Physics How Is High Energy Physics as Career?

  1. Lot of people asking about the jobs and salary of Astrophysics and i have also asked before. Now i ask about high energy physics..What about salary at CERN and Fermilab ? and is it has more job opportunities than Astrophysics and theoritical physics at usa or europe?

    What do you say?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. It's funny, because HEP was in a terrible state career wise not long ago. With the LHC coming online everyone talked about how things would be better, and I thought it was reasonable.

    We were naive. The LHC has created huge demand for graduate students, but has increased the number of actual permanent positions by a very small number. So more people than ever are on the train to nowhere.

    A similar thing happened six or eight years ago, where the NIH had its budget doubled and yet permanent positions increased by around. . . zero. Why hire permanent positions that are really expensive when you can haul in graduate students who are cheap?

    I say that the top 3% of all students who study HEP - the ones who excel at ever level, the ones who attend the top schools, the ones who get the big-name advisors - will have excellent career prospects and lead fulfilling lives. If you aren't sure you're in that subset, look elsewhere, or at least have a great backup plan.
  4. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 30,743
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    Right now, with the current budget debacle in the US and UK, high energy physics does not look very attractive as a career. It wasn't that attractive before when compared to condensed matter/atomic/medical physics, but it is worse now.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  5. ZapperZ, what would your thoughts on the current career for HEP be? More attractive than 08? Less attractive than 08?
  6. I think it has a lot of POTENTIAL.............get it? :)
  7. was that stemming from sarcasm or were you serious?
  8. Grad student in high energy astro here. Question: if you're not doing condensed matter, then precisely what can you do with a PhD in physics outside of academia that still involves doing physics? Because I really don't want to become a quant on Wall Street who writes ROOT scripts to predict market forces.
  9. I think there is also demand in industry for people with a Ph.D. in optics.

    But for astrophysics, I think your alternatives are either academia or NASA.
  10. vanesch

    vanesch 6,189
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    Are you talking about experimental or theoretical HEP ?

    As an experimentalist, there are a lot of opportunities in instrumentation, like in medical imaging, on synchrotrons or in the nuclear sector, or in the data acquisition business which is even larger.
  11. What about theoretical HEP? or theoretical nuclear physics?
  12. Don't lay awake at night worrying about ending up with a job on Wall Street. It probably wouldn't happen if you wanted.
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