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Degrees needed to be a warfare physicist

  1. Jun 2, 2009 #1
    What degrees do I need to be a warfare physicist. I know I need a Ph.D. in physics. What else do you need? Do need anything in Chemistry? Do I need something in math too? Please give all the details you can think of about my career. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2009 #2


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    What do you mean by "warfare physicist"? I've never heard of that job title.
  4. Jun 2, 2009 #3
    I mean by like a physicist who specializes themselves in war. For example, inventing guns or anything that is used in war. A warfare physicist also studies nuclear physics and related type physics.

    If you can't find anything to tell me about warfare physicists. Can you tell what degrees do you need in order to become a nuclear physicist?
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  5. Jun 2, 2009 #4
    A PhD degree, or 300 degrees of Kelvin, if that is the temperature of your working cold fusion reactor.
  6. Jun 2, 2009 #5
    What are you talking about? When I typed "degrees" I mean like Master's or Bachelor's degree not like temperature.
  7. Jun 2, 2009 #6
    Just a silly joke, sorry.
  8. Jun 2, 2009 #7
    Do you also need a degree in chemistry?
  9. Jun 3, 2009 #8
    Based on experience, you would excel if supplimented with some amount of training in the theatrical arts, psychology of illusion, and business managment. This is government money you would be gleening, correct? If so, the import of such peripheral training is on target, and of competing import to any sort of honest study. Consider a dual major in the arts and 'humanities' as they call them.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  10. Jun 3, 2009 #9


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    Welcome to the PF, Petenerd. Based on your previous post history, I'm guessing that you are in high school, and looking ahead to what to study in college. Your best bet right now is not to worry so much about the details of multiple majors and what post-graduate programs to be looking for. Your best bet right now is to do well in your math and science classes, and do some projects on the side to build up some things to use your school knowledge in creative ways. The other things will follow in natural course. You can have an initial goal of entering university in a technical track, like physics or engineering (at many schools, the first two years are very similar for those two BS tracks), and decide about your undergrad specialty after a couple years of classes. Then you can decidee about your graduate course of study based on your BS experience, and what you see as your initial career path.

    For now, just concentrate on understanding and doing well in math and science. The rest will follow pretty naturally. Have fun and work hard!
  11. Jun 5, 2009 #10

    Kelvin isn't measured in degrees.
  12. Jun 5, 2009 #11
    Hugh Everett was a theoretical physicist who heavily contributed to quantum theory and solid state physics. He's training as noted was "theoretical" in the sense that he had a solid foundation in many areas of physics and postulated new theories using physics and mathematics for new areas of research.

    He was the first to formulate the many worlds’ interpretation in quantum theory. His fellow peers and reviewers laughed at his idea. Thus, he went into the weapons industry. Specifically, The Institute of Defense Analysis where he worked in optimizing the lethality of weapon systems (Bear, 96). He did a tremendous amount of physics based research for military applications, including some military think tanks. A great majority of his work is still considered classified.

    In all honesty, I think he was a brilliant individual but to a certain extent I personally couldn't do research in weaponry that’s immediate action was destruction. He may have seen this line of work differently in the sense by increasing physical destruction may save lives in long run by demonstrating a force projection of an intense nature. IDK.
  13. Jun 5, 2009 #12
    Correct. I should have said 25 degrees C or 77 degrees F. Or, better yet, I should have said nothing at all since my attempt at humor was not appreciated. :smile:
  14. Jun 5, 2009 #13
    I appreciated your jesting. Yet perfectionists can sometimes mess up a joke.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2009
  15. Jun 5, 2009 #14


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    If you want to discuss politics, then do it in the politics forum rather than the academic guidance forum.
  16. Jun 5, 2009 #15
    Pete, as has been mentioned, there's no such career as "warfare physicist." The people who design guns (probably engineers or something) and the people who design nuclear weapons are in very different types of fields, and there aren't any physicists in the military whose expertise encompasses all of these things.

    If you want to design weapons, my guess is that an engineering degree might be your best bet, but I don't really know anything about engineering. If you're interested in physics and would like to make weapons and other cool destructive stuff for a living, you'll probably want to get a PhD in physics. The specific field doesn't matter all that much; it could be anything from condensed matter to astrophysics. In fact, one of the colloquium speakers at my department last year had a PhD in astrophysics, and did classified research on nuclear weapons at Los Alamos.

    Because of the whole test ban treaty thing, America doesn't actually make nuclear weapons anymore. However, the government does need physicists to maintain our aging supply of nuclear warheads, as well as to do simulations for the design of nuclear weapons. I'm no expert on employment opportunities, but based on what I've seen concerning physicists in the military, your best bet would be to major in physics and engineering in undergrad (the engineering degree is so that you're employable if you change your mind about physics), and then do a PhD in some area of physics that you find interesting.
  17. Jun 5, 2009 #16


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    Why anyone would want to specialize in warfare is beyond me. I think if you really wanted to help your country in this sense you should become a SEAL. They do a lot of missions that try and solve conflict in the most optimal way. I think anyone that wants to be involved in warfare should go through it in some way before they make up their mind to make weapons that in most cases need not be used.

    In accordance with Hurkyls post I won't get into political arguments herein though.
  18. Jun 6, 2009 #17
    Depends on what kind of warfare you're interested in. You could work on nuclear weapons or design airplanes. You could also work at developing new weapons systems involving rail guns, lasers, and even sonic weapons (or something rather mundane). There's no such thing as warfare physics, since just about any branch of physics that has applications has applications to war. Most of the people involved would be engineers, but they always have a few physicists.

    Think about what you'd like to do, then find out more about it. They don't always require a PhD, so make sure you check that out. Apart from physics, you'll want to be comfortable with math. Since you'll be designing things, learning some engineering would be a good idea. Choose your branch of engineering and other sciences depending on what you're interested in. However, keep in mind that you'll probably end up learning a large portion of what you need to know on the job.
  19. Jun 6, 2009 #18
    Good point Tibarn, they don't always require PhDs, and certainly not in physics. Again, all of the physicists I know in the military got there after doing academic work in graduate school. I'm guessing there are more direct routes for those who know they want to do military work for a living. Engineering is probably a good bet.
  20. Jun 6, 2009 #19
    Judging from your OP, I think you're asking the wrong question. You sound like you want to be involved in the design, testing, manufacture, deployment and/or operation of new weapons used by the military.

    If that's the case, your best bet is to try your damnedest to get into West Point (or your country's equivalent). Pursue a tract to get a commission as a Combat Systems Engineer (which is what it's called in Canada--might have a different name in the States). Get a Bachelors Degree in some relevant field of engineering or combat specialty, and then serve out your contractual term as a commissioned officer in the military as a CSE; afterward, if you're good enough, you can apply for postgraduate education at West Point (et. al), and advance your career further.

    Either that or sound out requirements to get hired at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or other big weapons-manufacturing firms.
  21. Jun 6, 2009 #20
    A degree in Aerospace Engineering would be useful for work in the defense industry.
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