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Is there any cosmological research field concerning signal processing?

  1. Jul 3, 2012 #1
    Hi, everyone~
    I have a BS in EE, and I want to be a researcher in cosmology or astronomy. To accomplish that I have to get a PHD in such areas. But my major in college was mainly about signal processing and networks. So, I'm wondering if there is any PHD program in cosmology or astronomy that prefer or require its applicants to have a background like mine? And if there is, how do I find them?
    Thank you~
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2012 #2


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    Well, it's certainly not an easy transition to make, but it's been known to happen. Astronomy and cosmology are usually associated with the physics department at universities, so you'd probably do best by studying up on physics and looking at the physics departments of various schools.

    That said, I don't think you'll ever find a program that *prefers* people come from an outside background, but there will be programs that will accept people from an outside background. You just have to show that you're capable. I honestly don't know what's expected, but the best way to find out is simply to go to a school you might be interested in and visit the department.

    That said, I'd like to point out that there is very much a place for people with EE backgrounds in astronomy/cosmology research directly, without getting astronomy/cosmology degrees: there are a lot of very intricate instruments that need to be planned and constructed in order to perform observations.
  4. Jul 4, 2012 #3
    You'd need to have the standard physics preparation. However assuming that you have that, then having EE experience would be really useful in observational astronomy. The standard reference for this is the AIP Directory of Physics programs which you should be able to find in most college libraries, or you can buy it from the AIP website.

    I'd look for graduate schools that are very highly observational, and then send out a few e-mails to see what they think of your background. Also if there is a physics department locally, I'd arrange to talk with an adviser to see what "gaps" there are in your preparation.

    One other thing is that a lot of physics theory involves concepts that should be very familiar to EE. If you know Fourier and Laplace transforms cold, then you shouldn't have much problem with quantum mechanics, and you'll find that very useful in doing advanced QM.
  5. Jul 4, 2012 #4
    One other thing to look for are schools with interdisciplinary centers. If your EE background is geared toward CS, you might take a look at schools with heavy computer centers.
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