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New to Physics and passionately interested

  1. Jan 4, 2013 #1
    Hello everyone, I am new to the forum and have some questions regarding the vast field of physics and thought this would be a good place to start. My educational focus during my undergraduate degree was in Criminal Justice as I aspired to be involved in law enforcement upon completion. Well, I had some old sports related injuries resurface which stopped that career dead in its tracks and then decided to utilize my passion for computers and technology to gain entrance into the LE field. I am currently four classes away from completing my MS in Information Assurance & Security with the goal of working in the cyber security field for the government.

    Don't worry, I know this is a physics forum....I'm getting to the point.

    I have always had a fascination with physics and have been good with math/science, and have recently been reading about the correlation between physics (more notably quantum physics) and computer technology. I have been reading a lot about the possibility of quantum computers in the future, which would have a HUGE impact on cyber security ---- this makes me feel like I may have finally found my "niche" so to speak. I love to learn and have done very well in my graduate studies (3.9 GPA) but know this doesn't mean I will do well with physics. So my question is:

    What would be the best course of action for someone like me to get a background in physics? Go for the bachelors or the masters (with a ton of additional courses to bring me up to speed)? I know physics isn't a field you can just "brush up" on and am willing to put in the time and effort.

    I apologize for the lengthy post and appreciate any suggestions or advice you folks may be able to provide. Thank you and have a healthy/happy 2013!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2013 #2
    SeamusHiram Welcome to this Forum,
    only its name is Physics Forums it have all the Sciences and other features also.
    Doing the Undergraduate course is great idea if you have the sufficient Physics background i.e., Introductory Physics and Calculus. Going to Undergraduate course is not a bad idea but you go without that then it requires more hard-work.
  4. Jan 5, 2013 #3
    Thank you for the quick response!

    I'm very hesitant about going back and getting another BS degree, I know it would be beneficial but is there a way to get that knowledge foundation without taking all the "general" undergraduate courses?
  5. Jan 5, 2013 #4
    If you want to learn the Introductory Physics on self then MIT Open CourseWare and Yale Open Physics Courses help you very much
  6. Jan 5, 2013 #5


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    Here's a thread that might give you good info:


    It's good you see a niche where you might be able to apply your security education.

    As you observed, it's highly unlikely that you can get into physics grad school simply by studying a bit on your own. My knowledge of computer security is approximately zero, so this may be a silly question - but do you really need a physics background to fit into that niche?
  7. Jan 5, 2013 #6
    In today's world of cyber security you don't need a background in physics, I'm looking more into the future. If a quantum computer is ever built, it will change computer encryption methods forever. From what I understand, quantum computing has already progressed leaps and bounds in the past ten years so the idea of a quantum computing machine would be a big game changer in the world of cyber security. Even the most complex encryption used today would be cracked by a quantum computer in a matter of minutes, maybe even seconds by a brute force attack alone (in theory). This is why I believe a background or foundation in physics would be beneficial if this technology progresses.
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