Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics Computer Physics?

  1. Feb 24, 2010 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm currently in Grade 11, studying Mathematics B and Physics. I have not studied Physics before but find a great interest and determination to study and achieve well in the subject.

    I'm interested in getting a career in the computing industry, but perhaps, because I am studying Physics as well, is there some way I can use Physics for a job in the computing industry.

    Thank you very much!

    ~ Aaron
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2010 #2
    Hi, could you be a little more specific on your question? How much physics have you had, mechanics? EM? There's plenty of ways to use physics in computers, such as a computer engineer. We need a bit more information to give you a better answer!
  4. Feb 25, 2010 #3
    I haven't done any Physics at all, and at the very basics of learning it. I'm currently studying Physics in grade 11 looking at Nuclear Technology.

    Basically, I plan to keep studying Physics until end of grade 12 (2 Years of Physics).

  5. Feb 25, 2010 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    You could get into simulation jobs like say the entertainment industries (video games, movies, commercials etc).

    There is a lot of computational work that involves a physics knowledge base. There are simulation type jobs outside of "entertainment" where the importance of the accuracy of the simulation is a lot greater and is important in saving for example money for development of a new product or to optimize a specific design.

    There are a range of job titles that fit this description and i'm sure people that do this work could give you more information if they are reading.

    For entertainment for which I did a brief stint, understanding the math is more important than simply generating it from either copying code or tweaking things without really knowing whats going on. Writing physical simulators requires a lot of knowledge in numeric analysis, vector calculus, linear algebra, computer graphics and other fields where you are really implementing a lot of math and methods to do complicated simulations.

    While math and physics is a good degree I would probably also recommend strands of engineering heavy in math like electrical or mechanical. The applied nature of these strands makes them well suited to gaining the sorts of skills you need for these areas and gives you something good to fall back on. You could take a few math courses to fill in the gaps if they didn't offer it but you'll find that once you know for example vector calculus and linear algebra along with analysis (numeric and real) that things like NURBS and subdivision surfaces become more intuitive and understandable than without the math background.
  6. Feb 25, 2010 #5
    Yes. The jobs available depend on what you mean by 'computing industry'. If you mean 'a job using computers', then you'll find that there are hundreds of jobs using computers nowadays, many of which are open to physicists. Physicists are desirable employees for many industries because we're good at problem solving and modelling. Both of these attributes tie in nicely with things like programming and design.

    If you mean actually building or designing computers, then you might want to look at computer engineering or electrical engineering when the time comes to apply to university.
  7. Feb 25, 2010 #6
    My advice is to get a bit more exposure to physics and computers. See what its all about. While you may enjoy physics now, this is your first class, and your interests may change due to the fact that you are in Grade 11. I'm all for physics though! Once you're a little more grounded in what physics/computers is all about, you can explore those careers we have mentioned. Check online, check for interviews, etc. Ask questions in PF, we have lots of those people here.
  8. Feb 27, 2010 #7
    I liked Chiro's idea of simulation jobs such as video games, movies and stuff. Video games are a passion so working in that area of Computing whilst implying Physics at the same time.

    Thanks all for the help!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook