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Knowing computer programming languages

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Must I know any programming languages to enter a MS/PhD program in physics?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Choppy
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"Must" is a strong word. A certain level of programming experience would certainly help though, depending on what area you go into.

Is it really possible to get through an undergraduate degree in physics these days without any programming knowledge?
 
  • #3
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Programming languages for astronomy is pretty key, as far as I've seen. I've dealt largely with IDL and Perl and some C++. It does vary widely depending on what practice of science you do, though. Some of my friends even do FORTRAN!
 
  • #4
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"Is it really possible to get through an undergraduate degree in physics these days without any programming knowledge?"

In theory, no, but in practice, yes. The programming I've had to do for physics as a double major is so watered down it's almost laughable.
 
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This really depends on what kind of work you plan on doing in graduate school. It's not like they ask on your application, what languages you know, and it's not like in physics or math they are looking for comp sci courses on your transcript... but programming is really important in the physical sciences, whether your a theorist or an experimentalist. I would strongly recommend picking up some basic programming knowledge, you have no idea what your future supervisors will be expecting.
 
  • #6
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As long as you know an object-oriented language, you're pretty much fine. Besides "exotic" languages like SmallTalk and Assembly, going from one OO language to another is just a small hop.
 
  • #7
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"As long as you know an object-oriented language, you're pretty much fine. Besides "exotic" languages like SmallTalk and Assembly, going from one OO language to another is just a small hop."

Agreed. Knowing a procedural OO language (for my money, c++, but other options exist) would be best. Logical, functional, pure OO, and assembly languages can wait.
 
  • #8
Must I know any programming languages to enter a MS/PhD program in physics?
I think it's more important to know how to program than it is to know any particular programming language. But basically, you're going to want to be familiar with the language(s) that you'll be expected to use, and that varies too widely to be predictable here. Don't forget that programming languages are a way for humans to communicate with each other, not merely a way to get a machine to do your bidding. So if your professor's advisees are using, say, Fortan, then that's the thing to learn.

Let me turn the question around. What languages are you already comfortable with?
 
  • #9
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Must I know any programming languages to enter a MS/PhD program in physics?
I don't know about progrmming language,
is there free software in labs to use instead ?
as far as i see, after sometime you acquaint yourself with programming langues your views might change a lot since is another differnt field from your major. I hope your head-up isn't away from what you can do actually in this new programng world.
 
  • #10
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Must I know any programming languages to enter a MS/PhD program in physics?
Many physicists tend to pick FORTRAN because it seems eaiser to learn and use within a short period of time. C++ takes you longer but obviously earn you better future profits.

I am not a physicist, and I am learning to cope with mainly plain html. Do you think of web programming ? it might help you to advertise yourself soon as a professional physicist, simulate you to be known more in public instead of just being who you simply are.
The source code is compiled beautifully and automatically with simply a htm/html extension for you to be up...:smile:
 

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