How hard is it to choose a single science?

In summary: That is a pointless comparison. It is sometimes said that von Humboldt was the last polymath but even he had to spent a LOT of time just keeping up with the latest developments; the only reason he -allegedly- was able to do so is because he died (1860?)before the advent of modern science.I don't think that is a fair comparison. Von Humboldt was able to do a lot of things because he was interested in a lot of different things.
  • #1
Grands
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Hi guys.
My question is about science.
If scientists, or people that want to became scientists, have to choose and only one field of science, like physics, chemistry, biology, math, etc...there isn't the risk of limitate themselves?
I mean, you know, every science field is very wide, and time is never enough, but we know that all the good scientist are curious of the nature, so it is good for them to be a specialist in a single field?

In the past, smart people like Leonardo da Vinci ( who was also a great engineer and an artist) and Galileo, were involved in many fields, while today we then to focalize only on one field, this can't be a limitation?
I know that this is happening because today every field is very wide and every day new thing are discovered, but I still think that is not good to choose an only subject to study.

Maybe this is because in the past people didn't care about money or board, or about that they have to buy a house and have a family, so they just do that.
 
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  • #2
My father is a physicists.
When I asked him what he studied at uni he said: "All of math and all of physics, all of them". It really depends on the fields you like to choose: if you want to be a chemist, for example, it is good to study math, physics and chemistry.

Try to limit down your interests but not your studies. If you like biology then going with both chemistry and biology is not a bad idea.

Grands said:
In the past, smart people like Leonardo da Vinci ( who was also a great engineer and an artist) and Galileo, were involved in many fields, while today we then to focalize only on one field, this can't be a limitation?

We need to focus on a particular field, because all the basics have already been discovered and it is necessary to go in depth for more.

Grands said:
every day new thing are discovered

Not really.

Grands said:
but I still think that is not good to choose an only subject to study.

Definitely
Not only it helps with your focus area, it also expands your knowledge and brain capabilities. Always good to learn different things maybe also have different subjects to study. If you like geography and physics then go with both. Knowing many things from a broad spectrum of subjects never does any harm.
 
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  • #3
ISamson said:
Try to limit down your interests but not your studies. If you like biology then going with both chemistry and biology is not a bad idea.
What a general question, it was not about me, or maybe not only about me.
 
  • #4
Grands said:
What a general question, it was not about me, or maybe not only about me.

I'm sorry, what are you trying to say here?
 
  • #5
ISamson said:
I'm sorry, what are you trying to say here?
It was a general question, about the scientists of our day have to join a single field of science, compared to the scientists of the past.
 
  • #6
Grands said:
It was a general question, about the scientists of our day have to join a single field of science, compared to the scientists of the past.
That is very narrow-minded thinking, and too self-limiting.

Attend university for undergraduate degree in Physics - the program WILL require other sciences courses beside just those of Physics.

Attend a university for undergraduate degree in Biology - the program WILL require science courses other than just Biology.
 
  • #7
symbolipoint said:
Attend a university for undergraduate degree in Biology - the program WILL require science courses other than just Biology.
Yes, but it's only an exam, like basic math, that is simili or easier that the ones of the best high schools.
 
  • #8
Grands said:
It was a general question, about the scientists of our day have to join a single field of science, compared to the scientists of the past.

That is a pointless comparison. It is sometimes said that von Humboldt was the last polymath but even he had to spent a LOT of time just keeping up with the latest developments; the only reason he -allegedly- was able to do so is because he died (1860?)before the advent of modern science.
In order to be able to create something new you need to understand what has already been done. By now there is so much information out there that not only do you have to choose a particular science, but also (most likely) a sub-field of a sub-field to work in. Even keeping up with the most recent literature in a particular area takes a LOT of time and the number of scientific papers being published every day keeps increasing. I could easily spend 100% of my time reading papers that could -potentially- be relevant to my work so -like everyone else- I have to prioritize.

Note. however, that these days many research fields include areas that traditionally would have been considered different sciences. On my (messy) desk I currently have papers on physics(superconducting quantum circuits, topological insulators etc), chemistry (surface chemistry), electron spin resonance, microwave engineering and nanomagnetism; all related to projects I am currently working on. This would be true for pretty much every working scientist.
 
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  • #9
Grands said:
Yes, but it's only an exam, like basic math, that is simili or easier that the ones of the best high schools.
Complete nonsense everywhere in the world.
 
  • #10
symbolipoint said:
Complete nonsense everywhere in the world.
I was speaking the level of math in the biology degree.
 
  • #11
Grands said:
Yes, but it's only an exam, like basic math, that is simili or easier that the ones of the best high schools.
symbolipoint said:
Complete nonsense everywhere in the world.
Grands said:
I was speaking the level of math in the biology degree.
You were speaking about fields of Sciences.
 
  • #12
Math is not a science ?
 
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  • #13
Grands said:
Math is not a science ?

I think it is.
 
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  • #14
ISamson said:
I think it is.
It was a rhetorical question.
 
  • #16
Grands said:
Math is not a science ?
ISamson said:
I think it is.
Grands said:
It was a rhetorical question.
ISamson said:
Grands said:
I was speaking the level of math in the biology degree.
symbolipoint said:
You were speaking about fields of Sciences.
Explain now why this topic was started as How hard is to choose a single science? Explain how post #1 discussing choices of sciences is really Mathematics but not science?
 
  • #17
To answer the OP, I think you must know yourself well enough to know what you want to go on with. Which subjects do you like? Any hobbies? Topics?
(@Grands).
 
  • #18
An illustrated explanation: http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/

Also relevant:
phd081508s.gif

http://phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1056
 

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  • #19
Do you mean that more you discover more you understand that you know very few things?
 
  • #20
the-illustrated-guide-to-a-phd1.jpg
 

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  • #21
Grands said:
Do you mean that more you discover more you understand that you know very few things?
If donpacino's post #20 does not convey the meaning, then nothing will.
 
  • #22
I don't understand the penultimate picture.
 

Related to How hard is it to choose a single science?

1. How do I choose a single science to study?

Choosing a single science to study can be a difficult decision, but it ultimately depends on your interests and career goals. Consider the subjects that you have enjoyed in the past and the career path you would like to pursue. You can also talk to professors or professionals in the field to gain more insight into different scientific disciplines.

2. What are the factors to consider when choosing a single science?

Some factors to consider when choosing a single science include your interests, career goals, job availability, and the level of challenge you are willing to take on. It is also important to assess your strengths and weaknesses in different subjects to determine which science you may excel in.

3. Is it better to specialize in one science or have a broad knowledge of multiple sciences?

It depends on your career goals and personal preferences. Specializing in one science allows you to become an expert in that field and may lead to more job opportunities in that specific area. On the other hand, having a broad knowledge of multiple sciences can be beneficial for interdisciplinary research and can open up diverse career paths.

4. Are certain sciences harder to study than others?

Each science has its own level of difficulty and requires different skills and knowledge. Some may find certain sciences, like physics or chemistry, more challenging due to complex mathematical concepts, while others may struggle with biological sciences that require extensive memorization. It ultimately depends on your individual strengths and interests.

5. Can I switch to a different science after choosing one to study?

Yes, it is possible to switch to a different science after choosing one to study. However, it may require additional coursework and time to catch up with the new discipline. It is important to carefully consider your decision and consult with academic advisors before making a switch.

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