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Physics and Engineering

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  1. Jun 28, 2015 #1
    Hi, im 17 and going to college next year. I seem to have picked engineering physics but my real passion is physics. Is it possible for me regardless of my abilities call them average to read and study physics along with my engineering courses so i can get a phd in physics after this? My real question is how far apart are the job and knowledge of a physicist of a field of lets say my favourite quantum mechanics and that of an engineer?
    As im senior in high school my knowledge of mathematics will not go deeper than calculus diff equations linear alg and probability before i get to college. My real passion is doing quantum mechanics
     
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  3. Jun 28, 2015 #2

    QuantumCurt

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    Being an engineer and working in quantum mechanics are incredibly far from one another. QM doesn't even need to be considered in the majority of engineering.

    If you want a PhD in physics, then why would you study engineering as an undergrad? Why not just study physics?

    It's worth pointing out that 'quantum mechanics' isn't really a field of research, as such. At least not in the way that you seem to think it is. Quantum mechanics is a tool that people use to actually -do- physics.
     
  4. Jun 28, 2015 #3

    micromass

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    Why not double major? Or take a sufficient amount of extra courses in physics? If that's impossible, then you're going to have to choose between the more employable engineering degree and the more interesting (to you) degree of physics. You can gamble and do engineering physics with the option of going to grad school later. But that's risky.
     
  5. Jun 28, 2015 #4

    QuantumCurt

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    Depending on the school, Engineering Physics isn't that far from regular physics. I'm in the Specialized Physics Curriculum at UIUC, and one of my friends is in Engineering Physics. Engineering Physics includes the basic core physics classes, and depending on the concentration option and electives that one chooses, it's almost indistinguishable from Specialized Physics.
     
  6. Jun 29, 2015 #5
    The syllabus in the engineering school does incorporate many physics courses like physics 1 , 2 quantum mechanics, mathematical physics, and math is supposed to be rigorous applied kind. Is it hard for an engineer to catch up? Also double major, is it possible and also when do i pick majors, do they provide it at my school or do i have to go elsewhere to take physics courses?
     
  7. Jun 29, 2015 #6
    Not to downplay your passion, but you probably don't know what 'doing' quantum mechanics entails. Quantum mechanics is more of a research tool than a research area nowadays; now that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of areas that engineers and physicists coincide in that use quantum mechanics like quantum computation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computing), quantum electronic devices, nano-scale fabrication and so on. You'll often these in physics and electrical engineering departments. Engineering physics is still a viable option if you want to combine the two, I did a double major in physics and electrical engineering but I would say that's too many classes and a dedicated program which combines the two as part of the curriculum is preferable if you want to graduate in a reasonable time. You could always get a bachelors in physics and go to grad school in engineering or something in between like applied physics where your research is in something quantum heavy (Michigan has a very good program: http://www-applied.physics.lsa.umich.edu/ [Broken]). You're in high school, so you have plenty of time to do classes and research what it is you ultimately want to do, good luck.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  8. Jun 29, 2015 #7
    Yes of course, i know quantum mechanics is a tool nowadays applied most in engineering and building computers, but can you tell me what are of physicist now most interesting , like in 20th century classical mechanics was beginning to fail and all was focused on fixing the pots with new theories, what now creates the pots?
     
  9. Jun 29, 2015 #8

    QuantumCurt

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    Quantum mechanics is not used mostly in engineering and building computers. Quantum mechanics applies to very few aspects of engineering. Most engineering is fully within the realm of classical mechanics. QM is used most broadly in physics research because most of modern physics involves it in some capacity. Particles, condensed matter, biophysics, nuclear physics, and much of cosmology all utilize quantum mechanics as the language in which much of the actual work is done.

    Additionally, classical mechanics has never 'failed.' It's simply been found to be inadequate for explaining certain things. In the every day world, we still use classical mechanics. When we put probes on Mars, we are using classical mechanics to do it.
     
  10. Jun 29, 2015 #9

    SMPS-PHYSICS

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    Scientists are considered backbone of a nation. However they are promoted in public R&D sectors only. Private sectors does not have time to hire them. Instead of that they look for design engineers and technologists. If you like to spend affordable money and time for R&D then better you stick to physics. There are a lot of job opportunities for physicists. If you like to make projects then engineering is better. However if you can survive in failures, want to start engineering design business then better you have access to right clients with indigenous designs offer.
     
  11. Jun 29, 2015 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    You know, just last week I was talking to a physicist who does computational fluid dynamics for a well-known maker of aircraft engines.
     
  12. Jul 5, 2015 #11

    SMPS-PHYSICS

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    The answer is simple! Every profession has its high and low points. I after 15+ years of electronics design including last 6+ years of registered design consultancy experience now taking U turn and looking for physics teaching job in local market. I have degree in physics. The plus point is I would get many opportunities of research work of physics within affordable money as expenses. I know practically that engineering projects are not of low expenses in nature and may left you with no money in hand. Other important thing is in design engineering you have to make projects in any case and you can't avoid them. In physics you have to give lecture and that is the main job. Doing projects in physics is the secondary thing and can satisfy your thirst of experimentation and research. This thing is also in true pace with human body.

    Hence you have perceived that in my case it is the desire of affordable research and development that would keep me in physics in any case. At the start I may get payed low income but in future I'm sure that I can earn a reasonable amount. Are you money conscious? If you are money conscious then better you choose some business that does not require your knowledge of physics and engineering. You have just wasted your time in learning these subjects then. Better you from the beginning had been money conscious.

    The research and development in science is strongly supported in christian based countries. In muslims, for example, you will notice that only middle class is inducted in such professions with low wages. That is why very few people get attraction in non-christian type countries. So global market and it's political effects should also be considered. In muslim countries you would find people in R&D field frustrating and always looking for opportunities abroad there in christian based countries. Also there is a biasing politically that you would never see any muslim country in the list of western manufacturers marketing representative countries page.
     
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