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Physics Path to follow in life

  1. Aug 28, 2017 #1
    Hello! I apologize if my question is not really related to the topic of this page, but I would really appreciate your advices. So I want to do theoretical physics for my phD (mainly BSM physics) and I need to present to a non-science public, for a scholarship, 3 ways in which I want to accomplish my goal in life (like coming up with something new, discovering a unified theory of physics etc.). I am aware of the physics theories that are the most likely (even if not experimentally feasible) to allow discovery of new physics but I am not sure I can present that, even at a basic level, to a non-science public. The paths can be anything, jobs I can take, places where I can work, theories I can follow, approaches to the research process. Can someone give me some ideas about what to do? Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Zapperz posted a set of threads on becoming a Physicist:


    Also Gerard T'Hooft published one for Theoretical Physicist:


    Are you able to see how others before you did the presentation? You might get some ideas on how to develop your own, by seeing what works and what doesn't for your case. It looks like they want to support a good scientific communicator for this scholarship.

    You could also check out Michio Kaku, Neill deGrass Tyson, and Brian Greene to see how they communicate complex ideas. A classic one would be Feynman.

    There are some videos of these folks on youtube that you could watch but its going to take a lot of thinking and preparation to get good at it.

    I would suggest you develop your speech and use something like the Hemingway App to check its grade level and aim for grade 8 understandability which means shorter sentences. You can use Hemingway online for free or get a copy for your computer ($20).


    Also your word processor may have some builtin grammar checking tools but it doesn't hurt to try a few to get your presentation just right.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  4. Aug 28, 2017 #3


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    You are the only person who can pick YOUR goals in life. The most broad ways that you would accomplish them will be through education, research, and employment. We cannot give you the specific ways for those.
  5. Aug 29, 2017 #4
    But I would like to hear some people's ways. Like I don't know yet which path I will follow but I still need to give that presentation...
  6. Aug 29, 2017 #5


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    The first step must be your decision on a definite area of theoretical physics you want to take in your life. Do you have any specifications?
  7. Aug 29, 2017 #6


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    What IS your goal? Is the goal one of learning, understanding Physics? You will want to earn at least an undergraduate degree in Physics, and you want to include practical skills to support other objectives relating to or involving your Physics studies.
  8. Aug 29, 2017 #7


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    1. Start by defining a specific goal. Then think about how that relates to your target audience. If I'm a member of a committee that holds the purse-strings to a scholarship, I want to know more than just "this kid wants to get a PhD in theoretical physics." How does this goal relate to my goals with awarding this scholarship? Presumably those goals are making it easier for someone to make a positive impact on the world in general, but often scholarships are a lot more specific with aims to promote specific fields of study, or improve the overall state of a specific demographic of people.
      It can often be tricky to "sell" the more abstract goals of the physics community to members of the general public. How does predicting the mass of the Higgs boson make a difference in the average person's life? It's a lot easier to go after concerns that have a larger presence in the public eye: things like cancer or climate change.
    2. Articulate what's required for you to meet that goal. How will you know when it's been accomplished? How long will it take? What are the sub-goals that need to be met along the way and how do you plan to meet those?
    3. What's unique about you in the pursuit of this goal? Presumably this committee is going to see a lot of other students competing for this money. Some of them may have very similar goals. Why differentiates you from them?
    4. Articulate any tangible evidence you have that supports the notion of you achieving this goal. It's great to want to solve a big problem, but what can the people on this committee see that will convince them you have a high probability of achieving this goal?
    5. Make it clear how the scholarship will help you to achieve that goal. I think often students can assume that this is obvious, but think about the barriers that it will help you to overcome. Likely the committee will want to know that the scholarship is going to help you pay tuition without having to work two jobs while studying, rather than free up your allowance so you can buy a new snowboard for your winter break in Whistler.
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