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Physics: Fields of study

  1. Nov 24, 2006 #1
    Hello everyone,

    Which fields of physics are the most popular these days, that everyone wants to get into? I'm suspecting that string theory is one of them...

    Which fields of physics aren't as popular, but still have a lot of open problems in them?

    Is it harder to get into grad school for popular physics fields?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2006 #2
    According to some outside source that I read at some point (perhaps not credible, can't remember), most physicists classify themselves as Condensed Matter physicists. So this is a popular field, but one that has a lot of potential in terms of employment. There are lots of openings in industry if you do condensed matter. Another popular one is astrophysics, but has less applications. As for popularity, I'm unsure. I would expect that it would be challenging to be accepted into an astrophysics program, since from my experience a lot of bright students go into this program, but take that with a grain of salt.
  4. Nov 24, 2006 #3
    That's the thing that confuses me. If a field is popular, does that mean there is a lot of potential for employment? Or does it mean that since so many people want to get into the field, it is saturated?
  5. Nov 29, 2006 #4
    i too will appreciate if there were more comments on this thread....ty
  6. Nov 29, 2006 #5
    At least at my school much of the research going on is either soild state and/or condensed (depends on the professor), nano-technology (which I think, personally, is more of an enigneering thing), and inderdisplinary physics (atmospheric, biophysic, and physical chemistry).

    We only have one "true" "Theorist" at my school.
  7. Nov 29, 2006 #6
    "Popular" might also depend on the institution. My graduate school had (and still has) MANY MANY candidates to the grad program wanting to do AMO -- "popular" because of the recent BEC flurry of publications.) With that regard, we often refused admission to candidate B that wanted to work for one of the main groups, but really didn't have the credentials of another admitted candidate A with similar research interests (and yet admit candidate C who was interested in a different field but had similar research experience and scores as candidate B).

    Applying to grad schools is a funny process, and it might be better to look at how many professors at each institution are doing research in your field of interest, and estimate how many applicants might be wanting to enter that field... and guess your chances at getting into the program.

    You really probably DON'T want to pick a field based on "popularity"... do what YOU are interested in... (and that MIGHT include some weighting by job prospects, but should not entirely). Base your grad application process on your credentials and interests to be efficient.
  8. Nov 29, 2006 #7

    I always prefered super symmetry and number theory applications in physics.

    Nanotechnology seems a hot topic
  9. Nov 29, 2006 #8
    So let's say I want to get into a certain field

    and that field happens to be a popular one, like there's a flurry of reports about it in general science magazines

    Does that mean that there will be better prospects for me to get a job because the government might want to invest in it? Or less because so many people want to get into it?
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