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Physics and renewable energy

  1. Mar 3, 2009 #1
    i'm in my third year studying environmental engineering and i'm trying to decide what to do for grad school. my favorite subject is physics by far; i've really enjoyed my courses in dynamics, fluid mechanics, E & M, and statistical mechanics, which i'm taking as an elective. i also really liked my computational methods classes. i've considered switching my major to pure physics, but i have a strong desire to work on applied projects, rather than doing theoretical research. also, job security is pretty important to me.

    i'd like to go into something involving renewable energy, but i'm not sure what aspect. i've heard that mechanical engineers are often involved in power production in a number of ways, and also that a lot of advances in solar technology come from materials science.

    i like the sound of materials science because i would get to learn a lot more physics. but i get the sense (i may be completely mistaken) that most advances in that field come from experiment, and i'm not interested in doing precise lab work with chemicals and such. i'm more interested in doing calculations, simulations and design.

    it seems like a lot of interesting physics is involved in mechanical engineering too, but i'm not sure if I would get to work on any truly innovative renewable energy technologies as a mechanical engineer. this may also be completely wrong. i've also thought about other degrees like applied physics or engineering physics or engineering mechanics, but i don't know much about what the differences between these are.

    do you guys have any advice about how to job in the renewable energy field that involves interesting physics?
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 3, 2009 #2
    Ocean and wind energy involve a lot of fluid mechanics which is well within the scope of ME.
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