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Newbie to Forum/Physics

  1. Nov 21, 2009 #1
    Hi, I am new here and too physics (kinda of (im a freshman)). My goal is to have a chance working for NASA or something similar to it. The job i want is to Program flight simulations and/or program "robots". I am taking intro to physics (1st semester) and intro to chemistry 2nd semester. I know i need to further my Physics tremendously and i know i need to take programming courses and have a degree in comp sci./soft. eng. but i would like some books to start off in Physics and what courses in high school should i take?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2009 #2
    ok, should i just go to another forum and ask for help?
  4. Nov 22, 2009 #3
    you could if you want to, but just so you know you won't find any better.
  5. Nov 22, 2009 #4
    You're a college freshman and you're asking what high school classes to take?I'm confused.
  6. Nov 22, 2009 #5
    I'm fairly sure he means that he is a freshman in high school.
  7. Nov 22, 2009 #6
    Ok, then I'm confused as to why he's talking about semesters, and course titles like "Intro to Chemistry."

    Has high school changed that much in 9 years? We didn't have "semesters" and my physics and chemistry classes were just called "physics" and "chemistry."

    My advice for the high school freshman is to just take whatever math is allowed. It's cute that a 13 or 14 year old wants to work for NASA, but I'd argue there's not much meaningful that can be done at that age to seriously improve your chances.

    If your school has a robotics team, join that, I guess.
  8. Nov 22, 2009 #7
    It's not like a little kid fantasy, I'll actually do what is needed to get there i wanna work for nasa. And yes we do have semisters (first and second) and also yes thats what they are called in out school intro to physics/chemistry and then jr./sr. you take advanced then college phyics/chemistry.

    And it's a small school though i am talking with the guidence counsler about and It olympics group (in iowa). So i should get security and robots down alittle if we get one started
  9. Nov 23, 2009 #8
    You could literally fail out of high school, do amazingly well in community college, transfer to a 4 year school, then graduate with your degree, and still have a shot at working at NASA. That's the hard way to do it, of course, but it can be done.

    That's why I said there's not much special you can do right now to impact your chances with NASA. They likely won't look at your high school record. To prepare for college, take all the science and math classes you can, but beyond that, there's not much to do. Just get good grades to improve your chance at getting into a good school, and go from there.

    You might see if you can get your school involved in the FIRST Robotics competition next year. It might take some initiative on your part to drum up interest among the staff and your students, but here's a website for you:


    If you want to get into robotics, it's not too early to start.
  10. Nov 23, 2009 #9
    Though NASA will not see your high school grades, they will see where you went to college. And high school grades determine where you go for college. Study hard in high school, get into a good university and then you could get into NASA.

    I would reccomend taking all of the physics and math possible (AP physics C, AP calc BC, etc). Also, FIRST would be a great opprotunity for someone like you. It will give you some real experience while you are still in high school.
  11. Nov 23, 2009 #10
    i'm not sure you read the whole of his post, he began with an extreme example, and then went on to give the advice you've almost entirely copied...

    it's sound advice on the part of Jack, study hardcore & get involved in some good extra curriculars and you should find yourself in a good position in terms of college and go from there. good luck.
  12. Nov 23, 2009 #11
    I did read the entire post and i know that he did recommend FIRST as well. I just wanted to point out how important it truly is to do well in HS. Though it is possible to get to NASA with the route jack described at first, I believe that no one should even put that thought in their mind.

    Also, I thought that FIRST was such a good idea (being a former member myself) I wanted to repeat it for the OP to show how much of a good thing it is.

    Sorry if i was unclear
  13. Nov 23, 2009 #12


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    It isn't that important, however. Doing bad will hurt your chances, of course, but if you get a B here or there and don't go to Stanford or MIT, it's just a bump in the road. What you actually DO at college and in your graduate career is more important than where it is at.
  14. Nov 23, 2009 #13
    On one hand, you're right, my extreme example is obviously not the way to do it, and it shouldn't even be considered as a serious option. On the other hand, the kid has a decade of work ahead of him, and too much stress can crack a person. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Several of the top students in my high school graduating class burnt themselves out in high school. These were the kids with a 3.9 GPA in gifted and AP classes, participating in 2 or 3 extra-curricular activities, and never did a thing "wrong" in high school. It was all study, all the time.

    When they reached college, some of them just cracked. The "goody two-shoes" kids went completely unhinged with the alcohol and the partying, and ended up failing out. I'm thinking of two in particular that were a real shock to me.

    I just wonder if they had paced themselves if they'd have done better in college where it really matters. Like I said, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
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