having almost exactly zero job prospects. I understand that job prospects will look better coming from a ME PhD, but right now I'm still trying to find a field in physics that both interests me and has relatively good non-academia prospects.
  11. Nov 2, 2014 #10
    Good luck!! You only need one career at a time.
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