Popular physics?

  • #1
Hi I was wondering what is the most popular branch of physics? During undergraduate studies what branch do students try do their research in and for their phd what branch or subject do most do?
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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Condensed matter is the largest subfield.
 
  • #3
How come? I would think everyone would want to do astrophysics or cosmology or string theory, or particle physics.
 
  • #4
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The job opportunities in those research field are far fewer than Condensed Matter Physics.
 
  • #6
Oh also what kind of jobs?
 
  • #7
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Chemical companies, nano technology research, electronics companies, universities, nano-fabrication facilities, it depends on what you specialize in.
 
  • #8
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You asked what it is - now you seem to be arguing that their interests should be the same as your interests.
 
  • #9
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The job opportunities in those research field are far fewer than Condensed Matter Physics.
I don't think that necessary follows. There will always be more jobs in big fields than small ones. That's the definition of "big".
 
  • #10
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Wait, does that mean it is also the most competitive?
 
  • #11
You asked what it is - now you seem to be arguing that their interests should be the same as your interests.
You don't need to be offended. I was just asking because I know a lot of people who are more interested in those fields mostly space stuff.
 
  • #12
You don't need to be offended. I was just asking because I know a lot of people who are more interested in those fields mostly space stuff.
Interested in a 'popular science' kind of way, I imagine, rather than an 'actual science' way. When you find out what the work actually involves you might change your mind too. I considered cosmology as I find it fascinating, but the reason I didn't pursue it was that I wanted to do something with a focus on practical applications in the real world. I considered that I might want a position in industry some day, and cosmology isn't there in an industrial setting.
 
  • #13
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The job opportunities in those research field are far fewer than Condensed Matter Physics.
Also funding for graduate students is higher.

The other thing is that astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics are *very* different from the way that it is portrayed in the popular media. For example, string theory is totally useless for any sort of cosmology and pretty close to useless for most types of particle physics.
 
  • #14
lisab
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How come? I would think everyone would want to do astrophysics or cosmology or string theory, or particle physics.
Condensed matter is *way* cool :cool:
 
  • #15
Interested in a 'popular science' kind of way, I imagine, rather than an 'actual science' way. When you find out what the work actually involves you might change your mind too. I considered cosmology as I find it fascinating, but the reason I didn't pursue it was that I wanted to do something with a focus on practical applications in the real world. I considered that I might want a position in industry some day, and cosmology isn't there in an industrial setting.
How do cosmologists work
 
  • #16
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How do cosmologists work
Look at telescopes, run computer simulations, try to figure out how all the pieces of the universe fit together. Get your fingers messy with data. Lots of data.

I think Hawking is a brilliant scientist and anything that helps popularize science can't be all bad but.....

1) most of the work in cosmology isn't about the what happens at time=zero. Very little of it is, because we just don't know that much about the physics of time zero. Most of the work in cosmology involves rather well established bits of physics, and people try to minimize the weird physics as much as possible.

2) it's all very data driven, which means that you spend a huge amount of time just reducing data. This means that the areas of cosmology that you see a lot of progress aren't the t=0 areas but the t=1 million years which we can actually see. There's also a lot of statistics in cosmology.
 
  • #17
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I'd imagine astroparticle physics to be the same. I enjoy particle physics and astrophysics so I've decided on astroparticle physics. If things don't turn out this way then I can go into Condensed Matter Physics, there isn't any particular field I hate, I just find some more interesting than others.
 
  • #18
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You don't need to be offended. I was just asking because I know a lot of people who are more interested in those fields mostly space stuff.
Maybe you should also mention what level of education you are currently pursuing (high school/undergraduate). It is however true that space physics and particle physics related areas are usually the ones which attract high school students towards physics (IMO though :smile:).
 
  • #19
@Kevin_Axion: At what stage are you currently in your career? How exactly can you switch your field into consensed matter if things don't work out in Astroparticles?
 
  • #20
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It's a hypothetical situation, but I've decided that I want to get into Condensed Matter Physics, it's just logical economically and greatly rewarding. I'm in Grade 11, I wasn't implying that I study Physics rather that I wish to.
 
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