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!

Engineering vs physics

  1. Oct 20, 2013 #1
    Right from my high school i was very interested in maths and physics, and i want to be scientist in the field of quantum mechanics, particle physics.

    I took mechanical engineering at my college since it has wide application but here I'm not learning the m uch fundamentals of physics such as quantum mechanics, lagrangian and hamiltonainan mechanics only newtonian then we focus into solid, fluid dynamics.the engineering focus on concepts to build or explain something, but never focuses on concepts.

    My plan before was like after doing mechanical engineering, i can do nuclear engineer at post graduate level and start out my career as scientist in sub atomic level

    I like to build something like engineers do but i love to find out the reason being every physical law and always i wanted to answers the question why it it? How it is?

    So if I'm asked to build something for commercial purpose like engineers do I'm least bothered, because i wanna find something new about at very small scale like Einstein and other scientist found out theories.

    So should i quit engineering and study physics or else while studying engineering itself may i study subjects like classical, quantum mechanics and electrodynamics, quantum feild theory, etc.....

    I want to understand the fundamentals and apply engineering concepts to find out new thing about fundamentals.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    As a poster said on another PF forum, you don't need quantum mechanics or special relativity to design a bridge or a piston engine. The job of the ME is to apply physical principles to design things, and for most things, even rocket science, that means Newtonian mechanics is sufficient to the task at hand.

    Now, if your desire is not to design widgets but to study leading edge physics, then a change in major would be indicated.
  4. Oct 21, 2013 #3
    It seems that your focus is on the fundamentals in that case you should stick to science. The question I'd like to ask is: would you find it exciting to build anything an engineer builds? like cars, boats, or airplanes? Or would you rather do an experiment to explore the nature of gravity, photons, and dark matter?

    For me I just find the second category more interesting.
  5. Oct 21, 2013 #4
    It boils down to if you want to build or experiment. If you want to build and design do engineering. If you want to experiment and discover new theories, physics
  6. Oct 21, 2013 #5
    I always wanted to do experiments but after finishing my mechanical engineering and if i did my pg in nuclear engineering then i would be doing experiments in nucleus, quantum effect, photon as same as a particle physician do so I can proceed with it nah?
  7. Oct 21, 2013 #6
    That's actually not the case. In fact you won't see much of any of that stuff. You will study the nucleus because that's after all where we get nuclear energy from. Quantum mechanics. No
  8. Oct 21, 2013 #7


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    A 'physician' is a medical doctor. A 'particle physicist' is someone who fiddles with subatomic particles.
  9. Oct 24, 2013 #8
    You should do some research on physics, including the math of it to see if you really want to be a physicist. In my experience if people have to talk you into doing physics you generally don't like it. I prefer physics as its exciting. If you want to learn about hows the universe works, rip the mask off nature and stare at the face of god become a physicist, if you want to know hoe a blender works become an engineer. If you are interested in both then I recommend studying physics and doing engineering as a hobby.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook