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Most promising fields in engineering/physics

  1. Mar 28, 2014 #1
    What field would you say is the most exciting in engineering/physics? I'm defining engineering/physics very loosely, so don't worry if your field is more biology than physics or whatever.

    So anyway; Which has the most potential for financial profit and entrepreneurship? Which has the most real world applications? Can it can change the way we live our lives? Which holds the potential to redefine our understanding of nature?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2014 #2
    Edible underpants.
     
  4. Mar 29, 2014 #3
    Caveat: Prognostications aren't worth anything. If I really knew what I was talking about, I'd be extremely wealthy.

    I am enamored by two things: First, genetic engineering and stem cell work has enormous possibilities. The notion of custom designed human parts is already being demonstrated. With stem cells, there are even more possibilities.

    Second, I'm fascinated by energy delivery and storage using fuel cells. The latter is a short term win. Methane fuel cells exist and are already in use, though they're not particularly economical. However new catalysts could make these things very feasible for the average home-owner. The other side of this is that if we can figure out how to store energy economically, we can take much more advantage of solar and wind technologies.

    Again, those are the things that fascinate me. This and other opinions are worth what you paid for them (nothing).
     
  5. Mar 30, 2014 #4
    Don't worry about the worth of your opinion - this is just for banter. Indeed, I'm surprised stuff like this isn't a major topic on this forum. Sadly, it's almost like people here are weary of discussing the future/speculating just because they could be wrong.

    Anyway I am only in my 2nd year, but I think material science, especially nanomaterials, can open up allot of possibilities. Anyone knows about it? I Haven't really thought much about this though.
     
  6. Mar 30, 2014 #5
    Most of the interesting developments in Engineering came about because of the availability of new materials or the discovery of new properties of materials. For example, the vulcanization process lead to many new uses for rubber. The discovery of how to manipulate semiconductors lead to many new developments in electronics. The use of distillation and catalytic cracking on materials such as crude oil or pitch lead to more reliable and powerful engines.

    So the answer is yes, methods and discoveries in materials science is a leading predictor of where new engineering discoveries will come from. Sadly for the researchers, this sort of development can easily span an entire career of work before it is widely accepted.
     
  7. Apr 1, 2014 #6
    Anything dealing with energy. We desperately need to find a new source of generating electricity that is both clean and renewable. Nuclear power is an option but fission reactors are limited by finite resources, although there are some designs that really have the possibility to provide virtually limitless supply of power ( thorium) and then there is of course fusion. If we can get fusion to work we essentially have the sun on earth, unlimited clean energy. Electrical engineering is also big, everything is being miniaturized and becoming digital which means lots of work for electrical and computer engineers, as well as software developers
     
  8. Apr 2, 2014 #7
    Software.
     
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