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I want to go into Renewable Energy but I dont know what acedemic track I should take.

  1. Feb 19, 2012 #1
    I am a Junior in high school and am just starting the college search. I have always wanted to so something with space, and be an astronaut if I could, but, as astronauts take up such a small percentage of any group of people, I have begun to look for other things. Something that has caught my eye and has really interested me is renewable energy production. The thing is that I don't know what degrees to pursue. What I am thinking right now is to get a double major in physics and chemistry, thereby giving myself a very broad basis and understanding of the world. Then, with respect to my graduate degree, I would funnel into an engineering degree. From reading other posts on physicsforums, it seems that for renewable engineering, the three best engineering degrees are chemical, for biofuels, biomass, and the like; Nuclear, for nuclear fission and fusion; and mechanical, "for everything else," as someone said. I am not terribly interested in the nuclear side of things, so I am dropping that path. So I am left with mechanical or chemical engineering, and I, having only taken AP Chemisty and AP Physics C, don't know enough to say which one I like better (I would like to do both). In conclusion, I am a person who has both sides: I really like to learn stuff and know things, but I also, though I am only in highschool and have not been in the field yet, know that I am a producer. The thing I don't know yet is when the wanting to learn too much takes over the practical production side of me. Does trying to get a double major in physics and chemistry, and follow that with a graduate degree in chemical or mechanical engineering, qualify as trying to learn and do too much? If so, what academic path do y'all think I should do? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2012 #2
    Re: I want to go into Renewable Energy but I dont know what acedemic track I should t

    It's a bit too early to be planning out your post graduate work while still in high school.

    You can get into renewable energy from any number of different fields. Physics, chemistry, mathematics, mechanical or electrical engineering... any of these would give you good skills. Heck, even biology and computer science might get you there, depending on the specifics.

    Take classes in a few different fields when you start college and see what you like best. Even if you don't like any of the sciences, there's room in renewable energy for business and similar fields.

    So just relax and explore your options when you get to college.
  4. Feb 20, 2012 #3
    Re: I want to go into Renewable Energy but I dont know what acedemic track I should t

    I have 3 questions:

    1) What majors are geared toward renewable energy? You've answered that any number of majors would work. I am a math/science person, and I particularly enjoy physics and chemistry.

    2) I have thought that I would like to major in physics and/or chemistry and then engineering on grad school, but from other posts on this forum, it sounds like an undergrad engineering degree is preferred and that engineering grads are more marketable. Is this true?

    3) With an engineering degree will I gain as much knowledge in chemistry and/or physics (I understand the type of engineering is important to this question) as I would if I had majored in these subjects alone?
  5. Feb 21, 2012 #4
    Re: I want to go into Renewable Energy but I dont know what acedemic track I should t

    2.There are many physicists that do engineering work. You could do Engineering Physics if you want a between solution.
    3.NO and viceversa, but it is easyer to go from physics to engineering then from engineering to physics.

    I suggest go Bachelor in Physics and Masters in Alternative and Renewable energy sources.

    I myself am doing a 3 year bachelor in Physics then go straight to 4th year in Engineering Physics, and masters in Interdisciplinary Science: integrated approach to Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) as a second master I might do Pedagogy; Alternative and Renewable energy sources; Atomic, nuclear and elementary particles interactions, astrophysics and applications; or Earth and Atmospheric Science.
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