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Physics Physics and Computer Science Career

  1. Oct 6, 2005 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I graduate with a degree in Physics years back here in our country. My thesis involved developing support software for a LIDAR facility in our university. I've been working as a programmer ever since, mostly using Delphi and Java. I'm really interested in Physics (that's why I took that course) and would like to pursue a career in both Physics and software programming. Can anyone recommend a career path that I can more or less have as a guide as a starter? I'd like to know what fields in Physics I can work as a software developer and what skills (programming languages/other software/hardware) as a software develop should I study.

    Thank you very much! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2005 #2


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    Most major schools have a graduate degree in computational physics. Now I'm not sure if these are "software oriented" in the typical sense, but you will get a feel of what is being used, what is needed, and what is useful, in physics applications. This is especially true if you are in the field of high energy physics, condensed matter, and beam/accelerator physics, where numerical simulations can be crucial in the design of a particular facility or equipment.

    From my personal knowledge, I think you may want to look into the computational aspect of beam/accelerator physics, because there is a huge need for numerical packages for a number of applications.

    BTW, it is almost impossible to give advice to someone without knowing where in the world that person is. What I said above with respect to "most major schools" may be completely irrelevant to you. So people, fill in your PROFILE so that if you happen to forget to tell us where you are when you ask these kinds of questions, we can look it up!

  4. Mar 28, 2006 #3
    Hi Zapper,

    Do you know any introductory books on computational physics and numerical analysis that you can recommend? I'm starting to read up on this field and currently, the university i'm targeting here in our country (Philippines) does not offer this course so i'm doing some research on my own.

    Thanks in advance.
  5. Mar 29, 2006 #4


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    I don't have any good text to recommend for computational physics. Maybe someone else here who has taken this class recently can recommend one.

    You may also want to "troll" various physics dept. websites and see if a few of them list the texts they are using for their computatonal classes. That usually is a good start on which texts to use.

  6. Mar 29, 2006 #5
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Mar 29, 2006 #6
    Landau's Book is pretty basic(my undergraduate Text)...Its called i Believe intro to Computational Physics.

    Are you looking for like higher level physics...if not Game Physics might be an optional career or Physics-Based VR.
  8. Mar 30, 2006 #7
    Thanks for all the answers guys. I'll look those links up.

    Right, Game Physics is an option, although the "science" side might be limited, i'm definitely considering that as well. Also, hardcore game programming isn't that big here in the Philippines so I might have to look for jobs outside our country.

    If anyone else has suggestion, i'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks :D
  9. Mar 30, 2006 #8
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  10. Mar 30, 2006 #9
    Not to disappointe, but I should point out that you're "ahead" of me! I'm only a high school student, on to start my physics degree this fall. I've only recently started to meddle with this stuff myself (with VPython, actually). I started with an interest in CS and then swayed more into physics.

    Yep, that basically sums up my career in computational physics :smile:.
  11. Mar 31, 2006 #10


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    Like in one of the 'sister' threads,


    one workable approach to sway into the topic is 'straight' via condensed matter and learn the numerical methods in the process to the extent needed (assuming some familiarity with software dev has been attained somehow). After learning the language of numerical methods (which would be 'elementary' numerical analysis and stuff like that) deepening the understanding and abilities in the specific fields of interest is imho possible. I don't know whether there is one complete text available which could use to actually 'learn' the field, there are books around which do a good job describing elementaries of the field (seach amazon for one for 'computational physics', don't have preference really, don't think there is one book for it all :wink: but any of the newer ones is likely a good 'kickstarter') and in some cases particular areas of 'it', but other than that the area seems quite vast beyond introductory level (personally I'd emphasize the 'physics' part of it, once you got the physics part of the area of interest handled 'tolerably', then proceeding to computational methods of the particular field seems straightforward [and is the easier direction with better yield imho, computational is "just" computational and the methods keep "repeating" themselves :biggrin: ]).
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