1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics Physics Careers - Only two branches?

  1. Jun 15, 2011 #1
    Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Is physics careers only broken up into two branches?

    Basically all I've seen was theoretical and experimental careers..

    What else is there?? (physics related, not engineering or wall street )
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2011 #2
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    There is also computational.
     
  4. Jun 15, 2011 #3
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Kind of like programming and what I see at NASA with people sitting at desks?
     
  5. Jun 15, 2011 #4
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Mainly it is programming, modeling, running simulations.
     
  6. Jun 15, 2011 #5
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    What is the difference between theoretical and computational physics?
     
  7. Jun 15, 2011 #6
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Why are you even thinking in these silly experimental vs. theoretical terms? You're not going to decide on a career of a theroretical or experimental physicist, you're going to decide what you want to do and go from there.
     
  8. Jun 16, 2011 #7
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    I"m curious at the least, I would like to know.
     
  9. Jun 16, 2011 #8
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Management and full time grant writer being the other options : )

    Seriously, you should decide want you want to do and go from there. If you advance in your physics career the line isn't so clear cut between experimentalists and theorists.
     
  10. Jun 16, 2011 #9
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Management and full time grant writer being the other options : )

    Seriously, you should decide want you want to do and go from there. If you advance in your physics career the line isn't so clear cut between experimentalists and theorists.
     
  11. Jun 16, 2011 #10
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Really? I was always under the impression that you are either an "experimentalist" or a theorist. I'm confused, can you elaborate with examples?
     
  12. Jun 16, 2011 #11

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    You'll figure it out as you go along, just like everyone else does.
     
  13. Jun 16, 2011 #12
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    I can't, I need to figure out my career plan and have as close as 100% confidence in it as possible (I'm leaning toward theoretical). Why is it so simple for people to plan their whole life?

    Maybe I'm just an overly complex person. =/
     
  14. Jun 16, 2011 #13
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    They don't.
     
  15. Jun 17, 2011 #14
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Many people plan their whole lives. Then they find that life turns out nothing remotely close to what they had planned. They learn and realise that they can plan but that attempting to have 100% control of the future is an exercise in futility.
     
  16. Jun 17, 2011 #15

    fss

    User Avatar

    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Well that's probably not going to happen, and is a pretty meaningless concept anyways.
     
  17. Jun 17, 2011 #16

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    You cannot do that as a scientist, and indeed, if you tried it, you wouldn't be very good at it. Most of what I spend my time on didn't even exist when I was a graduate student. Whole subfields have been born and died in that time.
     
  18. Jun 17, 2011 #17
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    Wow, speechless. I didn't know it was to that extent, thanks.
     
  19. Jun 17, 2011 #18

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    In fact, the hell with being a scientist, people typically can't plan their life period. People may have a general idea "oh i want to work in the science field" or "I don't want to have too many kids", but when you try to sort out the details, things typically will fall apart on you within months. You may decide upon a plan, but the world doesn't care what your plan is.

    On a personal note, I have an example that fits this idea well. I was hoping to go to a phd school in California in a physics department. I put extra attention into my application to UC campuses. I figured I'd go to a school, get a TA position, not have to pay for anything. What ended up happening? One of the departments I applied to didn't even allow admissions this semester (possibly shutting down?), the UCs get huge budget cuts (I heard some departments cut enrollment by 2/3), and I got rejected by most of them. Now I'm going to end up at Georgia Tech in an engineering department (although the work is the same so it's not really a big deal).

    The more I look into the real details of living in Atlanta, it ends up looking like I almost missed the greatest opportunity ever! Without going into the details, it looks like a fantastic place, a great school, and my quality of living will probably be a whole lot better compared to living in a cramp space with 3 other people barely getting by in a desert climate in a state that's falling apart (I won't exactly name which UC I'm talking about). The point is, don't try to plan out your entire life because you might find that you're going to get knocked off that path and onto an even better path in the end.
     
  20. Jun 17, 2011 #19
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    There are things like medical physics, engineering, teaching, writing, and even police forensics...figuring out where a bullet came from or analyzing car crashes to determine vehicle speeds etc. Physics is a very broad field with a lot of applications.
     
  21. Jun 24, 2011 #20
    Re: Physics Careers -- Only two branches?

    You can't, and yet the path to becoming a successful scientist seems to require it. What do you think would happen if this guy applied to a top-30 physics PhD program without showing any sense of life direction in his application/interviews/etc.

    He'd probably get rejected.

    I'm a college senior at the moment, and I'm getting a bit stressed out over convincing myself that I'm super-passionate about working in one specific field of physics or engineering, because I'm not, really. Yet I have to apply to grad school next semester. If I were to spend a semester soul searching, the banks would force me to start paying off my student loans...and I really don't feel like doing that.

    Everyone seems to say that their life went completely differently than they planned it, but if you're applying to any sort of graduate school you need to still need to come up with some sort of road map.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Physics Careers - Only two branches?
  1. Physics as a career (Replies: 3)

  2. Career in physics (Replies: 5)

Loading...