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Help With Cosmology Career

  1. Jun 10, 2006 #1
    Hi I'm new here, I found this forum while trying to plan my career in cosmology. So far to have a good career in this field you must have a Bachelor, a Masters, and a PhD. So far I know what college I'm going to go for my Bachelors, which is Angelo State University. I already have a four-year scholarship there. I'm going to double major in Physics and in Mathematics. I just need a push in a direction of what to take for my masters and to some recommended Colleges to get it. I also need a thorough explanation of what a PhD is. I know bits and pieces of what it is but I still need a reliable reference. Thanx for your help.

    I'm a sophomore going into my junior year in high school. Since summer began I thought I should start planning my future. :biggrin:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2006 #2


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    You're 15 and you're worrying about what university to get your PhD at?

    When I was 15 my biggest worries were my next baseball game and whether I could find the courage to ask out the cute girl sitting next to me in social studies class.

    Here I am 19 years old and going into my third year of an honours degree in Astronomy and still I have not spent too much time thinking about what I am going to do for grad school. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

    My advice? Live the life a little. Have fun. You are a kid. At 15 there is no point worrying about graduate school. There is no point worrying about anything.

    And are you sure you know what you want to do? Halfway through grade 11 I was sure that I wanted to get a degree in Archaeology from the University of Calgary with an eye on graduate studies in Paleontology. And obviously that is not even close to what I'm doing now.
  4. Jun 10, 2006 #3
    Actually I'm 16 :biggrin:, and yes I know it is a little weird to start so early. But the forums that I go to and all the stuff I read, I think it is best to start early and study ahead to make it into this limited field. And yes I am sure I want to be a cosmologist. I started my career search in the 6th grade and went from engineering to a doctor to a teacher and I even considered becoming an Astronaut. But after reviewing all the chances of me making it in a field and also my interests in them, I came to a conclusion that cosmology is the best field I want to get into. That is why I applied for that scholarship to Angelo State University in 8th grade (the scholarship is only for local 8th graders) because it has a good physics program. So if that answers your question of why I started so early can you please answer my primary questions? o:)
    Thank you.
  5. Jun 14, 2006 #4
    Ah, to be young again... :rolleyes: I was 11 when I decided I wanted to be an astronomer, astrophysicist or physicist.

    So far to have a good career in this field you must have a Bachelor, a Masters, and a PhD.

    With time I came to understand that these are not the only elements necessary for a career. Pure merit is often not enough, sometimes they mean nothing at all. :frown: Unfortunately I came to understand that the "social capital" is what matters most. :mad: If you don´t know what this means... well, never mind. Someday you will understand what I mean. Just enjoy life and your studies. Life is short, but we only realize that after we are more than 30 yo.... So you have plenty of time. Sorry for the pessimistic post (perhaps this is just a view from someone raised on an underdeveloped country, which apparently is not your case), I am sure others will help you on your specific questions more accordingly to your reality.

    Best wishes,
  6. Jun 14, 2006 #5
    Thanks for the reply. But can you explain what "social capital" means. Is it the reputation of the scientific community? Please Elaborate more. And why isn't the Degrees important even if it is from your point of view. I would like to have every posible views on the subject. Again thanx for your feedback.
  7. Jun 14, 2006 #6
    No, the degrees are very important, in fact you simply can't have a career in cosmology without a PhD. This is the minimum. In fact you will also have to work hard doing post-docs after that. Of course you will enjoy that time of your life if you really love to do research, and if you are doing your post-doc in excellent institutes. However, that will also be a time of your life when getting a more permanent job will start to be a very serious concern. To get the job, merit will not necessarily be the only answer. You have to know the "right people" and make yourself known in the community. That means having the ability to impress people in the right way. It is not necessarily the "scientific way". Merit is important, always, but not essential. Science careers seem to be more and more mostly based on sociological issues than truthful scientific ones. Science is a very social activity in fact, more than I really thought at the time I was as young as you are. A pity for those who do not have the ability to "play the game right". There are many many PhDs forming each year. There is no room for scientific research positions to all of them. The very good ones will most probably succeed, but not necessarily so. So, as I said, enjoy life and drive your career as your conscience requires. But do not build giant dreams along the way.:wink:

    Best wishes,
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