Lost in a physics career and willing to return

  • Thread starter ericksadiz
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  • #1
Hello,

I am remembering that I started a bachelor in physics from 2005/6, 15/16 years ago but I feel I got stuck in that, I graduated in 2012 after many personal struggles to cope with. I loved physics and the idea to find something new and it was hard to cope with the reality that there is a lot of work done, a lot of theory from past centuries, and this sense of feeling that is impossible to discover something without passing for all of this difficult path and the academia. I want to come back to study the basics in a main undergraduate program for physics, because I feel I lost the basic knowledge in those canonical courses. I also got a masters in geophysics and a sense of no purpose for my initial idea of being a physicist. Do you know if there are any group study to make review of areas in physics?, I would like to know if some of you have experienced something similar, so please leave a comment. By the way, I am looking for a very simple book for statistics, something analogue to the Segway's Physics for Scientist and Engineers.

Thanks,
 

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  • #2
gleem
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To start, what was your bachelor's degree in?
 
  • #3
symbolipoint
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I graduated in 2012 after many personal struggles to cope ...

I also got a masters in geophysics and a sense of no purp
I ALSO am curious, what was your undergraduate degree in?
 
  • #4
My bachelors degree was in physics.
 
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  • #5
gleem
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So are you telling us that you think geophysics was a poor career choice and you would like to try a different area of physics?
 
  • #6
symbolipoint
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So are you telling us that you think geophysics was a poor career choice and you would like to try a different area of physics?
Maybe a possible way is to find some postbaccalaureate student situation, so that you could enroll in some courses with laboratory sections. You may need to find if any such institution would allow you in since you have a Masters' degree.
 
  • #7
Charles Link
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One suggestion would be to study E&M, particularly magnetostatics, along with permanent magnets, transformers, and ac generators and electric motors.

See https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/a-magnetostatics-problem-of-interest-2.971045/

See also https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...er-core-when-coupling-high-low-power.1001193/
We've recently had several threads discussing transformers, and I think you might find them of interest. See also https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...-homework-problem.1002895/page-2#post-6492306

See also: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/waveform-of-classic-electromagnetic-induction.1003690/
for an interesting thread about a simple ac generator.
 
  • #8
CrysPhys
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OP: It's still not clear what your goal is. Do you want to review physics purely for your own personal satisfaction? Are you prepping for a change in career? Or, ...?
 
  • #9
OP: It's still not clear what your goal is. Do you want to review physics purely for your own personal satisfaction? Are you prepping for a change in career? Or, ...?
I think that I would like to review all the basics that I received in my training as a physicist, in an attempt to change of career into the fundamental physics but I certainly do not have a clear idea of which path career to follow.
 
  • #10
Charles Link
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I think that I would like to review all the basics that I received in my training as a physicist, in an attempt to change of career into the fundamental physics but I certainly do not have a clear idea of which path career to follow.
For fundamentals, as mentioned in post 7, you might find E&M studies of interest. I worked very hard in college from 1973-1981 , and one of the areas that I worked the hardest at was the E&M. It wasn't until 30 years later that I succeeded at showing/proving that the magnetic surface currents and magnetic pole methods give the same answer, and then what was previously a very difficult subject became very straightforward. You might find the "links" in post 7 to be worthwhile reading.
 
  • #11
CrysPhys
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I think that I would like to review all the basics that I received in my training as a physicist, in an attempt to change of career into the fundamental physics but I certainly do not have a clear idea of which path career to follow.
I recommend that you spend more time developing a clear goal first. If you plan a career in physics R&D, you'll need a PhD (in most instances; there are always outliers). In which case, a comprehensive review of physics fundamentals would be warranted. But if you're considering a switch to an entirely different career (e.g., engineering, data science, software development, patent law, product sales, ....), probably not.


ETA: What job or jobs have you held so far? What don't you like about them?
 
  • #12
I recommend that you spend more time developing a clear goal first. If you plan a career in physics R&D, you'll need a PhD (in most instances; there are always outliers). In which case, a comprehensive review of physics fundamentals would be warranted. But if you're considering a switch to an entirely different career (e.g., engineering, data science, software development, patent law, product sales, ....), probably not.


ETA: What job or jobs have you held so far? What don't you like about them?
It is a good advice to take real time for setting a clear goal. I guess that I am interested in physics R&D and a PhD certainly would help me to follow that path but I am concerned to get stuck in academia or get lost there if not miss my motivation again (possibly it is because I do not have a clear career goal and also I have that feeling of academia is a complex and competitive field if not a very difficult path to keep on). I'm been working as a physics and maths teacher for high school students and also as a costumer service agent. I believe that switching to other field and career has been a chance that I could take, however I feel that my initial goal of being a researcher in fundamental physics, is not complete and I have to face it.
 
  • #13
CrysPhys
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It is a good advice to take real time for setting a clear goal. I guess that I am interested in physics R&D and a PhD certainly would help me to follow that path but I am concerned to get stuck in academia or get lost there if not miss my motivation again (possibly it is because I do not have a clear career goal and also I have that feeling of academia is a complex and competitive field if not a very difficult path to keep on). I'm been working as a physics and maths teacher for high school students and also as a costumer service agent. I believe that switching to other field and career has been a chance that I could take, however I feel that my initial goal of being a researcher in fundamental physics, is not complete and I have to face it.
Before we continue ... what country are you in?
 
  • #14
I am in Spain but I am thinking to move to a nordic country.
 
  • #15
symbolipoint
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It is a good advice to take real time for setting a clear goal. I guess that I am interested in physics R&D and a PhD certainly would help me to follow that path but I am concerned to get stuck in academia or get lost there if not miss my motivation again (possibly it is because I do not have a clear career goal and also I have that feeling of academia is a complex and competitive field if not a very difficult path to keep on). I'm been working as a physics and maths teacher for high school students and also as a costumer service agent. I believe that switching to other field and career has been a chance that I could take, however I feel that my initial goal of being a researcher in fundamental physics, is not complete and I have to face it.
Understanding exactly what you mean is difficult, although your having been a Physics and Mathematics teacher or being so currently, chasing into and receiving PhD in Physics or Mathematics would be seen as "Professional Growth".
 
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  • #18
CrysPhys
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I am willing to do both, work and study.
Sorry to steer this thread away from your original post. But I think it's important to sort out some key issues, before you launch into a comprehensive review of fundamental physics.

First things to do before proceeding:

(1) Identify the universities you want to apply to (presumably for a physics PhD program). Find out their admissions requirements. Are you able to satisfy the requirements with your existing degrees?

(2) Identify the countries you want to work in. Determine what jobs are available for someone with a physics PhD. You will need options outside of academia to fall back on. E.g., are there high-tech industries or patent-law firms? What are the immigration requirements that might affect you?

I'll give a more detailed philosophical perspective later.
 
  • #19
Charles Link
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Suggestion for @ericksadiz would be to study various topics on Physics Forums=even try a couple of homework textbook problems and if you get stuck, ask for help from the Homework Section of Physics Forums. This could give you a better assessment of whether the intensive study of physics is something that you might do very well with, and whether a lot more academic type work is something that you really want to do.
 
  • #20
One requirement is not complete due to the quantity of credits in my masters degree. I am considering to make another master focused in fundamental physics and then decide, if so, for a PhD position directly. What I can do for now is setting a routine study and see if I can get back to grad school. Hope to take advantage of the Homework section forum. Thanks to all of you!.
 
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  • #21
CrysPhys
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OP:

* If you were in your early 20’s, were in the process of completing a BS Physics, and were considering a PhD Physics program in the US, I would offer you the following advice. A PhD Physics is unlike other degrees such as a MD or JD: it is not necessarily a means to an end; it can be an end in itself. Any US university that really wants you will offer you financial support, sufficient to live on if you’re single. For ~5-7 yrs, you pursue research that you (hopefully) love. Once you’ve completed your PhD, if all works out, you can continue a career as a research physicist in a university/government/industry lab. If all does not work out (or if you desire a change), you can switch to a different career. You will find that a PhD Physics prepares you well for a variety of careers ... if you are mentally and spiritually willing to make the change.

* But in your case, you have already completed your BS Physics several years later than usual, got a MS Geophysics, and worked in careers you’ve not found satisfying. You now hope you can rekindle a career in physics research, but are not even sure that an academic career is right for you. Now, suppose you do acquire a PhD Physics and complete a research program that does reignite your passion. Then what? If you can’t find a position in academia (or if you decide you don’t want one), will you be in a place where you can readily find a position in a government or industry lab (taking into account target countries and immigration requirements)? And if not, will you be mentally and spiritually prepared to “settle” for a career that does not center on physics research ... especially given that you were not satisfied with alternative choices the first time around? I recommend that you think this through. Whatever you decide, best of luck to you!
 
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  • #22
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One requirement is not complete due to the quantity of credits in my masters degree. I am considering to make another master focused in fundamental physics and then decide, if so, for a PhD position directly. What I can do for now is setting a routine study and see if I can get back to grad school. Hope to take advantage of the Homework section forum. Thanks to all of you!.
Just be aware in Scandinavia if you already have a masters then getting the government grant will not be an option as far as I know. So you will have to completely self-fund yourself. I'm 90% sure the above is correct but as ever best do your own research.
 
  • #23
CrysPhys
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Just be aware in Scandinavia if you already have a masters then getting the government grant will not be an option as far as I know. So you will have to completely self-fund yourself. I'm 90% sure the above is correct but as ever best do your own research.
The OP should definitely check admissions requirements and funding availability for each individual university of interest. What you've written above appears odd to me. Many European universities require a master's to apply for a PhD program (unlike most US universities, which require only a bachelor's). I don't think many students would seek enrollment at a university that, on the one hand, requires students to have a master's for admission and, on the other hand, denies financial support for students who have a master's.

Many years ago, I served as an industry mentor for a grad student at KTH (Stockholm, Sweden). I just spot checked their current policies. A master's degree, or a minimum number of university credits (including a minimum number of master's-level credits), is required to apply for a PhD program. Students accepted into a PhD program pay no tuition and receive financial support via salary as a university employee. See https://www.kth.se/en/studies/phd
 
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