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Do astrophysicists face the same massive competition

  1. Aug 11, 2008 #1

    I have a few questions regarding the astrophysicist profession. I have had an interest in the field for a long time. Do astrophysicists face the same massive competition for professorship that most physicists do? How is the job market overall for the profession What would be an example of research that a professor in the field would do?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2008 #2


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    Re: Astrophysics

    Yes, astronomers and astrophysicists are seeing the same job market as physicists, but it's a little tougher for two reasons: (1) there's really no astronomy industry, so to work in astronomy it's either university, national lab, or government and (2) physicists can work as astronomers, but astronomers are rarely hired as physicists. For that reason, I would suggest you do your PhD in physics, even if you do your work in astrophysics. That's what I'm doing. You'll have more job opportunities that way.

    As for research, astronomy is mainly observational, computational, and theoretical. It's hard to get by without knowing some of each - everyone who uses telescopes goes back to the computer to analyze the data and perhaps even model a system. Among observers, it's broken down into which bands you study - radio astronomer, observationalist (optical, near-infrared), x-ray astronomer, gamma ray astronomer - and then again by what you study in that area - solar physicist, planetary scientist, stellar astronomer, galactic astrophysicist, cosmologist - and then even more specific - young stars, cool stars, giant stars, spiral galaxies, early-type galaxies, black holes, radio galaxies, AGNs, GRBs, etc. There are tons of options, if you can find someone to fund you.
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