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Is physics right for me?

  1. Sep 2, 2005 #1
    I've always loved physics, and am constantly reading about it. Usually I just read those laymen's physics books like "a brief history of time", "the elegant universe", or "hyperspace." My math backround is only up to trig. (last class i took) and i never took high school physics. Well im going to be a freshman in college within a week, and I am seriously considering studying physics. I don't know if its right for me though.

    Some questions I have:
    Is it possible that it's actually too difficult, or can hard work overcome that?
    Is it really hard to get a job doing physics (i dont care about money but A job is a necessity)?
    Am i just day dreaming?
    I always here about how hard it is, it makes me worried, but i think about the phsyical world alot, even if i don't have a high school education in it. I'm brushing up on all my pre-calc math, just to be ready for calc. I really want to do it, but is it foolish to do if you're not a super genius?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 2, 2005 #2

    LeonhardEuler

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    You don't have to be a super genius, but you do need to know math. You seem to be interested in physics, so I would say take some math courses and see how you like them. If you can handle the math and you are interested in the material, you should be fine. It might be best to try your hand at calculus before you make a decision if you have the time. Even if you find that you are capable of doing it, though, make sure you are willing to commit a lot of time to it. I, myself, am in engineering and I know several people who went into engineering because they had some interest in how things work, but ended up leaving because it was just way too much work for them. So just make sure you're serious about it. Oh, by the way, from what I hear other people say, you can get a pretty good job with a physics degree. You can live comfortably, but you probably won't be a millionaire or anything like that.
     
  4. Sep 2, 2005 #3
    well calc. is one thing, but i hear about linear algebra and algebraic topography...those things are really high level courses. I don't want to be in my 3rd year of college only to find out im not on the right path. Hard work is no biggy to me, and math itself is really interesting to me, but when you hear about tensor equations, and mobius problems...SCARY!
     
  5. Sep 2, 2005 #4

    LeonhardEuler

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    Of course it's scary now. But you'll have years to learn it. If you can keep up with calculus now then its not like you'll just hit a point where your brain is full and you can't learn anything new anymore. Everything is just one step above the previous thing. Just make sure you understand everything as you go along, then the next thing is just one more step. I've never seen anyone who was good at math all along, but then they just hit a certain point where it just reached a critical level of complexity and they couldn't follow it anymore. (except going from a high school level of math to a college level of math. Those really are very different because in high school they just tell you what to do and test you on how well you follow those instructions, whereas in college they actually expect you to understand the material and read proofs. That's why I suggested you study calculus first, so you know what to expect from higher level courses) And by the way, linear algebra is not that big a deal. I found it to be more straightfoward than calc, but not as interesting.
     
  6. Sep 2, 2005 #5
    Talk to your advisor about it. See what you can do. You might have to take some summer math courses to get up to speed, BUT don't worry, if you take Calc this year, you'll be on the right path anyway.

    And yes, it's MEANT to be hard. Don't think you're just stupid or something, we're all in the same boat.

    PL
     
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