For physicists, what area do you specialize in (revamped)

(For physics PhD students, postdocs, and faculty only) What area of physics do you specialize in?

  • atomic, molecular, and optical physics

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • astrophysics

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • biological physics

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • chemical physics

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • computational physics

    Votes: 4 26.7%
  • condensed matter physics

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • fluid dynamics

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • gravitational physics

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • laser science

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • materials physics

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • nuclear physics

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • particles and fields

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • physics of beams

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • plasma physics

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • polymer physics

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • medical physics

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • Other areas of physics

    Votes: 4 26.7%

  • Total voters
    15
  • Poll closed .
  • #1
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi everyone! I had previously posted this poll question before, but I realized (after much feedback from you) that I had not appropriately asked the various research areas/divisions of physics, so I decided to post this new poll question, asking what area of research you specialize in.

Please note the following:

1. The categories listed in the question was taken directly from the APS website: (http://www.aps.org/membership/units/index.cfm), based on feedback from ZapperZ, among others in my previous poll attempt. If none of the research areas match what you specialized in, please click "Other areas of physics".

2. Please note that you can click multiple options if you have worked in more than one area of physics research.

3. As earlier, my question is directed to current physics students, postdocs, or faculty members. You can also answer if you have completed a physics PhD in physics, but ended up working either in a related area or outside of physics altogether (in which case click which research area of physics you specialized in your PhD research).
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
StatGuy2000
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I just took a look at the results of the poll thus far. While it is still very early (it's just over a day since I posted this thread), I'm surprised that at this stage that no one here on PF has reported to be working in condensed matter physics, given the size and importance of this field in physics departments.
 
  • #3
Ygggdrasil
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Technically, biophysics is condensed matter physics.
 
  • #4
f95toli
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I just took a look at the results of the poll thus far. While it is still very early (it's just over a day since I posted this thread), I'm surprised that at this stage that no one here on PF has reported to be working in condensed matter physics, given the size and importance of this field in physics departments.
I suspect it is partly because it is such a huge field. In reality it is divided into lots of sub-topic and people who work in those research areas rarely think of themselves as condensed matter physicists. Someone studying mechanical properties of grain boundaries in steel using TEM won't have much in common with someone specializing in say electrical measurements of superconducting qubits (which probably falls under device physics); not to mention the difference between theoretical and experimental work
Much of what I do probably falls under the "condensed matter" category, but certainly do not think of myself as working in that field.

Physics has become so specialized that broad categories like condensed matter are no longer very useful.
 
  • #5
1,047
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Cool poll. I hope everyone eligible participates .
 
  • #6
ZapperZ
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I just took a look at the results of the poll thus far. While it is still very early (it's just over a day since I posted this thread), I'm surprised that at this stage that no one here on PF has reported to be working in condensed matter physics, given the size and importance of this field in physics departments.
Just because you don't detect it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There's a strong possibility that they are not aware of your poll, and/or they do not wish to participate.

Zz.
 
  • #7
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
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Just because you don't detect it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. There's a strong possibility that they are not aware of your poll, and/or they do not wish to participate.

Zz.
That's a fair point, although that would beg the question of why condensed matter physicists on PF would be less likely to be aware of my poll and/or wish to participate, in comparison to other specialties in physics.

I find f95toli's reply to be interesting -- perhaps "condensed matter physics" is comparatively more broad a category in comparison to other areas of physics?
 
  • #8
f95toli
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I find f95toli's reply to be interesting -- perhaps "condensed matter physics" is comparatively more broad a category in comparison to other areas of physics?
That would most certainly be the case; the wast majority of all physicists (80%?) work in areas related to condensed matter so it is hardly surprising that there are very distinct sub-categories.
I am not even quite sure if there a definition of condensed matter physics. Why are polymer physics and material physics NOT part of the condensed matter physics? whereas device physics (usually) is?
 
  • #9
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
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Hi everyone. Thus far (i.e. on February 24, 2017), I've seen the following:

1. The highest number of votes thus far are atomic, molecular, and optical physics and "other areas of physics", each at 37.5% (3 votes).

2. The next highest number of votes are for biological physics, computational physics, and gravitational physics, each at 25% (2 votes). Please note that multiple votes are allowed, so the percentages will not add up to 100%.

Please note that the poll closes on April 22, 2017. So I would encourage more people on PF who are physicists (whether currently active or past) to vote!
 
Last edited:
  • #10
417
67
I specialize in the "teaching basic physics principles to friends" department, but it doesn't seem too appear as an option...
 
  • #11
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
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I specialize in the "teaching basic physics principles to friends" department, but it doesn't seem too appear as an option...
Do you have a PhD in physics? See #3 in my first post:

" As earlier, my question is directed to current physics students, postdocs, or faculty members. You can also answer if you have completed a physics PhD in physics, but ended up working either in a related area or outside of physics altogether (in which case click which research area of physics you specialized in your PhD research)."
 
  • #12
417
67
Do you have a PhD in physics? See #3 in my first post:

" As earlier, my question is directed to current physics students, postdocs, or faculty members. You can also answer if you have completed a physics PhD in physics, but ended up working either in a related area or outside of physics altogether (in which case click which research area of physics you specialized in your PhD research)."
Sorry I didn't see the part where it said I couldn't post at all...
 

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