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Education path for physics/eng/alternative energy

  1. Jun 27, 2006 #1
    This is a multilayer question, but I don’t know how ton break it into parts without them becoming irrelevant to my situation.

    I am a reentry student who is in my late 30’s. I decided to go into engineering, because I had always enjoyed solving problems. I want to focus on alternative energy as I would like to make a contribution. I am interested in emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, as it relates to alternative energy. (FWIW, I am also interested in art and music, as well as enjoying life to its fullest. My first degree attempt was in architecture, but I lacked the maturity and interest level to see it thru…so I spent many years working in a variety of careers. I have also considered myself a hobbyist inventor)

    While taking the lower division courses in the mech_eng. program at my community college, I discovered that I also really enjoyed the pratical aspects physics, as well as electromagnetism, chemistry, and mechanics. I am now considering engineering physics, or applied physics?

    So here are my questions:

    1. Can I get an opinion of the undergraduate degree that may best suit me, in as far as I have explained. (eng with physics minor vs. engineering physics vs. applied physics). With justification, if you please.

    2. What would be my considerations of major and level (MS or PhD) for graduate school in comparison to the last question?

    3. Am I correct in assuming that applied physics is actually experimental physics?

    4. What is experimental physics as opposed to theoretical physics?

    I realize that this question is tangential, but I want to make sure that I am understanding how physics types are defined. I like the idea of applying scientific principles to problems, and working to discover a solution, but im not sure if this is what applied physicist do?

    Thanks in advance for any and all input.
  2. jcsd
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