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Is all my dreams shattered?

  1. Mar 19, 2014 #1
    well i always wanted to be a quantum physicist but right now i got very low marks in high school.will it affect my career.i plan to do computer science engineering.do i have the chances of becoming a quantum physicist?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2014 #2
    First of all, if you are going to major in computer science and engineering, then you have virtually no chance of becoming a quantum physicist. I don't get why you don't just major in physics if your goal is to become a physicist.

    Second of all, becoming a physicist is very tough and competitive. Many people drop out of the race sooner or later. Some do it because they notice they don't really have a passion for physics, the others because they're just not good enough.

    Getting low grades in high school doesn't mean everything is lost. But it does mean you need to do some thinking and some changing. Especially, you need to think about why your grades are so low. I see you created a thread about not writing fast enough, I don't believe for a second that this is a primary reason, it sounds more like a cop-out. You need to be honest with yourself: did you know the material as well as you should have? Did you do a lot of exercises before the exam? Did you know the theory cold?

    Then you need to ask yourself what you can change. Perhaps your study system sucks. Perhaps you study things way too shallow. Perhaps you don't search for examples enough on your own. Perhaps you don't do enough exercises. Etc. Find out what was wrong and then try to change it. It might take a few tries for you to figure out exactly what it was.

    So no, your dreams aren't shattered, but you have some work to do.
  4. Mar 19, 2014 #3
    No, it's not over.

    micromass put it in better words than I could, and I have to emphasize that you have virtually no chance of becoming a physicist if majored in computer science engineering.
  5. Mar 19, 2014 #4


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    Another thing to consider is what exactly does "becoming a quantum physicist" mean to you.
  6. Mar 19, 2014 #5
    i dont know what you are asking but anyways,well i like it.i am fascinated about the origin of universe
  7. Mar 19, 2014 #6
    well i mean if i do a bachelors in COMPUTER SCIENCE engineering and masters in physics then is there a possibility of studying quantum mechanics?
  8. Mar 19, 2014 #7


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    What I am asking is at what stage do you consider yourself a quantum physicist? I mean it's not a professional title or anything so anyone can call themselves a quantum physicist and not many people will even care.

    As long as you can convince people you have the same basis from a 4 year bachelors degree majoring in physics, sure.
  9. Mar 19, 2014 #8
    now you have confused me a lot
  10. Mar 19, 2014 #9
    If you want to get your masters in physics, why would you not just be an undergraduate physics major as well?
  11. Mar 19, 2014 #10


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    To be accepted into a graduate program (masters or PhD) in physics, whether it be quantum physics or any other field of physics, you need to complete a bachelor's in physics or its equivalent.

    You had stated earlier that you plan on doing a bachelor's in computer science/engineering. If that's all you plan on doing for your bachelor's, then I agree with both meanrev and micromass -- you have no chance of being accepted into a PhD program in physics.

    If you decide to double major in computer science and physics, however, that's a different story altogether. Then you have about as good a chance of being accepted into a graduate program in physics as anything else, depending on your grades and whether you can get a good reference from your professors.
  12. Mar 19, 2014 #11
    I don't get people like this. You say it's your dream to become a quantum physicist, and yet you go on and study computer science engineering in college.

    What makes you think you will be accepted in a physics master?

    If you do get accepted, do you realize you have 4 years of physics to catch up on? Including essential courses like classical mechanics, Electricity & Magnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, etc.(never mind the math courses) AND you additionally need to take masters classes as well. This is insanity.

    Like other posters said, do a double major in physics and computer science. That path is actually realistic.
  13. Mar 19, 2014 #12
    well first of all i thought he/she is just a regular guy who works in a physics lab or something.but when i googled it i found much more.then wukunlin told me that it is not a professional title at all and that anybody could call himself/herself as one if he knew physics.but seriously now i dont understand what does he/she do in real life in his profession?another thing is that in yahoo answers there was an answer that anybody who had completed engineering in any field could become a quantum physicist.so only i thought of taking computer science.now i completely don't understand how to become one.all i now know is that a quantum mechanist is a person who is an expert in the theory of relativity.another thing i googled about what kind of a job a person who studied quantum mechanics could take and what salary they would get.i found that their job would be much research oriented(http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question...9123226AA1CXIA)
  14. Mar 19, 2014 #13
    the only good thing is that atleast one of my threads is closed which i wanted
  15. Mar 19, 2014 #14
    Big question here: What do you think a quantum physicist does that you want to become one?

    Describe how you see a day in the life in your future career.
  16. Mar 19, 2014 #15
    Actually, as someone has gone the BS in computer engineering -> MS in physics route, I have to say it's more like a year or two to catch up. Between the math and basic physics courses that are common to both degrees and humanities and distribution requirements, there is less hardcore physics in an American BS program than you would think.

    That said, I completely agree, it is madness to *plan* on getting a BS in computer engineering if what you want to do is physics. They are different majors for a reason.
  17. Mar 19, 2014 #16


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    Staff: Mentor

    Right: forget the label. Describe what you want to do and we can tell you what it is and how yo prepare for it....

    ...you may also want to talk to a guidance/career counselor if you are this unsure about what you want and can do.
  18. Mar 19, 2014 #17
    Actually, probably the closest thing to being a quantum physicist in engineering would be to major in electrical engineering and study electronics, trying to stay more towards the physics side of it and maybe getting a minor in physics, and then continue that way in grad school. I'm not sure you'd call such a person a quantum physicist, but I think you could get close to it, if you were toward the extreme physics-oriented side of engineering. I imagine maybe even in chemical engineering or mechanical engineering, there would be areas like that, too (nanotechnology and so on). Also, there are (a few) people in computer science departments who study quantum computing, so even in computer science, you can get close, but again, you'd probably call them computer scientists.
  19. Mar 20, 2014 #18

    well i actually dont know who is a quantum mechanic/what does he do?how to become one? all these questions are unanswered.i liked the theory of relativity,mass variation,time dilation,lorrentz fitzerald contraction,etc... which i learnt in 12th.that's why i liked quantum mechanics

    so i thought a quantum mechanic is a person who would work in physics labs doing research regarding these areas
  20. Mar 20, 2014 #19
    All of this is not quantum mechanics, but rather relativity theory. You won't see much quantum stuff in there.
  21. Mar 20, 2014 #20
    That would be special relativity, not quantum mechanics.
  22. Mar 20, 2014 #21

    Well the response I was going to write- Quantum physics is a massively competitive area, if you are considering going onto research then you will have difficulties with your choice of degree. This thread https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=303482 explains the reasons behind this.

    Then i read the rest of the thread....
  23. Mar 20, 2014 #22
    To answer your question about low marks in high school, no that doesn't mean you can't pursue your dream. You will however need to work hard to be successful in your classes. My marks throughout high school weren't very good. Right before heading to start my undergrad I decided to sit down and figured out why my marks were low (as micro mass suggested you do), this was the turning point in my success at school.

    Throughout high school I didn't make much of an effort to attend my math or science courses and I never studied for tests. My first semester of university I ended up reteaching myself every single math concept I was supposed to learn in high school while taking my first calculus and linear algebra courses along with my other requirements for my degree. I would go to classes, between classes I would spend my time in the library studying along with allowing myself one hour a day to go to the gym for a break.

    The introduction physics courses weren't all that bad since personally I found they relied very little on high school courses so I only needed a couple hours a week to review them and to do questions. That being said you need to know math to be able to complete physics courses.

    The point I'm trying to make is that if you want to succeed in physics (or engineering courses) and you don't have the mathematical skills that you were supposed to acquire in high school you will need to work very hard. Don't be discouraged by this though, I've managed to turn my grades around since high school and am doing quite well in my classes, I would also say it is one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life.

    My suggestion is if you want to study Quantum Mechanics or anything else don't let your marks in high school deter you from pursuing your goals, just understand that your work ethic will need to change.
  24. Mar 20, 2014 #23


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Homework Helper

    First of all, do not believe everything that people say on the internet.

    Secondly, it is people who demonstrate an aptitude for physics that can get into a masters or Ph.D. physics program. While it is possible for some people to do that with an engineering degree, if the person does not have an aptitude for physics then they won't (or shouldn't) get into a graduate physics program. So, to say that anybody who majors in engineering can become a quantum physicist is wrong. Heck, there are people who major in physics who can't become a quantum physicist (or work in relativity theory, or get into a graduate physics program). But being a physics major is your best chance at doing so.

    If you know you want to become a physicist, then major in physics.

    That link does not work. I suggest getting in the habit of testing links after posting them, to make sure they really work. And if they don't, you can then edit the post to correct the problem.
  25. Apr 4, 2014 #24
    @Vanadium 50
    I have reread this again.So any physicist can call themselves a quantum physicist if he or she undertakes research in it.Am i right?
  26. Apr 4, 2014 #25


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    Education Advisor

    Is there a reason why you care this much about a "name" being given to a profession? Is this what you are really after, stature?

    Physicists don't specialize in "quantum physics", similar to no one specializing in "classical mechanics". And from what you have written here, I don't think you even know what "quantum physics" is. So it sounds strange that you are focusing on being a "quantum physicist".

    If I were you, and based on what you have posted in various other threads, I'd drop this line and focus on bigger issues.

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