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Is russian useful for a physicist?

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  • Thread starter Tom83B
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Main Question or Discussion Point

If I wanted to become a theoretical physicist, would it be useful to learn russian?
It's a fairly easy language for me, as my native language is czech which is very similar. I somehow have a feeling that they have some good research centers or accelerators. It's not that it's my dream to work in Russia, but I think I'd enjoy it more that working in finance...
 

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  • #2
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I wouldn't say it is a good idea to learn a language for this single purpose. First, you don't know if you will ever have to work in russia, unless you are planning to go to graduate school there. Second, as far as I know research in russia is very hard, with very little money going to research and difficulties to get a job, even postdocs. I would say it is much easier (and much more likely) to do research in any EU country. And finally, of course you can work in Russia without knowing Russian, you only need english in Physics (if you want to work in a serious department, they will have to publish in international journals and have international visitors).

However, learning russian can be useful for you for many other reasons in your future. If you are interested in the language and will enjoy learning it, go ahead! Learning a new language can be very interesting and gives you access to another culture. But if you only want to learn it for some blurry future job opportunities, it could well be you get bored before you master it
 
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  • #3
symbolipoint
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Answers worth knowing could be these:

Would you expect physical research journal articles to be found written in Russian?
Would you expect to work for a scientific or technology company who does business with Russian companies or companies in Russian-speaking regions?
Would you attend meetings or conferences at which Russian-native speakers would be present?
Are there significant Mathematics or physical science books/textbooks written in Russian but not yet been translated into English? Also, are you interested in translating any such materials?
 
  • #4
What about someone wanting to work in Aerospace? The "blurry future job opportunities" is an excellent point, but I mean we are riding their rockets up to space right now. They are clearly one of the leaders in the space community at this time, and a global alliance seems to be the only answer to loss of funding, public interest, etc. Anyways, let me know what you think. Thanks
 
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What about someone wanting to work in Aerospace? The "blurry future job opportunities" is an excellent point, but I mean we are riding their rockets up to space right now. They are clearly one of the leaders in the space community at this time, and a global alliance seems to be the only answer to loss of funding, public interest, etc. Anyways, let me know what you think. Thanks
Hi,

As far as I know, the EU aerospace sector is quite big nowadays, maybe more than the Russian. I am not working on this field so I can't really give you good information, but I know a few European and American people working in aerospace engineering who are working respectively in Europe and America, and it seems there are enough jobs so they aren't considering moving. My feeling is I don't think you have to necessarily think about Russia if you want to work for aerospace engineering.

Anyway, if they need people, most probably language won't be an issue.
 
  • #6
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If I wanted to become a theoretical physicist, would it be useful to learn russian?
It's generally useful to learn a new language, but most Russian physicists can communicate in English which is the standard language of international communications.

It's a fairly easy language for me, as my native language is czech which is very similar. I somehow have a feeling that they have some good research centers or accelerators.
The problem is that research centers and accelerators require lots of government funding, and I don't get the sense that Russia is starting to fund research centers in a big way.
 

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