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Nuclear physics or theoretical physics?

  1. May 6, 2015 #1
    From which branch of physics like nuclear physics or theoretical physics the PhD will be more beneficial for career?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2015 #2
    Which do you enjoy the most?
     
  4. May 6, 2015 #3

    e.bar.goum

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    That's basically an impossible question to answer.

    In terms of "benefit to career", there are a huge number of factors that determine success. What kind of career? What specific sub-field of nuclear or theoretical physics? (there is, of course, theoretical nuclear physics). Who is your supervisor? How driven are you? How many papers did you write during your PhD? Where in the world are you? What department of what university did you go to? How talented are you? What do you enjoy doing? Are you a good collaborator? Do you have the appropriate technical skills? How quick are you to pick up technical skills? How much time can you put in to your work? Are you geographically flexible?

    And so on and so on and so on. Basically, it's not as simple as "theoretical or nuclear physics?"
     
  5. May 7, 2015 #4

    ZapperZ

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    Are you aware that there is "theoretical physics" in nuclear physics? There are people who specializes in doing theory in the field of nuclear physics.

    So your question makes very little sense. What exactly do you mean by "theoretical physics"?

    Furthermore, you haven't put any effort in describing yourself, so how do you expect us to give you any kind of recommendation? What is beneficial to me may not be "beneficial" to you. This is the same as asking that same question to some stranger on the street.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  6. May 11, 2015 #5
    I mean by nuclear physics the practical work just like working around the reactors etc. So I just wanted to know whether I choose theoretical side of physics or the experimental one for better earning options?
     
  7. May 11, 2015 #6

    e.bar.goum

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    That's still pretty much hundreds of jobs. Janitor? Diver? Operator? Inspector?

    As for earning options for experimental physics vs theoretical physics, well, it depends on the job, some will be looking for experimentalists, some for theorists. Further the job of "theoretical physicist" vs "experimental physicist" (neither of which is a job it sounds like you actually want) would net you pretty much the same money, but there are more jobs for "experimental physicists" than "theoretical physicists" in general. But a job as a "theoretical physicist" isn't the same as a job you'd get after getting training in theoretical physicist.

    "the practical work just like working around the reactors etc" makes it sound like you'd want to be an engineer or technician, actually. I don't know many nuclear physicists who fit that description. (Nuclear physicists tend to do other things).
     
  8. May 11, 2015 #7
    Can you please tell me the job of nuclear physicist?
     
  9. May 11, 2015 #8

    e.bar.goum

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    It's a pretty broad subject, but basically, a nuclear physicist is a person who researches the interactions between atomic nuclei when they get close enough together to interact via the strong force. Nuclear physicists will study anything from the shape and structure of nuclei (nuclear structure studies) through to the precise dynamics of what happens in nuclear reactions (nuclear reaction dynamics studies), to how nuclei decay, and when, (precise studies of e.g. Auger electrons through and measuring half-lives.)

    Nuclear physicists can do absolutely fundamental science - "how does nucleon transfer effect the probability of fusion?" , "how do triaxial shapes evolve?", "how can we understand high spin isomers?", "what reactions can take place in supernovae?", "how do we make the next heaviest element?" through to absolutely applied science - "how can we use nuclear techniques to map soil erosion in farmland?", "how does the energy of Auger electrons affect their use in cancer treatments?", "how do the secondary reactions in heavy ion therapy add to the total dose to a cancer tumour?" (and yes, bomb stuff as well, and I imagine there's some nuclear physics jobs with designing new reactors too, but I'd think you'd also be an engineer).

    Nuclear physicists can be theorists - "how can we model fusion in a microscopic manner?" - their main tool will be a supercomputer or they can be experimentalists - "how can we measure the evolution of quasi-fission with neutron number?" - their main tool will be a nuclear accelerator and some particle detectors. Sometimes, they can be both.
     
  10. May 12, 2015 #9
    Wait, Nuclear Physics only covers the Strong Force? Who researches the weak and electroweak forces then? Cosmologists?
     
  11. May 12, 2015 #10

    e.bar.goum

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    Oops. In fact, nuclear physics is the only physics where you consider all fundamental forces of nature (gravity comes into play for nuclear astrophysicists - neutron stars etc). I phrased that poorly. In terms of structure/reaction dynamics though, often you only worry about the strong and electromagnetic forces.
     
  12. May 12, 2015 #11
    Okay, thanks for clarifying
     
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