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Double Degree Ph.D in Nanothechnology and Astronomy?

  1. Feb 18, 2008 #1
    Is it even possible? (A double degree Ph.D in both fields)

    Both of them are pretty much related to physics...so I think it would be possible. Is there any other field, particularly in physics, that is better then nanotechnology with astronomy.

    I know that there are extensive research in nanotechnology stuff(and its quit an interesting field), so it seems like a good field. And astronomy is really a passion for me, so theres no doubt that I will be taking something aside that. But I have also some interest in other fields in physics, hence the reason why I would like to know if a double degree(preferably Ph.D) is possible.

    Also, it seems like a double degree is referred to a student working for two different university degrees in parallel, either at the same institution or at different institutions..That would mean that you *wont* be doing 30 years in university (15 years at least for 1 Ph.D.. multiply by 2 ^.^ )? Of course hard work is expected for this, right?

    What are your thoughts?

    And,um, what do you think of the following fields, *which one* seems to be actively researched (or *which ones*)?

    - Plasma physics
    - Optics
    - Optoelectronics
    - Materials physics
    - Geophysics
    - Communication physics

    Anything else you might want to add to the list?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2008 #2

    cristo

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    I don't really see the point in obtaining two PhDs (how can one be an expert in more than one thing?) You will definitely not be able to do two PhDs simultaneously... one is hard enough!!

    Anyway, I recall from the other threads that you are only young, so I would stop trying to think about all this now-- your interests will definitely change once you get through school and university!
     
  4. Feb 18, 2008 #3
    To be quit honest, I'm just trying to show my parents that theres more then A MD degree...They are so badly expecting me to be a doctor, and theres no hell way I can change my passion into my biology despite the amazing results I get from my exams...I just love physics..

    Also, I'm asking just out of curiosity...
     
  5. Feb 18, 2008 #4
    Ph.d is not much necessary in both fields. How about a simple master degree in 1 field? (However, I would personally prefer to pursue Ph.D in astronomy)...

    BTW, I don't really think my interest will change...I just can't see anything beside physics. I read numerous articles regarding many stuff (discoveries,research) and they all amaze me(they mostly are related with physics)... :)
     
  6. Feb 18, 2008 #5

    Tom Mattson

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    thinkies,

    It's funny you mention this, because I'm thinking about doing 2 PhD's starting next year. I've been researching supersymmetric quantum mechanics, and I would like to upgrade to supersymmetric quantum field theories. I plan on applying to the PhD program in Physics at one school, and in Applied Mathematics at another. If I get into both programs with funding (and I don't see why I wouldn't, my grades are good) then I am going to quit my job and throw myself into this.

    However, that said, I must say that the only reason this is going to work (I think) is that I believe I can extract two dissertations out of the same research program. My plan is to submit the mathematical results to the math dept, and the scientific results to the physics dept. With your choice of PhD programs, it won't be anything like that. Astronomy is too far from Nanotech for you to be able to give both programs your best shot.

    I don't see why you couldn't do them both eventually, but I think it will be impossible for you to do them both together. You'll burn out on both of them, and end up with no PhD at all.
     
  7. Feb 18, 2008 #6
    So what would be suitable with astronomy, other then nanotechnology....?
    Gosh, finally someone who is expecting 2 Ph.d's, I thought I was the only mental freak looking forward for 2 Ph.d degrees.... :)
     
  8. Feb 18, 2008 #7
    Also, hard work really isn't a problem, I am a very hard working guy and I usually manage to understand things pretty smoothly and quickly (I also manage to retain them in my head)...
     
  9. Feb 18, 2008 #8

    cristo

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    I admire your dedication, I really do, but I still advise you not to concentrate on one or two specific fields. Yes, there are lots and lots of interesting fields out there, but the reality is that you cannot possible study everything to PhD level; some time you have to make a decision. But, for now, I think you should enjoy the classes you're taking. There is no need to even tell your parents, if you think they are so against it, until you are further on through high school.
    Wow, best of luck to you, Tom! I couldn't imagine writing two theses simultaneously, however: that's gonna be pretty difficult!
     
  10. Feb 18, 2008 #9
    @ Cristo

    Ok, I'll take into consideration what you said. Thanks for the advice. But just out of curiosity, what are the fields (in physics)in which research is quit active...

    Do you know any field that may emerge in the near future as a competent research field (related with physics of course)?
     
  11. Feb 18, 2008 #10

    Tom Mattson

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    It's really impossible to say unless you've already picked out an area of astronomy. For instance, if you're interested in the chemistry of the Venetian atmosphere, then you might be able to do Astro and Chem. If you were interested in Origins of Life, then you might be able to do Astro and Bio, or even Astro and Chem. If you were interested in stellar physics, then you could do Astro and Physics.

    It doesn't matter. When you do a PhD, it's not like taking a bunch of advanced courses in which you pass by mastering the material (there is some of that in the first 2 years or so, but that's about it). What you'll be doing is working on a problem that has never been solved before. It will be extremely time consuming, and you will be expected to produce something every week, if not every day.
     
  12. Feb 18, 2008 #11
    @Tom Mattson

    Wow, that's quit scary: "you'll be doing is working on a problem that has never been solved before"...That would mean new concepts everyweek...so possibly I won't much find any help elsewhere or in any other books...just my pure brain? Are you truly gonna be applying for 2 Ph.D's? That seems very scary..still, hard work and dedication always overcome such obstacle (unless if it is something insane...)

    Hmm any thoughts regarding my post #9?
     
  13. Feb 18, 2008 #12

    cristo

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    Well, nanotechnology is a pretty new field, but it's pretty impossible to answer your question. There are many research fields out there. Why not google for the physics department of some universities and look at the research interests of the faculty there?
     
  14. Feb 18, 2008 #13
    Well, many universities are conducting research in fields such as Cosmology,Biological Physics,Nuclear Physics,Condensed matter,etc

    Seems like almost every single field in physics is being actively researched o.0...Although it seems theres not much of a research in astronomy, except in some western countries, for stuff regarding astronomy..it's not quit 'global'...
     
  15. Feb 18, 2008 #14
    Pretty much by necessity, astronomy is one of the most global scientific endeavors, with telescopes all around the world (probably in every country). If astronomy only existed in the West, only half the sky would be observed by ground-based telescopes, and astronomical events during the daylight in the West would be missed. Astronomy is an ancient profession and is quite universal (pardon the pun).
     
  16. Feb 18, 2008 #15
    Parents situation

    Sounds like my parent and my relatives wantign me to become a doctor. It's hard for them to respect and be satisfied that u got a Phd instead of an MD. When i told em i wanted to be a physicist, they said this and that, and soon enough they just really didn't care. Sure they're disappointed, and sure they want me to become a millionaire, but they can't do anything bout it!

    Go for what u love. You'll eventually get to the point where ucan't study somethign to satisfy other ppl. Theres nothign u can say or do to prove to them the PhD degree is just as worthwhile and satisfying than an MD.


    Btw, are ur parents asian? lol
     
  17. Feb 19, 2008 #16
    I agree with Cristo, your too young to be worrying about these things
     
  18. Feb 19, 2008 #17

    Tom Mattson

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    Thank you. :smile:

    A year and a half ago, I couldn't imagine it either. I got my MS in Physics in 1997, and I started an MS in Mathematics in 2006 (I'll finish this December). In the Spring of 2007 I did an independent study with a physicist who works in supersymmetric quantum mechanics. My plan was to finish the MS in Math, then go either to the Applied Math Dept at RPI, or the Physics Dept at SUNY Albany for a PhD. But then the more I got into the research, the more I saw that there were problems in both physics and applied mathematics in this project. So that's when I hatched my crazy scheme: Why not do both?

    I'm still preparing by taking a lot of mathematics. But the more I look into it, the more I believe I can do it. But like I said, this can only work because the two dissertations are going to come from the same reserach project. If they were as disparate as astronomy and nanotech, it would never work.
     
  19. Feb 19, 2008 #18

    JasonRox

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    I'm starting my Master's in September and even I am not thinking about it!
     
  20. Feb 19, 2008 #19
    Since you are starting your master's degree...You must have some particular field in which you will be doing your degree..?? I cant see how you got to master's without having at least 1 particular field in the head, right?
     
  21. Feb 19, 2008 #20

    cristo

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    Well, that doesn't sound so crazy any more-- if you can see a natural relationship between the two potential theses then it bodes well.

    You say that you intend to apply for funding for both-- the fact that you'll be sharing your time between the two may affect whether or not you'll get the funding more than your grades. Do you intend telling each department about the other, and about your simultaneous PhD plan?
     
  22. Feb 19, 2008 #21
    Everywhere I've seen, it's pretty much mandatory that if you want to do something like this that you get a detailed plan worked out and approved...

    Can't hurt to apply for funding from multiple sources and pick the one that pays best in the event more than one says yes. o:)
     
  23. Feb 19, 2008 #22

    Stingray

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    Tom,
    I'd be very surprised if any department allowed you to do what you're proposing. Have you checked? Even if it is possible, I don't see any point beyond bragging rights. A single Ph.D. program already allows you all the academic freedom you could want.
     
  24. Feb 19, 2008 #23
    Lots of places do, although it's more on the college level that rules governing it would exist.

    But I don't really see the point either.
     
  25. Feb 19, 2008 #24

    Moonbear

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    I agree...and just do a post-doc in the other related field if you don't think you can pick it up on your own after the first Ph.D. One degree in one field is already a full time commitment. If you are fully funded, you may not even be permitted to have another job, because they expect you will eat, breathe, and live your dissertation work.

    Tom, I'm not sure you'd be allowed to use the same research for two dissertations. I think most schools would expect that all the work you did for a research project should go into a single dissertation. You can cross disciplines and have co-advisors, but it's expected you'll produce one dissertation. You better check on what the rules are before you get your hopes up.

    As to the OP, if you're as young as others have alluded, give yourself time before figuring out what you want to do. I'm crushed you'd never consider biology :cry:...but also fully understand that an M.D. is NOT for everyone. On the other hand, what's new and exciting and a great topic for a Ph.D. now may be old hat by the time you get that far. Topics for studying for a Ph.D. are best decided upon later, when you're getting closer to finishing your undergraduate degree.

    If you're still in high school, don't even worry about what your parents think you're going to do. Your high school courses to get into college will be the same whether you go into biology or physics, and once you're in college, you can tell your parents for a while that you've heard physics majors are really attractive to med schools (it's not really a lie, you can get into med school with a physics major). And by the time you figure out what you really want to do, you'll be more independent and have your arguments all lined up, and it won't matter what they think anyway.
     
  26. Feb 19, 2008 #25

    Tom Mattson

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    Me too!

    Here's what I know: There is at least one professor in each department who is interested in what I'm doing and willing to take me on as a student (I've spoken with a few). They all know that I am applying to more than one school. I have not revealed my double-duty plan to any of them, but of course I will after being accepted by each department (assuming that happens, of course).

    Now, I'm going to test the waters this year as I work on my Master's thesis in Mathematics. I am going to study the mathematics of SUSY QM. If I can in parallel with that generate enough scientific predictions from the theory, then I am going to try to publish the mathematical findings in a math journal, and the scientific findings in a physics journal. If I can do that, then it will be the basis for my case when I present it to the two departments.

    The worst they can do is say no to my plan. So if I believe I can do it, and can show some tangible results, then I've got nothing to lose by asking and a lot to lose by not asking.

    No, I want more freedom than that. :biggrin: Upon completion of my research I would like to maximize my chances of employment doing the research that I want to do. With both degrees I would be eligible to apply to physics departments and to applied mathematics departments for employment.

    Currently I work at a community college, and there are several of us here (some full time, some part time) who are also fully funded PhD students at one of the two local universities. This is all out in the open and accepted. What I am proposing is that instead of doing a single PhD and keeping my community college job (which any advisor around here would be perfectly OK with), I would quit my job and live on the double stipend, and invest all of my time into this work. I could actually get it done faster if I didn't have to deal with teaching at the community college.

    We shall see. As I said above, I am going to try to work both ends of this project this year. If I can produce at least one article that is distinctly mathematical, and at least one that is distinctly scientific, then I will use that as the basis for my case when I present it to the two departments. My hopes won't be up until I've jumped over that hurdle anyway, so no need to be concerned about that just yet. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2008
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