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I need your help with alot of this!

  1. Feb 6, 2010 #1
    hi there

    i am hoping you will take only a few moments to answer a few questions for me that will help me.

    i am very interested in physics and maths i have no clue though about specialized areas, at the moment i am being asked to choose my subjects which will determine what i can study at university.

    i have no clue about applied math and the different types of physics such as quantum, i would hope you could explain the different types to me so that i can progress in my studies with confidence.

    this will sound imature but i have no intrest in civil applications or research but it bores me to tears i would rather work on military research and or other types of research such as particle.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2010 #2
    There's a lot of different branches of Physics, but can be summed up into a few broad areas of interest. Inside each branch below are many sub-branches of particular studies that are different than other sub-branches. I've included links to Wikipedia's articles on each main branch, I suggest taking a look at each of them to get a better idea of what is currently being researched.

    Condensed Matter: This branch deals with nano-particles (nano indicates 1E-9, in this case it refers to meters as particles are on the order of 1 nanometer) and their physical properties. Semiconductors, superfluids & solids, magnetic resonance, etc are subjects that develop in this field. This field is generally heavy on quantum mechanics & many body theory

    Particle Physics: This branch deals with single particles: protons, electrons, neutrons, etc and the interactions between them. The work going on at LHC (Large Hadron Collider) is what particle physics is all about. This field is also very heavy in quantum mechanics and field theory.

    Astrophysics: This branch deals with outer space, the planets, stars, galaxies, and everything else. Stellar/galactic evolution are big topics now, as is most of the 'early universe' theories. This are requires a lot of electromagnetic theory, particle interactions, and computational tools.

    Lastly, Applied Physics: This is the 'general subject' branch that you go for when you want one specific area of expertise (the previous branches require general knowledge of subjects related to your own) in order to use the gained knowledge for practical uses. The subject matter relevant to a degree in applied physics depends on what area you want to study.

    If you are serious about studying physics, I would visit your school's guidance councilor and ask for his/her suggestions on what courses you can take in high school to better prepare you for college. Once in college, I would recommend meeting with the freshmen advisor in the Physics Department and ask about the degree offered, general courses required, special courses that are offered for certain research areas, and so on.
    And I would suggest either getting a minor in Mathematics or Computer Science. Either one will help your studies tremendously.

    Hope this helps!
  4. Feb 13, 2010 #3
    If you have lot of interest in physics what about mysterious areas in physics like general relativity,String theory,M theory?
  5. Feb 13, 2010 #4

    As far as I know, all three of those fall under the heading of Astrophysics.
  6. Feb 14, 2010 #5
    Are you still in high school? College? What are the options you have been presented with?
  7. Feb 14, 2010 #6


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    This isn't accurate.

    Condensed matter physics deals with many-body interactions of a gazillion particles. It isn't just dealing with "nano-particles". How particle interact with a large number of other particles, and how strongly they interact, is the fundamental aspect of the study in this field. So naturally, this field includes the study of conductors, semiconductors, superfluids, superconductivity, solid state, condensed gas, magnetism, insulators, etc.. etc.

  8. Feb 14, 2010 #7


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    Go to the APS webpage, for example, and look at the various http://www.aps.org/membership/units/index.cfm" [Broken]. That will not only roughly give you practically all the areas of physics, but also a description of the various fields.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Feb 14, 2010 #8
    hi here thanks for all the help. i would lie to state i am not an american i do however hope to apply to mit an also glasgow university to study a branch of physics. thanks for all the interest.!!!
  10. Feb 14, 2010 #9
    Eliminating the word 'nano' in front of 'particles' and you have exactly what you wrote.

    I'm an astrophysicist trying to generalize all 4 major fields for a 15 year old, can't get every one perfect every time :wink:
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