1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal 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 or Engineering ,please help

  1. Aug 5, 2008 #1
    Hi, i knowthere were surely enough of such threads.:blushing:

    Well, the problem here in the country i live in is that there is a clean seperation.
    With a bachelor in physics you can't do a master in engineering.
    I have lookd up several universities, but no chance.
    Also vice-versa.

    I like to understand but also to apply the knowledge, to research, to create and to develop. So technology in general.
    The knowledge alone is not enough for me, it is what you make of it.

    I could be interested in :

    - Nanotechnology ( i know, this means much but also nothing, what i mean is not the optimization of materials, but all those things in those pop-science-world , nanobots etc....)

    - Biophysics

    - Molecular electronics /engineering

    - Energy-technology (fusion-energy and so on)

    But is Physics the right way to go?

    I want applications, and not just some simulation or chalk on the board.

    I just can't decide.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2008 #2
    I don't know what the recent progresses are, actually.

    But if the fundamentals are still not enough, there is not much to apply or to create.

    I want the nanobots to become reality.
  4. Aug 5, 2008 #3
    Are there any Biophysics Applications?

    Or in "nanotechnology", is there anything else besides material, surface engineering?
  5. Aug 6, 2008 #4

  6. Aug 6, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    It looks like the fields you're currently interested in are more engineering related than physics-related, though this probably differs depending on geography. You might want to see if your college offers hybrid majors such as "engineering physics" or "applied physics"
  7. Aug 6, 2008 #6
    oh, thanks, first answer :) :

    No there is the problem.
    The country i live in.
    And those few colleges that have "applied physics" are really unknown and have no or bad reputation, so almost no chance for me to get a master in a foreign country.

    I was so surprised when i read several threads of other users what engineering master to choose after a physics bachelor and vice-versa.

    Or actually....if i get a top bachelor in physics, and want to complete the master in USA for example, can i get an engineering master then?

    I want to leave the current country anyways.
  8. Aug 6, 2008 #7


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Sure it's possible, just look up some the websites of some engineering grad schools in the US.
  9. Aug 6, 2008 #8
    Meh, somehow i am really in a difficult situation.

    I just can't decide.

    So many interesting stuffs and i have to restrict it to a few.

    But one thing is definetely sure.
    I am not gonna be theoretical phsyicist , perhaps as a hobby it is ok (just like Einstein , who did it in his free-time).

    I want to be creative.
    (Try to) invent new technologies.

    The only question is, which way is the better one to pick to reach the goals.
  10. Aug 6, 2008 #9
    One more question^^

    In the US, which university has the best faculty for bio-nano-technology?
  11. Aug 7, 2008 #10
    And to ask the other way round.

    As an engineer, how possible is it to get in touch with (molecolar)nanotechnology without it being just material engineering?
  12. Aug 7, 2008 #11
    Actually what i am aiming at is transhumanism, which is the frame.
  13. Aug 7, 2008 #12
    Some hints? :(
  14. Aug 8, 2008 #13
    What do you think of Cybernetics?

    I read that they are the generalists among the engineers.
  15. Aug 8, 2008 #14


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Well the fields you're listing fall under the scope of majors such as electrical and computer engineering, I'll say it leans more to electrical/electronic since you're more interested in biomedical engineering. This probably differs by country, but biomed engineering is considered more of a grad specialisation than a bachelor's degree.
  16. Aug 8, 2008 #15
    Hm the optimal course i can think should atleast contain the following lectures:

    Maths +(Bio)informatics +
    Biophysics + Condensed Matter physics + Solid state physics
    + electrical engineering + mechanical engineering
    + chemistry

    But i couldn't find anything like this, not in the country i live in (Germany...).

    Actually i am fine if Molecular Nanotechnology as a course would be offered...
  17. Aug 8, 2008 #16


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It sounds like you're trying to squish advanced concepts into a general program. You can't start with biophysics, for example. You need to begin with basic physics and biology and work your way up.

    With such a diverse range of interests, you should look for a program that starts out fairly general with courses in physics, math, biology, and chemistry and perhaps one that would also allow you to easily tranfer to an engineering program. Once you experience these subjects at a university level, you'll be in a better position to decide which science or engineering field you'll enjoy.

    If you decide then, to pursue physics for example - don't worry about a fancy title like "honours nanotechnobabble" - just do an honours physics degree. You can select a sub-specialty once you get into graduate school.
  18. Aug 8, 2008 #17
    Yeah, i know basics are maths , physics, chemistry and some biology.

    The problem is that i need to decide now for a bachelor course.
    As i mentioned, once i get a bachelor in science (physics for example), the way for a master in engineering won't be existing anymore.

    Now, i am really trying hard to look up every university here and try to find the curriculum and the specific courses.
    Some "unknown" universities here are actually offering a more versatile programm than the "top" unis here.

    Also there is a problem with the reputation of the university i study in, i think.
    To apply for a master in a foreign country, the name plays a big role.

    What do you think?

    Is it harder to gain knowledge from engineering stuffs or pure science stuffs?

    I need to learn besides courses anyways to give me a broader perspective.

    The question is which way.
    More engineering at uni and read pure scientific books to teach it myself or the other way round?

    Thanks for any advice :D
  19. Aug 8, 2008 #18


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Nothing you've said indicates you're interested in a physics degree. I'd say you should start with some kind of an engineering or materials science degree. You're not going to be a researcher in "bionanotechnology" (a field which does not exist in any meaningful form today) without a Ph.D., so plan ahead: choose a curriculum which can lead you to a Ph.D.

    - Warren
  20. Aug 9, 2008 #19
    Sounds like engineering is your calling. Most of physics can't be applied. Once you get into the deep theories, they will remain on paper for quite some time.

    Einstein was not a theoretical phycist "as a hobby". His degree was in physics and he studied physics theory all his life. He was employed as a patent clerk because he could not find a teaching post. His education, and his free-time, was devoted to physics.

    If you want to attempt to model the world around you with math, the way Newton and Einstein did, then that is physics. If you want to apply this knowledge to technology, that is engineering.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  21. Aug 9, 2008 #20
    Yeah, that was an over-statement.
    What i meant is that he actually did what he wanted to do in his "free-time".

    I think i will def. go into the the direction of engineering.

    I mean, assuming that i would be a great theoretical physicist.
    I won't see any technologies in my life-time that will use the theory if it is even possible.

    The only question i ask is actually.

    Do we have all fundamentals for nanotechnology, so that is "only" a matter of engineering or do we lack major knowledge.

    How far away are we from the 3rd stage actually?

    Well anyways, in Germany there is a more clean seperation between science and engineering.
    Unfortunately nanoscience/technology is devoted to science.

    Or i have to wait one more year and apply for the ETH Z├╝rich (the MIT of Europe ^^) where Nanotechnology is definitely devoted to engineering.
  22. Aug 9, 2008 #21


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Are you sure grad schools in Germany only accept specialised Bachelors in those respective courses and disallow cross-overs from related fields? I did a quick search on Google and Wikipedia and could find this particular Master's program in the Biotec Centre of the University of Dresden:

    Granted this is for international students, but I don't suppose they would treat native Germans any differently.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  23. Aug 9, 2008 #22
    This is a hugely interdisciplinary field. Material Engineers with need to fabricate and design the nano materials, while an electrical engineer would work on on making it robotic and a biologist or biological engineer would have to make sure your body doesn't rape it or it doesn't rape your body.
  24. Aug 9, 2008 #23


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    One could look at the possibility of a physics/engineering double major. If one is interested in nanotechnology, then a physics and materials science double major might the thing.

    As for studying in the US, I recently read statistics that indicated about 40% of MS degrees and the majority of PhD's awarded in the US go to foreign students. I've had a few people in industry indicate to me that they prefer to hire foreign students since they appear to be smarter and work harder than graduates from US undergrad programs.
  25. Aug 14, 2008 #24
    Yeah, this would be the only university that offers this possibility.

    But i don't know.
    As Eric Drexler said MNT is an engineering field in the first place.
    But today we are far from that state...
    I don't like it that today it is mostly about some optimization of materials.


    The 4th state would be wonderfull.
  26. Aug 14, 2008 #25


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    As said earlier by others, graduate fields such as nanotech is an interdisciplinary field which requires students from many related fields. So I do not think it's true that grad schools anywhere in the world offering nanotech would limit their intake to that of a single discipline. And anyway that random grad college I posted earlier was really random; it was the first grad school website I found whose admissions page was translated to English. So I don't see how it's likely that I stumbled upon the only university (with some name recognition) who offers this grad discipline for various undergrad degrees.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook