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Photonics vs Physics vs Mathematics

  1. Aug 7, 2012 #1
    Hello, I was wondering if perhaps someone could provide some insight as to the PhD program that would prepare me the best for what I would like to do research in one day. I am currently a mathematics undergrad with 2 semesters left. I am torn between getting a PhD in photonics, physics, and mathematics. Im just not sure which would be the best fit for my area of interest. The area I am interested in doing research is energy advancement i.e. anti-matter annihilation, fusion, photonic laser thrusters etc. Also, if one were to suggest say physics as the most appropriate for these areas of research, is there a particular area of physics that would be best? Mathematical physics? Particle physics? Theoretical physics? etc. Same with math, if one were to suggest math as an appropriate fit what would be better, applied or pure? Thank you for any and all honest feedback, I'm sure a lot of questions come through here like this, but I just can't seem to pick out which would benefit me the most in a research energy industry. Ideally I would like to go to graduate school in an area of mathematics, including mathematical physics, applied or pure math, and if one of these will get me into the above areas of research please let me know and which one, however, if an area of physics would be a better fit I would be more than willing to make the switch.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2012 #2
    Applied or engineering physics in general. But pure physics does as well.

    "Applied" mathematics. The difference between pure and applied mathematics as study disciplines is that their emphasis is slightly different. But not very different.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  4. Aug 7, 2012 #3
    But with a degree in applied mathematics would I be a viable candidate for getting hired to do research in antimatter research or fusion? Thank you for your response
  5. Aug 7, 2012 #4
    I think it depends on how many courses you've studied in physics. If you've not done enough then it may require you to take more physics courses from somewhere or prove your knowledge of physics in other ways. Hiring also depends on the person and your previous research in the topic. In the admission to a PhD program they would be looking that you've studied relevant studies, have done some research (at minimum a thesis/dissertation that relates to the subject at some level) and/or have done some publications relating to the subject. Also work experience, if it's something related to the research.
  6. Aug 7, 2012 #5
    Interesting. I definitely like the idea of applied mathematics. I like it's broad spectrum of application. Im just afraid that if I went down this route I may not be useful in energy advancement research. But I agree that will probably be reliant on my thesis indeed.
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