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Need Some Help

  1. Jun 19, 2004 #1
    I was starting to lose my interest in becoming a physicist until my physics teacher told me that he would enjoy being my colleague and that I'm one of the few that "get it".This has restored most of my interest in a career in physics.I need some help though.

    I know that a physicist needs a Ph.D. to do practically anything but are there any jobs for someone whith a BS in physics,besides teacher?Are there specialties in physics that don't require a Ph.D.?

    This last question is about what I think I really want to work on.In November I thought I wanted be to a geophysicist but then realized that the only thing I could do was work for an oil company or a company that protects the environment.I really want to work on the new hydrogen or electric powered cars.Would I be better off going for a type of engineering to do this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2004 #2
    I have read in the official physics magazine that there is a great need for physicists right now, I have even seen salaries offered as high as 90 thousand a year...
  4. Jun 20, 2004 #3


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    I would recommend sticking with physics if it continues to interest you, and then seeing what happens. I have heard of a lot of physics majors from my school being snatched up by engineering firms over engineering majors, just because of their more diverse training in the science underlying technology(plus from what i've heard, you learn most of what you need in engineering on the job.)
  5. Jun 20, 2004 #4
    I think that physics is what I want to do but I want to have a specialty.
  6. Jun 20, 2004 #5

    Dr Transport

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    I am a PhD Physicist, who works in the aerospace industry. My background is in electronic and optical porperties of semiconductors. For the past 3 years I have been working in electromagnetics and have recently started working in optical prperties of semiconductors. We have hired people with both bachelors and masters in physics. In most cases, their specialty in graduate school is not what they work in, that is the fun thing about physics, we are considered jacks of all trades outside of our academic life.

    The best advice I can give, and this came from a fellow physicist who spent the better part of the last 45 years working in 6 or 7 different areas of physics, i.e. nuclear theory, tokamaks, nuclear fusion, electrimagnetics and fluids, be ready to reinvent yourself every 5 years or so and learn a new area, that way you'll make it thru the cyclic layoffs.

    Now if you want to be an academic, be ready to either be the best out there, go to the best schools, and be cut-throat. Live like a pauper, put in many hours of work everyday and take any post-doc that comes along before you will find a position. Right now, you do not earn teunure, you buy it. I have seen competant (sp??) researchers not get tenure and the guy who brings in money but couldn't add two single digit numbers given a pile of blocks get tenure and promoted to full professor ahead of his collegues.

    Do what you wish, stay in physics and work hard, you'll find a position and be able to live happily.
  7. Jun 20, 2004 #6
    I really like physics but I don't really want to go through 6+ years of college to get a Ph.D. and then have to do 5+ years of post-doc.That would be fun and challenging but I'm not sure that I would have the commitment to do it.

    Strange question:would anybody consider engineers to be physicists?
  8. Jun 20, 2004 #7


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    Engineers are often considered to be applied physicists. They don't generally solve problems from first principles, and don't often even really care what the first principles are -- that's a pure physicist's work. Engineers simply use the results of physical analysis to develop procedures, rules of thumb, approximations, and so on.

    - Warren
  9. Jun 20, 2004 #8
    OK,makes sense
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