1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I need help Deciding Cosmology or Astrophysics?

  1. Dec 2, 2008 #1
    First i need someone to help break it down whats the difference. Instead of just saying the origins of space is cosmos. Ima tell you what im interested in and let me know which one i will do better in. Im interested in learning about space and how it was created, not only im interested in the dementions and the sun the universe and all of everything in space and how it was created. And more to it. Whats beyond the boundries of space??? Is that all cosmology? And what would be great books to start off with, im already going to buy the physics for dummies book. Just to see what its about. Then if i understand it ill move up more. Im doing this decision because before i go to college i will be prepared, im thinking about making it a career. Any help please???
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    The difference is a matter of scale. Cosmology deals with large scale stuff like interactions between galaxies whereas astrophysics focuses more on local phenomena, like stellar fusion processes.
  4. Dec 3, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    There is no difference in the path to either of those fields until you have completed a undergrad degree in Physics. At that point you will have the knowledge needed to make your choice. So at this time the only decision you have to make is what university to go to.
  5. Dec 3, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    So you want to know which field to go into, but you want someone to define them for you?

    As Integral said, the path to either field is to first develop a solid foundation in physics, which would come from an undergraduate degree. This should give you the appropriate background to decide on a career path.
  6. Dec 3, 2008 #5
    Meanwhile, while ploughing through the boring bread & butter physics, read Brian Greene's "The Fabric of the Cosmos" to keep motivated...
  7. Dec 3, 2008 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    No, don't. If you want to read a popular cosmology book, read "Big Bang" by Simon Singh.
  8. Dec 3, 2008 #7
    Thanks alot guys i really appreciate your replys. And thanks for not being rude about the question i asked. The thing is, if anything books on cosmology or astrophysics that can not only say this is how you do it. But in a way i can write it down and learn myself. Sounds hard. But practice does make perfection...
  9. Dec 3, 2008 #8

    I understand what your saying, thanks alot and yes a great book in physics that i can do pencil to paper would help, do you know any books on physics to get started? I know "physics for dummies" is one. Also would "The universe in a nutshell" by Stephen Hawkins, be a good book? Or is that just a book to read?
  10. Dec 3, 2008 #9

    Thanks cronos, thats really the best way i understood it. I think cosmology is whats for me. Im mostly interested not only knowing about the universe, but MORE to it. Like more deeper into the universe, instead of just knowing why its here. Like black holes and whats beyond the boundries of space. Any great colleges you know of? Or anyone know of? For Cosmology, and physics? I live in Florida and it would be nice just to know whats OUT THERE.
  11. Dec 3, 2008 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you want to read about Physics read the coffee table physics books like A Brief History of Time, and Elegant Universe anything by John Gribbin.

    This, however, is MUCH different from actually learning Physics. If you are really interested in pursuing either of these fields you MUST learn Physics. To learn Physics start with math, Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are essential, they must be learned before you get to any real Physics. If it were easy everyone would do it.
  12. Dec 4, 2008 #11
    Very true and thats why i want to know the best way. Its just TIME and patience. And when your interested in something time= nothing... Im going to buy books on algrebra and trigonometry and calculus. Work my way up untill college. Thanks
  13. Dec 4, 2008 #12
    If you're looking for a good school, and seeing as how you live in Florida, you should really check out Florida Institute of Technology. It's the school I'm looking into, although I'm only a junior in high school. They're located right on the space coast and have internships with NASA aswell. They've got a great general sciences program of which would help you decide further as to what field you'd like to go into.
    Astrophysics and Cosmology are both fields that would interest me as well and this is the school that I'm most interested in going to.

    Good Luck with your future endevours!
  14. Dec 5, 2008 #13
    YO I WAS GONNA GO THERE HAHAH THANKS ALOT MAN. Is it alot of money though? Just a random question.
  15. Dec 7, 2008 #14
    It's pretty expensive.. looks like just under 40 grand a year.

    Undergraduate Student Cost Per Year (As of Fall 2007)

    * Tuition
    o Science and Engineering: $29,940
    o Other Disciplies: $27,280
    * Room and Board: $8,790
    * Books (estimate): $1,200
  16. Jan 24, 2009 #15
    HOLY, WOW, thats expensive lol...
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: I need help Deciding Cosmology or Astrophysics?