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Help me on my journey.

  1. Mar 17, 2010 #1
    As you may be able to tell from the title, I want to major in astrophysics. I'm only in sophomore year of high school right now, but I am trying to find the right way to get there. I don't know much about astrophysics, but I love the thought of what may be out there, or why it's all there in the first place. From me not knowing much, I have been looking around for things to read and resources to look up information. I can along this place, and thought it may be a good idea for me to post here, and talk among with the community, and maybe I could learn a little more along the way. I know I may seen like a teen who has no idea what he wants to do in life, but trust me, this is what I want to do most. So, if you wouldn't mind, welcome me in to these forums, and help me along my journey!

    Thank you so much for reading. If you have anything that you would suggest I do throughout the remainder of my high school career, and into college, please let me know.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2010 #2
    My passion for Astrophysics was started when I saw Saturn through a friend's telescope. Then I bought one myself, since then it has really helped me focus on wanting to do Astrophysics.
  4. Mar 18, 2010 #3
    First, there's nothing wrong with being "a teen who has no idea what he wants to do in life". At least from a little quick Googling, it seems that somewhere around 2/3 of undergraduates change their majors while in school (note: I don't know if this includes changes from "undecided" into something else). Don't feel like you have to pick a subject and stick to it no matter what, especially while you're still in high school.

    If you are considering Astrophysics, though, then you should just try and take as much math and physics as you can. I don't think a lot of schools offer undergraduate majors in astrophysics, so most likely you'll end up doing a physics major with either a concentration in astrophysics or a minor in astrophysics.

    Also, try reading some popular science books/magazines on the subject, even if they aren't very technical.
  5. Mar 18, 2010 #4
    Welcome to the forums, Deduce.

    Good advice for someone at your stage in the education system is to keep an open mind, work hard at everything you do - you never know which subject might become useful in the future, even if it isn't clear for the time being!

    I was in a position like yours: I had 'decided' what I wanted to do, and focussed much of my time and energy on this. Doing something like this is inadvisable, since it may cause your understanding in other areas to falter (though clearly it isn't something people set out to do intentionally, I only mention because it's worth taking care to avoid :smile:)

    I would get yourself some popular science books and maybe buy a magazine, something like New Scientist and see how you get on - there will be a lot of things that you won't understand but mainstream publications have at least some level of accessibility.

    And finally! People will always be here if you need help with anything.
  6. Mar 18, 2010 #5
    Sadly, I haven't even taken calculus, or even physics for that matter. This is what I need books on, something to explain it to me, or even just introduce it to me.

    I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but I'm only a sophomore. I know nothing about the subjects mentioned above. Sophomore, in case you didn't know, is the grade in America where generally 15-16 year olds are. I, myself, am 15.
  7. Mar 18, 2010 #6
    Just take as much math as humanly possible while in high school, like davesface says.
  8. Mar 19, 2010 #7
    I just finished schooling and i am in the same position as you are.
    Astrophysics or any subject may seem fascinating at first sight. however, don't pursue any subject without knowing what it is at greater depths.
    For eg, 3 years ago, my favourite subject was maths and i had decided that i will pursue a carrier in it. But later when i had to study my subjects in greater detail, i was more fascinated by physics, especially electrodynamics, than i was by mathematics.
    So i recommend that you go through standard books in astrophysics in your free time- not only the elementary ones meant for laymen, but also actual textbooks referred by astrophysics students, and then see if you find it interesting.
    Also , study all the related math topics like high school calculus and algebra beforehand.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  9. Mar 19, 2010 #8
    There wasn't any subjects mentioned that should be above your head? The recommendations were to head to the book store and pick up some normal, popular science books - these are written for the lay person. They are, of course, not a good representation of what life is like as a working scientist but can start to give you a flavour for the way in which science has progressed over the years.

    To learn actual science, I would stick to the courses that have been offered to you in high school for the moment. Once you've got an understanding of calculus and some more basic physics, you'll be able to have a bit more freedom in studying actual works.
  10. Mar 19, 2010 #9
    fasterthanjoao is quite right. spend most of ur time on your high school courses
  11. Mar 19, 2010 #10
    My school only offers physics to those who are in pre-calculus or higher. I'm only in Geometry right now.If I wanted to take Calculus in high school I would need to take both algebra 2, and Trig next year.

    I've been talking to my school counselor, and I'm trying to set up a tutor, or at least someone to introduce me to physics, and calculus.
  12. Mar 19, 2010 #11
    Don't worry too much about it. There's no immediate rush!
  13. Mar 19, 2010 #12
    I just got back from the book store, and managed to pick up a book that is a "Self-teaching Guide."

    I get some of it, but when it gets to where you have to reference back to the other equations, it gets a bit harder. Mostly because it doesn't explain it.
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