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Programs Physics or Engineering comparison?

  1. Aug 30, 2016 #1


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    I love physics/maths/ETC..

    I'M considering physics and doing relevant preparation(Only in y11(15 years old))...

    Just wondering if there are any benefits to engineering in comparison?

    This include all aspects like satisfaction/pay/Amount of science involved/ETC...?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2016 #2
    Nobody can say if there are any benefits to engineering over physics (or physics over engineering) except you.

    Bear in mind that engineering and physics are completely different beasts. How do you feel about being in academia, doing research? On the other hand, do you picture yourself working in industry, designing products, building stuff? It's the kind of question you should ask yourself. The amount of science involved is quite different. Engineers study basic physics (mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics...) as a way of learning the fundamentals to more advanced stuff that you will apply in real world engineering problems. Engineering is the application of science. You won't be concerned only with the physics and the math: you will have to analyze costs, go on meetings, manage people. You will learn a great deal of science, too, but you won't be deriving equations everyday when you get to work (you won't ever do that, actually).

    Of course you could get into a R&D (research and development) position, and I fear you would get to use more of your science background to develop new ideas for projects and products inside a company.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  4. Aug 30, 2016 #3


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    Are there any other roles for physics apart from research and where are the top place for physicist to work like CERN or NASA?
  5. Aug 30, 2016 #4
    Someone else probably could answer to this better than me (I'm into engineering, not physics), but there are positions for physicists outside academia (although this is probably not that common). Sometimes, physicists end up working in engineering positions (but that is not common, also). As for NASA and CERN, I think that the physicists working in there will be PhDs doing academic work, since those places are all doing research.
  6. Aug 30, 2016 #5


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    Do you know any other top research facilities apart from CERN and NASA?..

    Also i often hear the physics as a degrees a lot more difficult and people who move from physics to engineering are smart because they know that physics is too difficultly(Joke obviously) but is there any degree of truth to this?
  7. Aug 30, 2016 #6
    LIGO comes to mind (https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/).

    Probably there are many national labs where someone with a physics degree could work, but I can't name them.

    Physics IS difficult, and also is engineering. Where I study, physics is the course with the highest dropout rate. But if you are passionate about it, you will overcome that. I know people that moved from physics to engineering, and also people that moved from engineering to physics. It's not about being difficult or not, it's about one course or the other not being your thing. Many students go after a engineering degree just to find out that it wasn't what they expected, and the same things happens with physics.
  8. Aug 30, 2016 #7

    Larry Gopnik

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    It's big a case of 'what is more difficult than the other', they all have their difficulties and some people are more suited to physics, some people are suited more to engineering.

    As for top facilities - Google it, it's not that hard. There are hundreds of brilliant places to work at. We're here to advise, not do your work for you. Only you know what you'll be interested in.
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