I have a few questions, but first, some short background for those who don't already know. I'm a first year physics graduate student. I graduated college back in December in physics and math, I start graduate classes this fall, and I'm doing astrophysics research this summer. I'm not entirely sure what field I want to go into (that's where you guys come in), and so I'm using this summer to see if I like astrophysics. However, I'm also thinking about condensed matter physics. So last week, my professor called me into his office to talk to me about my long-term career. He talked about some areas of astrophysics I could go into after my two years of classes. Though students don't typically do any research while taking classes, he also asked me to stay in touch with the astro group during the fall, and to come into the lab at least once a week (which I would like to do). This is what got me thinking about what I should be doing to figure out whether I want to do astro or CMP. So I've got a few specific questions for professors, other PhDs, and people who are farther into grad school. First, will one summer + one day a week of research in the fall give me an adequate flavor of an entire field, so that I can make sure that this is what I want to do for a living? Or are there any books/people (perhaps posters on PF) that I should be consulting? Secondly, how do I go about checking out CMP research? It's highly dissimilar to astro, and since I'm already going to be doing astro research this fall, I can't also join a CMP group. What specific things can I do to get a good idea of what CMP research is like? Finally (and perhaps this is the more tricky one), there's a reason that I'm undecided about astro vs. CMP. Astrophysics as a discipline interests me far more than condensed matter physics. I suppose I just don't get too pumped about phonons and hole theory. However, I'd also like to have an experimental career. Basically I'd prefer to spend my days setting up apparatuses and collecting data, and I'd rather not be stuck doing math problems and programming computers all afternoon. I'm told CMP is very hands on. The astro research I'm doing right now is almost entirely programming, but it doesn't bother me, since I'm operating under the assumption that astrophysics professors don't spend all their time writing code. Am I assuming correctly about astrophysics, or is there no room in this field for experimentalists? Any other comments on this? Well anyway, I'd be interested in what people have to say. Thanks!