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Physics and space im new

  1. Apr 19, 2012 #1
    physics and space!! im new

    hello im new here. I'm 21 years and currently don't attend school so I'm not even working towards a certain degree or career. But I know I will eventually be an astrophysicist (2nd to doing IT in the army soon). I have a strong passion towards astrophysics.

    I believed the big bang theory and I figured thats how the earth was created before I even knew what physics was and I have that mindset of using physics in my daily life with anything that deals with mass lol.

    I would LOVE to be an astrophysicist above and beyond anything else in the world.

    I didn't do good in high school academically and skipped pretty much half my high school years.
    so I never had an academic drive or goal during my school years.

    But its the commitment i'm scared of mostly, but yes I would put my life into it and study astrophysics until I die, but I also gotta worry about the job economy and the future of my life just in case I wont be able to make a living in astrophysics, I know you get paid a lot but i'm not gonna assume that there's a job ready for me once i'm out of school (hence why i have a different career in mind). we can all agree that there's not enough time to do everything you want to do, but I cant sacrifice everything for this career because I need to live in the future.

    after all that reading.. what is everyone's opinion on going the career path of being an astrophysicist?

    how time consuming and how much focus is required? I have the motivation! theres no need to question that.

    I know I have the mind capability of taking this as my career because its my passion ( who wouldn't like to have a passion as your life long job? and yes... all mass was created from energy and that is who I believe my "god" is... ENERGY!

    how about learning PHYSICS and space in general to begin with..? astrophysics would be the next level :P
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2012 #2


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    Re: physics and space!! im new

    Job market not very good. The number of spots opening annually for astrophysicists is woefully small compared to the number of qualified applicants. Think hundreds to one. As such, it's obviously not a safe bet.

    A lot. An undergraduate preparation for astrophysics is equivalent to one in physics, which is challenging for many. After that, 5-6 years of intense graduate study as well. You say you have motivation, but it's difficult to tell, seeing as you've never actually done any physics or astronomy. Once you've spent six months, a year, two years grinding through mathematics, reducing data, and banging your head against the wall for 12hrs/day, you'll see where your motivation is. Passion should not be confused with motivation. It's really tough (read: impossible) to predict something like this before you've ever done it.

    If you really want to probe this a little deeper, the first step is obviously to do an undergraduate degree in astronomy or physics (doesn't really matter which, I'd recommend physics). Then you can decide whether or not you want to take the next step to graduate school. Then after another 5-6 years, you can decide whether you want to wade into the sea of postdocs. It's a long road, with several convenient exit points if you find it's not for you.
  4. Apr 19, 2012 #3
    Re: physics and space!! im new

    already found my exit point ill be doing physics after my 4 year IT, thanks
  5. Apr 20, 2012 #4
    Re: physics and space!! im new

    I'm currently in my last semester to obtain a MS in physics with a strong background in Astronomy.

    Sorry Nabeshin but this is Slightly wrong.

    Phyxsean if you are into physics and astronomy try considering also learning programming because astronomy also requires to model data, map galaxies using computers, we also try to understand more about space-time through machines that are currently been built, and I can tell you right now that gravitational wave analysis is pretty fun. Right now there is a project called LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) where there are millions of dollars being invested in order to detect gravitational waves. There is also a space mission called LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) now taken over by the European Space Agency, which 4 years ago was also conducted by NASA. Not anymore. but still there are new projects coming up and many new cool things you can do with an MS in astrophysics.

    So my advice is to learn a new computer language, C/C++, Matlab, etc.. just learn to program and with an astrophysics degree and strong computer knowledge you can do many things. Trust me you just have too look.

    Don't let anyone tell you what you can't do. Follow the career you want and don't give up.
  6. Apr 21, 2012 #5
    Re: physics and space!! im new

    me too from I.T. background and decided to go for astrophysics
  7. Apr 21, 2012 #6


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    Re: physics and space!! im new

    I'm sorry, but I don't see how describing gravitational wave astronomy makes job prospects any more realistic. To be sure, computer skills are invaluable, and most astrophysicists have them in abundance which makes them extremely employable outside of academia, so in reality almost all people with PhD training in astronomy can get good jobs. I was referring specifically to jobs in academia. The number of professor positions opening per year is ~10 in astronomy. I don't know much about the job market for research positions outside of academia, at places like NASA or other gov't facilities, so maybe someone else can chime in on that.

    Depends what the OP wants to do, really. If he wants to be a professor and do academic research in astrophysics, its a fact that this is an extraordinarily competitive road to walk down. That's all I meant.
  8. May 11, 2012 #7
    Re: physics and space!! im new

    I'm new here too and also an amateur with a keen interest. Like you I was 100% sure as a child that I was going to be an astrophysicist, but life doesn't run that course for many. So my humble advice would be not to try and rush it, and you only need to worry about the job prospects when you are almost in the position of being able to consider them because times change, new companies and agencies open and who knows what could be available to you then.

    Also please don't sacrifice any amazing opportunities that are offered to you along the way for the sake of getting where you want to be in a hurry, you could miss out! I have 2 small children and would like to have at least 2 more. Fitting the necessary studies around that (in physics anyway) would be impossible due to the workload. So in the mean time I am doing a degree in classical studies as it keeps my mind active and I find the work rather easy when compared to the likes of astrophysics where my brain really has to work hard!

    Don't know if that helps at all but I thought I would stick my two pence in as I was thinking the exact same things when I was 21 :)
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