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I want to build and design weapons, what to major in?

  1. Jun 15, 2008 #1
    Have any of you seen Iron Man?

    My dream is to be something of a Tony Stark. A weapons engineer. Forget all the super hero stuff, I would like to design weapons. Talk softly but carry a big stick and if you want to maintain peace, make sure your stick is bigger than anyone elses.

    My question is...what should I major in?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2008 #2
    You could take a combination of computer science and digital arts and learn how to make rendered animations for Hollywood feature films.

    Or you could take philosophy to see that war in general is only about making greedy people more wealthy.
  4. Jun 15, 2008 #3
    Um if I am sure, and I have never googled this but my best guess would be something like Mechanical engineering and Electrical Engineering.
  5. Jun 15, 2008 #4
    This is the best quote I have read!!! It is so true as well...
  6. Jun 15, 2008 #5
    well see. I dont want war. I hate war.

    But I believe the best way to prevent war is to have the best weapons.
  7. Jun 15, 2008 #6
    gerry, if you want my advice. Go into robotics, although it has potential use for war and fighting it still seems in a way more interesting. More challenging that is.
  8. Jun 15, 2008 #7
    I agree with ME and EE.

    I also think having some sort of background in robotics would help in creativity.
  9. Jun 15, 2008 #8
    Q: What's the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
    A: Mechanical engineers build weapons; civil engineers build targets. :wink:
  10. Jun 15, 2008 #9
    Electrical, mechanical, chemical, materials, aerospace engineers are all good for that.

    What specifically you want to work on would dictate what path, I would say. Do you like to do programming for missile trajectory? Play around with satellite/GPS targeting and whatnot technologies? Actually manufacture the design or structure for said weapons? Come up with a new platform for weapons? Etc
  11. Jun 15, 2008 #10

    No question. The people who do the most interesting work at my site all studied physics.

    Get a masters. Forget the PhD for weapons work. A BS in Physics and a masters in one of the engineering arts seems to be a good combination.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  12. Jun 16, 2008 #11


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    A degree in mechatronics would suit you perfectly, with a minor in computer science if posible.
  13. Jun 16, 2008 #12
    "well see. I dont want war. I hate war.

    But I believe the best way to prevent war is to have the best weapons. "

    And how is it that the last twenty years haven't convinced you that this point of view is flawed?
  14. Jun 16, 2008 #13


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    Ostensibly, the US has the best weapons. Unfortunately, the US has an administration which feels compelled to use those weapons against weaker nations. :rolleyes:

    As others have indicated, physics, and various engineering disciplines (EE, AeroE, MechE, Materials E) cover various aspects of weapons design.
  15. Jun 16, 2008 #14

    Vanadium 50

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    I think history has shown us that it's not so simple to come up with a relationship between "peace" (itself a nebulous term, as the boundary between a "warlord" and a "crime boss" is not hard and fast) and weapons technology. There are also unintended consequences - precision munitions were developed to target combatants hiding under cover of non-combatants: a response has been for the combatants to move even closer to non-combatants.

    That said, I think that getting one's ideas on the day-to-day life of any profession from comic books is probably inaccurate. The life of an engineer working on weapons could well be very different than imagined.
  16. Jun 16, 2008 #15
    most modern weapons are built with a mechanical/physics background with electronic controls.

    I am currently studying electromechanical engineering which is both mechanical and electrical engineering... We deal alot with motors and controls, microprocessors, other computer chips, mechanics of materials, and heavy dynamics which all can be applied very deeply to weapons systems... on one of my projects we designed an autonomous helicopter...

    very good for studying weapons... the only problem is that there are only a few schools in the country that offer electromechanical... i study at wentworth institute of technology in Boston. check it out.

    ps. remember... with great knowledge, comes great responsibility!
  17. Jun 16, 2008 #16
    gerry, Take a look at the Army Research Lab, Naval Research Lab and Air Force Research Lab. They have web sites that will highlight their research programs, allowing you to see the backgrounds of the various participants.

    What part of the country are you from?
  18. Jun 16, 2008 #17
    Ok first of all you must decide on a family of weapons you'd like to master.

    I can give you some headsup on this one:

    Boats and navyrelated tech: Naval architecture

    Materials, propellants and NBC-protection: Chemical engineering/chemistry

    Rocketry and artillery: Aeronautical engieering, mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering and mechatronics.

    Combat vechicles (MBTs, APCs etc M-series of vehicles in the american armed forces): Elec eng, mech eng, mechatronics.

    There are a couple of more familys of weapons, browse wikipedia at your discretion.

    Simulation: Physics with computational science.

    [Morals] My education is actually very highly suited for a multitude of weapon systems, sweden is also a highly productive export-country in the weaponsmarket, we have at times been selling weapons not only to the highest bidder but also to both sides in the conflict (india-pakistan is the only example I can get in a minutes notice). The perfect combination for weapon-systems is mainly chemistry with a lot of physics and a little less computational science. The one I got, many from my university work for the weapons industry. I won't. I actually want to be proud of my work and feel that it's productive for the betterment of mankind. Designing impenetrable materials for the arms industry isn't that. Besides I would totally lose it, If I designed a weaponsystem that was used against civilians. I would rage and probably cry a bit like I never cried before. I am not a big idealist and "crusader", but when it comes to weapon-systems that is not for personal protection, I draw the line. If you can live with killing innocent civilians in some godforsaken country in the developed world, so go ahead, I won't judge you, I actually helped you out. I just wanted to say how I feel about the weapons industry, since I am targeted by them because of my education, and have had to think through the consequences.[/morals]
  19. Jun 16, 2008 #18

    Andy Resnick

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    I guess I am one of the few people here who actually has built bombs. I worked on the 'bunker-buster' and guidance system development for autonomous munitiouns.

    If you want to get a job designing weapons, you will have no trouble finding one (other than the time and effort required to obtain a security clearance). The turnover is rather high. Pretty much any skill is useful- mechanical, electrical, chemical, optical, computational... machining, soldering, you name it. I've seen some amazing things.
  20. Jun 16, 2008 #19


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    Why is the turnover so high? Is it stressful work, or does it not pay well?
  21. Jun 16, 2008 #20
    Thanks so much for your advice.

    btw...Im from the Northeastern part of the US.
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