1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Divided between physics and chemistry

  1. Jan 2, 2015 #1
    They say one way to torture a person is to give them choices. I feel this is partly true in this case.

    I have a goal in mind for either one: if I do physics, I'll pursue nuclear physics/engineering but I go the chemistry route: I'll do biochemistry/forensic science. I've done a lot of research on both but can't choose. As far as mathematical/academic ability goes, I'd say I'm very well off. Math has always fascinated me, but I'd rather be able to apply all the geometry/trig/calculus I've learned.

    On the other hand, I've always had quite the reverence for our judicial system and the thought of analyzing evidence and presenting it sounds exciting, too. No, I do not watch CSI. Also, biotechnology/genetics research is apparently booming.

    It just seems like there is a lot more opportunity in physics, but more job security in a career like forensic science. The two careers seem to be quite different.

    Advice is much appreciated
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2015 #2
    PS: I do not want a career in academia
  4. Jan 2, 2015 #3
    May I ask your background in the areas you are interested in? If you have not entered college yet, you should decide after taking some of the introductory courses first. But according to what you have provided, chemistry sounds very fitting to you. Also, applied math is a great field in my opinion for forensic science or mathematical/computational biology. There is great research going on in my school in mathematical modeling to solve forensic/biological problems.

    It is true that opportunities in physics are vast, but somewhat shallow compared to more applied thus secure fields. I think the best thing you can get out of your physics degree is the intuition and perseverance to solve hard problems.
  5. Jan 2, 2015 #4
    Those sound interesting to me. Apparently the opportunities are vast: The school I am going to had one girl who got to intern in Switzerland for her physics degree, and that sounded like an amazing experience to me, considering I've never really been out of the state. Pretty sure she's at NASA now, although I cant say for certain. Perhaps I'd get to go assuming I get lucky enough.

    I know it sounds like a bit of a romantic pipe-dream, just discovering something that will be of great value to society is my primary motivating factors for my interest in these two fields.
  6. Jan 2, 2015 #5
    Chemical physics is a thing, U of Maryland for example has a pretty big program at the interplay between the two and seems to have a mix of things that'd be applicable to your interests: http://www.chemicalphysics.umd.edu/02_research.htm
  7. Jan 2, 2015 #6
    Find a balance between the two. There are interdisciplinary fields between the two; for instance, I'm doing biophysics, which lives somewhere in between physical chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and of course, physics.
  8. Jan 2, 2015 #7
    Have you looked at similar fields as well? Chemical Engineering involves both chemistry and physics.
  9. Jan 2, 2015 #8

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    OP, where are you in your academic career? Do you need to make a decision right now? Or can you take some more classes?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook