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Is astronomy hard for nothing?

  1. Jan 29, 2005 #1
    Is astronomy hard for very few rewards?
    I mean can you do anything with a degree with astronomy I think that it's cool and all but isn'nt it the most unpractical of the sciences.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2005 #2
    Well, a degree in astronomy might be impractical. But, really and trully, nobody gets a degree in astronomy anymore. Astronomy is the catalouging of stars and other celestial events.

    However a degree in astrophysics, cosmology, or physics is anything but. All of these deal woth the way the universe works. And, if you really want to go into it, how we can mainipulate it. Believe me if a country ever fiqures out how to make a wormhole. Somthing that is could be theoreticly possible, then that country will suddenly become the richest country in the world.

    Of course, this is without the fact of knowledge for knowledge sake. Seeing you don't seem to think that that is "practical"
     
  4. Feb 4, 2005 #3

    Nereid

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    Hmm, not so long ago (or a very long time ago, depends on how old you are, among other things), astonomy was about whether the Moon is made of green cheese (or ~>10m deep layers of dust), whether what happened on the Sun had any significant effect on the stability of earthly power grids, life originating elsewhere (and the Earth being 'seeded'), and other 'navel-gazing' questions.

    Fast forward a decade or six, and most of those questions are no longer astonomy.

    Who can say, six decades from now, how 'practical' astonomy was (or wasn't)?
     
  5. Feb 5, 2005 #4

    Chronos

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    Pure science jobs are hard to come by. The great majority hide behind ivy walls. But humans are curious and have always found a way to push the frontiers of knowledge. Make no mistake, becoming a professional scientist is about as easy as becoming a professional athlete. You better be dang good at it, or find yourself a day job.
     
  6. Feb 7, 2005 #5

    Phobos

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    Overall, you don't go into astronomy to become rich, if that is your goal.

    Some other thoughts...
    Now that we have massive amount of satellites orbiting the Earth, solar astronomy is becoming quite important (predicting "space weather").

    In ancient times, astronomy was very important to agriculture (determining planting/harvesting times).

    There are aspirations of future mining of near-earth asteroids, the moon, etc. which could really affect the economy.
     
  7. Feb 7, 2005 #6
    Yeah, my school doesn't even offer a Major in 'Astronomy' anymore. But it does offer a whole load of modules in Astrophysics and Planetary Science.
    Planet Sci's where it's at, dudes! Wooo! :p
     
  8. Feb 7, 2005 #7

    saltydog

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    Astronomy is in a Golden Age these days. How nice to be alive to be experiencing it directly! There's been so much change in the history of Astronomy. Remember Ptolemy's "epicycles"? Kepler's "music of the spheres"? Geocentric Universe? What a marvelously rich history of revolution it has been! So nice to be witnessing another.

    Have you seen those pictures of the center of the galaxy? Amazing!

    Salty
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2005
  9. Feb 7, 2005 #8

    DB

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    I hear ya Chronos, and I don't want this to happen to me. The one thing I've been worrying about is the fact there isn't much out there in pure astrophysics and cosmology, and that I will end up behing and ivy wall. What kinda jobs are out there? Got any advice to cheer me up???
     
  10. Feb 7, 2005 #9
    You never know, the smallest thing could be the most important, and it makes one wonder...
    If you wanted to find alien life like ourselves in this universe and could travel anywhere in it within 10 years, where is the one place in the universe that is unlike all the rest?
     
  11. Feb 8, 2005 #10

    Chronos

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    Those ivy walled jobs ain't half bad, but, be passionate and have a fallback position. In the course of your training, sneak in a few courses in applied science. In case you're not a lottery pick in the grant or tenure draft, you will still have some saleable worldly skills.
     
  12. Feb 8, 2005 #11

    saltydog

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    Jesus, that's so interesting. I'd run a statistical analysis of billions of galaxies and get the closest one like our own and look in the same place!

    Salty
     
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