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Have anybody here had a Phd in a science and is currently working in the energy field

  1. Sep 7, 2012 #1
    What's Your Advice?

    Hey all.
    Ill be graduating HS this winter and was deciding what to major in.

    Obviously engineering and pharmacy are my parents first choice when they start suggesting majors. I would say my mom leans more towards pharmacy.

    Anyway I wanted to create this post for a long time. I was wondering if you guys could help me descide a major.

    Personally I hate biology with a passion. My main interests are in energy and math (trig the most):
    We started learning about energy last year, since then physics has been my most favorite courses. ( Before it was math but I guess chem and phys are greater)

    Learning about kinetic energy, thermal energy, mechanical, potentiel, wind, solar, ect... just make me excited.

    I also have this instinct of proving a scientific formula or theorem false sometimes also to my classmates.
    Some say I should major in a science field rather than engineering which I agree mostly. I am an INTP after all and the applied version of science just seems unecessary to me.

    The problem is that my wrirting skills suck! (Proof's above ) and if I wanted to go into science and am willing to go to graduate school, all the publishments and stuff just feel like overwhelming.

    And I know that I'm just in HS and I may change my mind but I just want to have a general idea.

    Have anybody here had a Phd in a science and is currently working in the energy field?

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2012 #2
    Re: What's Your Advice?

    I got a Ph.D. in astrophysics and ended up working for a major oil company for several years. My big advice is don't try to plan everything out. Go to college, try lots of different things, and sometimes your path is going to be determined by "random events."

    In my case, I had no idea that I was going to work in energy until I started looking for jobs after I got my Ph.D. and an oil company offered me one. The reason I got the job was that I had a ton of experience in Fortran, and they needed a Fortran programmer to deal with some software that was written in the 1970's.
  4. Sep 9, 2012 #3
    Re: Have anybody here had a Phd in a science and is currently working in the energy f

    Thanks a lot twofish-quant. Everybody keeps telling me I shouldn't plan everything ahead. Guess I should take the advice.
  5. Sep 10, 2012 #4


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    Gold Member

    Re: Have anybody here had a Phd in a science and is currently working in the energy f

    Actually you need to plan ahead, but you need to be flexible on your plans
  6. Oct 6, 2012 #5
    Re: What's Your Advice?

    Hi and sorry for the delayed response,

    I do - but my career path was not straightforward: PhD in applied physics, career in IT, go for another MSc in energy engineering. I have just started to work as a Consulting Engineer in renewable energies, focussing on heat pumps. I am from Europe - in my country you can become something like a Prof. Eng. in whatever technical field you have majored in. What I am doing now is not directly related to my PhD research - I actually have turned into an engineer by self-study (and working hands-on on projects of my own!) and pursuing the engineering master's programme.

    If you are interested in a particular sector of the energy industry, there is most likely a particular engineering discipline that would suit you better than physics. E.g. wind or hydro power or --> mechanical engineering, smart grid --> electrical eng., oil --> petroleum eng.

    Typical physicists' job are e.g. related to the optimization of solar cells, but this basically means you need to specialize in thin films and sell yourself as an expert on thin films or as a materials scientist, not as "a physicist". I have selected this example because I did work on superconducting thin films and working on solar cells or semiconductors would have been a viable option for me.

    I have come across a few jobs that would really appeal to the infamous analytical and problem-solving skills, recently I have seen an ad of a consulting company which works on modelling the behavior of electrical power grids, and they explicitly asked for physicists. But ads like these are very rare: Typically companies search for "candidates with a degree in (some specific kind of) engineering or related degrees such as physics and...".
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