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Needing advice on what path to follow

  1. Jan 30, 2013 #1
    Hi guys. My long term goals including going to grad school and going into academia.

    I'm at a point in my undergrad curriculum where I need to declare a major for sure. I've jumped around a lot in the past 2 years between chemistry, math, physics, and chemical engineering. My first 2 research experiences were in biophysics, which I loved. I'm now doing molecular modeling in the chemE department, which I love even more.

    I have a broad research interest that includes predicting macroscopic phenomena via microscopic structure, as well as relating these two things. I'm interested in this concept applied to fluids, solids, macromolecules, etc... If someone wants any material with any property, I want to be able to predict what this material consists of by computations at the molecular level. For example, creating better optical materials, biomaterials, magnetic materials, energetic materials, semiconductors, etc... I'm interested in all of these things but particularly in the theoretical design of these materials using physical principles. Basically, I want to create better ways theoretically determine the components (atoms, molecules, etc.) for a material, fluid, or macromolecule of any given property. Making connections between the microscopic and macroscopic world is of huge interest, as well as the mesoscopic length where the dominance of quantum and classical effects become blurred.

    My Thoughts
    Given my huge obsession with materials, I think Materials Science and Engineering is an obvious choice. Research in this field doesn't seem too fundamental, however, so I was thinking condensed matter physics. Chemical engineering is too concerned with economically producing mass amounts of materials and is not very science based... Physical chemistry, however, is just plain awesome in my opinion.

    Can someone please view my interests and let me know what academic major and/or graduate program would be best suited for me? Thanks for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2013 #2
    I'm afraid my first post is too long.

    I want to computationally design materials and fluids with any given desired property (biomedical, electrical, optical, magnetic, stiff, soft, etc...) starting from the atomic level. I also want to design theories and methods to more efficiently carry out this task.

    Does anyone know which undergraduate major is best suited for this? Physics + minor in Mat Sci? Mat Sci + minor in physics? Chemistry?
  4. Jan 31, 2013 #3
    this depends strongly on what you want to model. Modeling semiconductors requires a TOTALLY different set of skills from modeling polymers and biomolecules which requires a TOTALLY different set of skills from simulating spectroscopy experiments.

    if you like biophysics, do biophysics specialization (if that exists) in the physics department.
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