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Education guidance for a physics lover.

  1. Jul 29, 2012 #1
    hi, i just joined this forum *checks watch* 2 mins ago, and this is my first forum i have ever joined, so excuse me please if I don't know forum rules, or the "forum way of life". I got to this forum after looking things up related to physics and college. Anyway, I am a 10 standard kid, who lives in India, but was born in the US, so im kind of open minded. I like, bordering on love(if not for sooo many pesky exams) physics. Im one of the topper, if not the topper in physics, and do so without having studied at all(dumb I know, always get the 'you can get 100% if you actually studied and wasn't so lazy, funny thing, almost every teacher I have met has said this), I even thought my two friends physics, and they were doing pretty bad, until I thought them, pulling them up to the top 10 in the class. So as you can see obviously I figured Ill do physics in college. the problem? I am pretty bad at maths, atleast when the exams come around, because no matter how I feel about my paper, i always fail by a few marks(again I didn't study much, I really should start studying) so I wanted to know if physics is good for me. I do IGCSE in school, and have my 10th boards in november. So can you suggest some plan for me? like where should I go for college(prefer US, why? just because), what grades I would need, should I do MS or Phd, should I take general physics, or go into a particular section I like(ie particle physics) and what kind of job opportunities you get out of physics. also I am a noob at all this college stuff, so some help there would be nice too.
    Thanks in advance, if there is any mistake in my post( I am sure there is) please point it out.

    One last thing, I seem to like particle physics, but also have an interest in energy and automobile engineering(i am not a car know-it-all like some people, kind of like the aero-dynamics and fuel economy etc)

    Sorry for such a long post.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 29, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome! You can remedy that by clicking the Rules link at the top of any page here. :smile:

    To find out about the nifty features that you can use when posting, see the FAQ:

  4. Jul 29, 2012 #3
    whoops, guess you can see that im a newbie at this, lol!
  5. Jul 29, 2012 #4
    In reference to the job prospects for particle physics, it is nil for those who are not willing to study. Physics isn't about all the cool concepts that you hear about on tv, there is a lot of hard work in between. It isn't all fun and games, hard work is needed.

    What grades you need depends on what you are applying for.
  6. Jul 29, 2012 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    And it's not 100% even if you do everything "right," especially if you're into the theoretical rather than the experimental side of the field.

    At the point the OP is at, it's premature to commit to a specific sub-field of physics. Undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees are generally not specialised, they're just "physics" degrees. You don't specialise until you're in graduate school. So the OP has a few years to consider his choice.
  7. Jul 29, 2012 #6
    Absolutely, the statistics of theoretical particle physics job openings per year can attest to that.

    OP, what grade level are you in?

    If you are hoping to find a job in particle physics, your going to need to devote a large potion of your life to study. Unless you change in the next few years (depending on how old you are), your going to need to reassess your field of study.
  8. Jul 30, 2012 #7
    yeah, thanks for the replies. I am in the 10th grade, writing my boards in november, I know I have a long way to go, but I am getting kind of nervous if i should commit to physics once in college, as I don't know what I can do for a job. and I prefer certain physics, atleast at my level of education. for example, I don't think I can become an engineer, as I'm not great at maths, and also because I'm not good with electronics and building things. From what I know, I find all physics to be fun and interesting, with a slight lean over to theoretical physics, as I find a certain thrill in thinking about things yet to be discovered, also if it makes any difference, I believe I have some business smarts, and I have heard physics majors are sometimes hired in business. Really, all I want is to know form other peoples experience what taking physics is like, and if I should pursue it, or keep my options open. If perhaps, someone has done a college degree and then specialized in a certain physics section, you could explain how it was, so I can get a better idea. I don't really want to take physics, then find out its nothing like what I thought it was, and have to start over again(I am a bad decision maker, starting over could take years lol)
  9. Jul 30, 2012 #8
    You're not going into engineering because you're not good in math?? But theoretical physics is fine?? You should know that physics (and theoretical physics in particular) is very heavy on math as well. It is at least as math-heavy as engineering.
    If you're not good in math, then physics is not for you. Then again, if you're not good in math, then you can practice it and become better.
  10. Jul 30, 2012 #9
    sorry, my maths itself isnt bad, it kind of complicated. I used to love maths, still do to an extent, but nowadays, I can never do well in a math exam, even though I am quite good out of class, some of this may have to do with me not studying, and missing alot of portions, but I feel that engineering, or at least the typical indian one where you need great maths scores won't work for me. I am not one of those people who can make some robot out of nothing. I feel like I am one of those people who likes to think about anything in general, just in my case more towards physics things, ie energy. Sometimes I look at car and think that maybe the design could have been more aerodynamic, things like that. So maybe I shouldn't become a physics major, but maybe someone would know a career where I can do things like that?
  11. Jul 30, 2012 #10
    To be honest, if you're not serious about studying for your classes, then don't bother going to college.

    You're obviously smart. And you would be able to ace map if you studied for it. But you're not willing to put in the effort. That is very bad.

    If you're not going to put in the effort, then you will fail in college. People who succeed in college aren't the smartest kids, but usually the kids who work hardest.

    Whatever you do, physics or engineering, you won't make it if you don't study. So you better change your bad habits now.
  12. Jul 30, 2012 #11
    yeah, I know my not studying is bad, I just can't really study like some people can. I do study, like with my friends and with tuition, but I just can't sit down for 2 hours or whatever and study. I don't do as well in my maths now, as my maths sir marks me really tough to prepare me for my boards. But my real question is, If i put in the work, would physics be good for me, and if so what type? or do types not matter until much later in my life?
  13. Jul 30, 2012 #12
    You better learn to do that. You'll have to sit down and study for much longer than 2 hours in college.
  14. Jul 30, 2012 #13
    god, you sound like my aunt! Im working on it, I can do the study thing, just need to really put my mind to it. I Normally do all-nighters (at least 10hours), albeit with my friends. If you noticed my edit to my question, do have any ideas? thanks for your replies, and strong words. lol, I really should start learning to study for a couple of hours by myself.
  15. Jul 30, 2012 #14
    First, stop saying I'm not good at this and I'm not good at that. Your still 10 years old. Remember what I said about hard work? It takes time and effort and you still have a long way to go.

    If your not too fond of mathematics, you can try experimental physics, you won't need as much math( albeit you will still need a fair amount); but you will still need to be good with hardware for experiment. Now with that said, your only 10 and you have a long way to pick up the skills you need in experimental physics. People aren't born out of their mom's womb reciting Einstein's equations, doing abstract algebra in their head, or building complex circuits.

    Time, time is your best friend and worst enemy. Get acquainted with it.
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