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Cosmology - Is it a smart choice?

  1. Sep 8, 2015 #1
    I am interested in studying cosmology or physics during university (as an Australian) and hope that this can lead on to a job further involving cosmology. What are the chances of actually succeeding with this endeavor and is there any chance of employment as an Australian?
     
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  3. Sep 8, 2015 #2

    e.bar.goum

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    Australia has some pretty great universities for Astronomy/Astrophysics/Cosmology (ANU followed by Swinburne are the top ones, but UQ and such have astro departments), and is certainly home to some fairly heavy hitters in Cosmology, and participates in a bunch of international collaborations, e.g. DES/OSDES. We're also home to some nice instruments - 2df, skymapper, Parkes. I don't think being Australian puts you at any disadvantage for Astro/Cosmo compared to anywhere else. However as an Australian, you should expect to travel overseas to complete postdocs if you want to make a career. If you have commitments requiring you to stay in country, you will be at a disadvantage (this is general advice, not limited to Cosmology - it applies equally to a physics career). Cosmology is very much an international discipline.

    ETA: However saying that being Australian doesn't put you at a particular disadvantage in Cosmology doesn't mean that it's an easy career choice. It's a hard and competitive field.
     
  4. Sep 8, 2015 #3
    Thank you, It's really helpful to know that I'm at no disadvantage by being in Australia, although if I did plan on being employed in this particular region of science would this mean I would almost certainly have to move permanently move to another country such as America for example? Also would you happen to be able to explain in depth, the amount of work and difficulty that goes with studying cosmology?
     
  5. Sep 8, 2015 #4

    e.bar.goum

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    I think anyone in academia should be prepared to move temporarily or permanently to wherever the job is, if they want a career. If the job is in the US, then sure. You should know that there aren't very many cosmologists in the world. Estimates of the number of all astronomers in the world hovers around 10000, I don't know how many cosmologists there are, but far fewer than 1000, I'd guess. That's not a lot of people.

    Also, here's a list of the astro departments in the country. You should aim to do undergrad at one of the universities mentioned here. Personally, I traveled across the country for undergrad, partly because of the reputation of my undergrad institution for astro. http://astronomy.org.au/professional/research-organisations/groups/ and http://astronomy.org.au/education/higher-ed/

    I can't explain in depth the work and difficulty into becoming a cosmologist, because I'm not one! I was heading that way until 3rd year of undergrad, before I realised that doing cosmology/astro is far different from studying cosmology/astro, and I was much more interested in doing physics.

    But, here's a quick run down of a typical plan in Australia: Get a good university entrance score (whatever the acronym is for your state), get into a good BSc program, major in physics and astrophysics, if there is a astro major, or physics and something else relevant (mathematics, computational science, theoretical physics, double physics major, chemistry ... something). During undergrad, do research projects in physics/cosmology/astronomy. If the university doesn't offer undergrad research in these fields, go elsewhere (most do.). Do a diverse range of projects. This is where you will find out whether or not you like research at all. Do some summer internships. Places like CSIRO and AAO and many universities offer them. Get into honours. Do honours in astrophysics or cosmology (or physics or mathematics, it doesn't matter awfully much, but doing one in astro/cosmo is better). Get first class honours, so you can get a PhD scholarship (APA). Apply for a PhD with a cosmologist, and do a cosmology PhD!

    ETA: Look at this! http://astronomy.org.au/professional/research-areas/galaxies-and-cosmology/
     
  6. Sep 9, 2015 #5

    Chronos

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    It's all about you, if you want to play pro soccer, then you have an idea how hard it is to become a professional astronomer. The competition is stiff, and the tests are very demanding, but, if you have the skill sets you can succeed. It begins with motivation and dedication to achieve your objectives. Even if you fail you will still acquire skills that will serve you well in your future.
     
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