Looking for advice about my career...

  • #1
Mr.Husky
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Hi everyone,
I am now a junior high school student who is going to start his senior after a month. I was selected to a tier 1 University in my country. I checked all professors and postdocs websites and I can say that they are mostly doing research on condensed matter physics. Should I learn condensed matter physics early ( I can complete Ascroft before my sophomore as I have much time now to study) , participate in symposiums and do research with them? Or just keep on studying until grad school? I know I am the one who can answer the question.but I want to know how specialists think about a undergraduate who is ready(?) to do research while just entering 3rd sem. I have to stay there for four years.

Note:- I have no specific interest on theoretical physics. I designed ( the uni allows one to design their own curriculum) my curriculum for four years so that I can have equal knowledge in both theoretical, experimental, and computational physics. I have talked to a senior there about my curriculum and he said that I might be the only one who will take all the experimental courses in the department.

Thanks in advance!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
andresB
575
323
I know I am the one who can answer the question.but I want to know how specialists think about a undergraduate who is ready(?) to do research while just entering 3rd sem. I have to stay there for four years.

I don't think such thing as research at 3rd semester to be even a thing. The requisite of research is to know as much things as you can, at least as most thing as you can in your given subfield. Unless we are talking about a prodigy with a lot of previous knowledge, people usually don't know enough at that point to do meaningful research.
 
  • #3
Mr.Husky
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Thanks andresB!

I will definitely hit non equilibrium statistical field theory in grad school. I am in 11th grade(if that make sense)who already completed kleppner and kolenkow but felt under prepared for Griffiths em. My question is :- is doing research early( with requisite knowledge) helpful for my career?
 
  • #4
Mr.Husky
Gold Member
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Oh now I got it. Thanks andresB. I choose physics to study physics not for doing research early. I think its better for me to not to worry about research at this early stage of my career.
 
  • #5
DaveE
Science Advisor
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I wouldn't worry about things as far away as research or grad school now. Your plans will change. Everyone's plans change. That is part of the value of undergraduate education, to learn what you want to do next.
 
  • #6
Mr.Husky
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I wouldn't worry about things as far away as research or grad school now. Your plans will change. Everyone's plans change. That is part of the value of undergraduate education, to learn what you want to do next.
Just like how I underestimated the difficulty of Electrodynamics and now suffering with vector analysis. Not everything goes as we plan.
 
  • #7
andresB
575
323
Oh now I got it. Thanks andresB. I choose physics to study physics not for doing research early. I think its better for me to not to worry about research at this early stage of my career.

My recommendation is that in the first 3 years of university you focus in learning as most as you can in the fundamentals topics: Classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics & thermodynamics + all the mathematics and computational methods.
You can then dedicate your last year to whatever subfield you are interested in.
 
  • #8
Mr.Husky
Gold Member
85
28
My recommendation is that in the first 3 years of university you focus in learning as most as you can in the fundamentals topics: Classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics & thermodynamics + all the mathematics and computational methods.
You can then dedicate your last year to whatever subfield you are interested in.
Thanks andresB. Is there any field which has less importance in curriculum but is essential?
 
  • #9
andresB
575
323
Thanks andresB. Is there any field which has less importance in curriculum but is essential?

I don't understand the question. The topics I listed is what I consider to be what every physicist should know about (mind you, I know very little of computational physics and I suffer a lot for it).
 
  • #10
Mr.Husky
Gold Member
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I don't understand the question. The topics I listed is what I consider to be what every physicist should know about (mind you, I know very little of computational physics and I suffer a lot for it).
What are the topics in physics which are not so popular or not many people know or usually neglected but are essential for a deeper understanding of the universe? Idecided to start a science club in my school with my physics teacher because everyone in my school are trying to get into computer science or electronics. I think they did not choose physics or math because they are not much exposed to them. So to motivate them, I decided to talk about less known stuff(to them) like special relativity, stability of matter, 23 states of matter etc. That's the motivation behind my question.
 
  • #11
Frabjous
Gold Member
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891
Just like how I underestimated the difficulty of Electrodynamics and now suffering with vector analysis. Not everything goes as we plan.
As a supplement, you might check out Vector Analysis by Phillips. It’s old, but good.
 
  • #12
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
1,123
810
Hi everyone,
I am now a junior high school student who is going to start his senior after a month. I was selected to a tier 1 University in my country. I checked all professors and postdocs websites and I can say that they are mostly doing research on condensed matter physics. Should I learn condensed matter physics early ( I can complete Ascroft before my sophomore as I have much time now to study) , participate in symposiums and do research with them? Or just keep on studying until grad school? I know I am the one who can answer the question.but I want to know how specialists think about a undergraduate who is ready(?) to do research while just entering 3rd sem. I have to stay there for four years.

Note:- I have no specific interest on theoretical physics. I designed ( the uni allows one to design their own curriculum) my curriculum for four years so that I can have equal knowledge in both theoretical, experimental, and computational physics. I have talked to a senior there about my curriculum and he said that I might be the only one who will take all the experimental courses in the department.

Thanks in advance!
OP: Could you clarify your situation? I'm confused as to what level school you're currently in? Junior high school? High school? University? Special program for prodigies? ...
 
  • #13
Mr.Husky
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I am 17 currently studying junior in high school or pre-university or 11th grade
 
  • #14
CrysPhys
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I am 17 currently studying junior in high school or pre-university or 11th grade
What do you mean by "I was selected to a tier 1 University in my country."? Will you be skipping your senior year in high school and enrolling in a university early?
 
  • #15
Mr.Husky
Gold Member
85
28
What do you mean by "I was selected to a tier 1 University in my country."? Will you be skipping your senior year in high school and enrolling in a university early?
Nope. I wasn't skipping my senior year. The uni I choose to join ( IISC ) conducts scholarship exam for Juniors. Based on the results, they select some students through interview and give spot admission to them.
 
  • #16
CrysPhys
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Nope. I wasn't skipping my senior year. The uni I choose to join ( IISC ) conducts scholarship exam for Juniors. Based on the results, they select some students through interview and give spot admission to them.
So are you asking about what you should do once you enroll in the university, or what you should be doing now (still in high school)?
 
  • #17
andresB
575
323
What are the topics in physics which are not so popular or not many people know or usually neglected but are essential for a deeper understanding of the universe?

I don't think there is such thing.

In any case, If you want to impress people, then flashy phenomena and visually impressive experiments are the way to go. I suppose you can find some examples of those in YouTube.
 
  • #18
Mr.Husky
Gold Member
85
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So are you asking about what you should do once you enroll in the university, or what you should be doing now (still in high school)?
Actually both. My first question on research is about what I should do after I go to university. My second question on science club is about what I should do now. My first question was cleared now. Oh I forget to say, is theaching them some rigorous calculus good? They all are familiar enough with calculus. The textbook my school uses states the theorems rigorously with lot of set theory but never proved them. This book also defines precalculus with heavy use of set theory and functions. Again never proved them. Is it a good idea?

Trigonometry:-
IMG_20210929_081415.jpg

Integration:-
IMG_20210929_081830.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • #19
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
1,123
810
Actually both. My first question on research is about what I should do after I go to university. My second question on science club is about what I should do now. My first question was cleared now.
Hi everyone,
I am now a junior high school student who is going to start his senior after a month. I was selected to a tier 1 University in my country. I checked all professors and postdocs websites and I can say that they are mostly doing research on condensed matter physics. Should I learn condensed matter physics early ( I can complete Ascroft before my sophomore as I have much time now to study) , participate in symposiums and do research with them? Or just keep on studying until grad school? I know I am the one who can answer the question.but I want to know how specialists think about a undergraduate who is ready(?) to do research while just entering 3rd sem. I have to stay there for four years.

Note:- I have no specific interest on theoretical physics. I designed ( the uni allows one to design their own curriculum) my curriculum for four years so that I can have equal knowledge in both theoretical, experimental, and computational physics. I have talked to a senior there about my curriculum and he said that I might be the only one who will take all the experimental courses in the department.

Thanks in advance!
Well, now that I have a clearer picture of your situation, let me respond to your first question (I'll respond to your second question separately). My specialty was in experimental solid-state physics, which these days has been subsumed as a subset of condensed-matter physics. You can't learn condensed-matter physics early. You first need your fundamental grounding in classical mechanics, E&M, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. I don't know how your university program is structured, but in the US, a subject such as Introduction to Solid-State Physics is often taken in the third year of undergrad physics.

Since you show interest in the experimental and computational side (not just the theoretical side) of physics, I encourage you to get involved with research early on (perhaps as soon as the summer after the first year). By "get involved with research", I don't mean you will actually be performing original research on your own. I mean working in a lab; initially in the role of a lab technician or research assistant. Particularly in experimental work, there is a lot of technology to learn: e.g., sample preparation; X-Ray diffraction; optical microscopy; electron microscopy; spectrometers of various flavors; high-temp apparatus; low-temp apparatus; high-pressure apparatus; vacuum apparatus; ultraprecision balances ... You can learn to operate instruments, network them, collect data, analyze data ... Start with some mundane responsibilities, and grow them as you gain experience and as you advance in your coursework.
 
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  • #20
CrysPhys
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Actually both. My first question on research is about what I should do after I go to university. My second question on science club is about what I should do now.
Not necessarily geared towards your science club, but for my recommendation for what you should do now while in high school, refer to my previous post: https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...ng-with-school-material.1006090/#post-6528399 Post #10.

A lot depends on what resources are available to you, but do science fair projects, join a battling robots team, design and build prosthetics and other aids for people with disabilities. Physics will come alive.
 
  • #21
Mr.Husky
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Thanks @CrysPhys for your replies. I will definitely try to do a experimental project( no science fair because of Covid-19). I talked to school management about my club. They reacted positively and said they can give 1 hour per week for discussions with help of physics and chemistry teachers.

Rather than explaining physics like in textbooks, I thought it will be great if I could explain everyday phenomena scientifically. By doing this, they will become curious to know more. And I can also learn some new topics such as measurement problem and error analysis, flow of non-Newtonian fluids like honey, turbulence, optics etc.. I will ask my frnds every week a single question and I will do research to find solution. Then I will explain the theory behind that.

Thanks all for your replies!
 
  • #22
CrysPhys
Education Advisor
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810
Thanks @CrysPhys

Rather than explaining physics like in textbooks, I thought it will be great if I could explain everyday phenomena scientifically. By doing this, they will become curious to know more. And I can also learn some new topics such as measurement problem and error analysis, flow of non-Newtonian fluids like honey, turbulence, optics etc.. I will ask my frnds every week a single question and I will do research to find solution. Then I will explain the theory behind that.
I think this approach will be better received than merely presenting page after page of equations and proofs.

In another thread, you indicated you were interested in the history of science. You should look up Michael Faraday and his Christmas Lectures.
 
  • #23
Mr.Husky
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As a supplement, you might check out Vector Analysis by Phillips. It’s old, but good.
Thanks caz! I am now using schaum's outline on vector analysis to supplement the book you recommended.
 
  • #24
osilmag
Gold Member
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Thanks @CrysPhys for your replies. I will definitely try to do a experimental project( no science fair because of Covid-19). I talked to school management about my club. They reacted positively and said they can give 1 hour per week for discussions with help of physics and chemistry teachers.

Rather than explaining physics like in textbooks, I thought it will be great if I could explain everyday phenomena scientifically. By doing this, they will become curious to know more. And I can also learn some new topics such as measurement problem and error analysis, flow of non-Newtonian fluids like honey, turbulence, optics etc.. I will ask my frnds every week a single question and I will do research to find solution. Then I will explain the theory behind that.

Thanks all for your replies!
That seems like something a teacher would do. Have you ever thought of education?
 
  • #25
Mr.Husky
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That seems like something a teacher would do. Have you ever thought of education?
Well I don't actually understand you reply. My teacher won't allow me to explain. He will check whether students can understand or not. I went to my teacher and said everything I wanted to do. He first said you don't have enough knowledge. But after a day, he called me and said, I will allow you and also some others to give seminars every week. They are part of your curriculum. You can utilize them.

Can you please expand your reply @osilmag ?? Sorry for my poor understanding.
 
  • #26
berkeman
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Rather than explaining physics like in textbooks, I thought it will be great if I could explain everyday phenomena scientifically. By doing this, they will become curious to know more. And I can also learn some new topics such as measurement problem and error analysis, flow of non-Newtonian fluids like honey, turbulence, optics etc.. I will ask my frnds every week a single question and I will do research to find solution. Then I will explain the theory behind that.
That seems like something a teacher would do. Have you ever thought of education?
Well I don't actually understand you reply.
I think he is complementing you about your initiative to use everyday phenomena as the focus of the science discussion activities that you have initiated. He is saying that you are starting to think like a teacher/educator, and he is asking if you have ever considered going into teaching as a profession since you seem to have an instinct for it.
 
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  • #27
Mr.Husky
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Thanks @berkeman for your reply. I will definitely become a professor or at least a high school teacher. I love explaining concepts. But I don't know how a big group of people will think about my explanations. So I started that program. Thanks everyone here for helping me!
 

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