Quantum Physics Career With Bachelor's Degree?

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  • #1
EarthCookie
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Hello! I wanted to work first before I go to grad school for Ph.D in physics (especially in quantum). I wanted to work in a field close to quantum physics, but I was wondering if there were such jobs for those with bachelor's degree in physics?
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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There is no such thing as a "job in quantum". It's like a "job in calculation" for math or a "job in evolution" for biology. it's far too broad. Can you narrow it down?
 
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  • #3
EarthCookie
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There is no such thing as a "job in quantum". It's like a "job in calculation" for math or a "job in evolution" for biology. it's far too broad. Can you narrow it down?
Thank you! I am curious since I wanted to go into quantum physics for PhD program. But I also wish to work for few years due to personal reason. I wanted to use my time effectively by working in a field that will aid me to gain experience in quantum physics.
 
  • #4
Dr Transport
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You don't go to school for a quantum degree. It is a tool.
 
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  • #5
EarthCookie
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You don't go to school for a quantum degree. It is a tool.
Thank you. I should have been more specific. I want to go for school that utilizes quantum physics such as understanding theory.
 
  • #6
PeroK
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Thank you. I should have been more specific. I want to go for school that utilizes quantum physics such as understanding theory.
Do you have a Bachelor's degree in physics?
 
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  • #7
Dr Transport
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Thank you. I should have been more specific. I want to go for school that utilizes quantum physics such as understanding theory.
Still needs quite a bit of refinement.

Quantum Mechanics is a tool used in Condensed Matter, High Energy, Nuclear, Atomic and Molecular, Statistical etc... It isn't a research subject per say.
 
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  • #8
jtbell
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Some physicists do work on foundations of quantum theory: interpretations of QT, experimental tests of Bell's theorem, etc.
 
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  • #9
Vanadium 50
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With a BS? And with a BS that might not be in physics? (PeroK's question)
 
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  • #10
EarthCookie
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Do you have a Bachelor's degree in physics?
Yes, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in physics.
 
  • #11
PeroK
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Yes, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in physics.
If you did go straight for a PhD in Physics what options would you be thinking about? You must have a good idea of what you'd want to do, even if you don't want to embark on that yet.
 
  • #12
EarthCookie
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Still needs quite a bit of refinement.

Quantum Mechanics is a tool used in Condensed Matter, High Energy, Nuclear, Atomic and Molecular, Statistical etc... It isn't a research subject per say.
Ah I see now! It seems I was not clear in terms of that. Thank you. I believe I need to do more research. Thank you for the clarification.
 
  • #13
EarthCookie
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Some physicists do work on foundations of quantum theory: interpretations of QT, experimental tests of Bell's theorem, etc.
Thank you! I will look into this more in detail.
 
  • #14
EarthCookie
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If you did go straight for a PhD in Physics what options would you be thinking about? You must have a good idea of what you'd want to do, even if you don't want to embark on that yet.
I am now recognizing I am not prepared yet, and I apologize for my ill preparedness. Thank you for helping me with this. Would you be kind as to what kind of options are there? I am quite new to graduate school.
 
  • #15
EarthCookie
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With a BS? And with a BS that might not be in physics? (PeroK's question)
To clarify, I do have bachelor’s degree in physics. So I hope that clears up a little bit. Thank you!
 
  • #16
Dr Transport
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To clarify, I do have bachelor’s degree in physics. So I hope that clears up a little bit. Thank you!

So you have a degree in physics, did they not do any applications of quantum mechanics to solid state (Kronig-Penney model) or the approximations to the helium atom (atomic and molecular), or quantum statistical mechanics for properties of gases?
 
  • #17
EarthCookie
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So you have a degree in physics, did they not do any applications of quantum mechanics to solid state (Kronig-Penney model) or the approximations to the helium atom (atomic and molecular), or quantum statistical mechanics for properties of gases?
Unfortunately, no. I did not use quantum physics as much at my previous school. Therefore, I wanted to go more in depth of using quantum physics at graduate school.
 
  • #18
Dr Transport
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Unfortunately, no. I did not use quantum physics as much at my previous school. Therefore, I wanted to go more in depth of using quantum physics at graduate school.

you didn't have a class in quantum mechanics? Just another question, why did you apply to graduate school without any idea of what you wanted to do.
 
  • #19
EarthCookie
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you didn't have a class in quantum mechanics? Just another question, why did you apply to graduate school without any idea of what you wanted to do.
I have not applied to graduate school yet. Due to personal and family reasons, I could not go to graduate school right away (graduated in 2020). I wanted to go to graduate school but rather focusing upon the topic, I naively focused upon the tools (in my case quantum physics). Now, I will redirect my attention to what kind of program I would like to go rather than focusing upon the tool. I am not applying right now (rather couple years later). It is just that I would like be to prepare for graduate school by working to gain skill sets. I hope this helps, and thank you.
 
  • #20
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It sounds like you didn't get a good coverage of QM in school and want to rectify this in the workforce. I don't think this is likely to work out that way. Not many jobs where it's all "Jones! Calculate the energy levels of the hydrogen atom!"
 
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  • #21
EarthCookie
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It sounds like you didn't get a good coverage of QM in school and want to rectify this in the workforce. I don't think this is likely to work out that way. Not many jobs where it's all "Jones! Calculate the energy levels of the hydrogen atom!"
Thank you! That’s what I am trying to do. You clarified my point so clearly. So may I ask how to gain experience in quantum mechanics ?
 
  • #22
Dr Transport
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Thank you! That’s what I am trying to do. You clarified my point so clearly. So may I ask how to gain experience in quantum mechanics ?

take an actual course in it
 
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  • #23
Choppy
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What you're probably looking for is some kind of research assistant or lab technician position. In my experience these are rarely advertised. Often they come about as an undergraduate student starts out volunteering in a lab, and then develops some expertise at a particular task. The PI might then hire that student on for a year or so after they graduate if they need someone to keep turning the crank, and for whatever reason a grad student or post-doc isn't a better choice to do it. It can also help if you have some experience or skills at writing code.

It's difficult to find these positions as an outsider. They often come through word of mouth. So you often need to have a foot in the door. One thing you might consider, is asking around at your undergraduate school. Talk with your professors and see if they know of anyone who's looking to hire. Another option to follow up with is if your school has any kind of hub that helps researchers translate from "cool science idea" to "small business startup." Sometimes getting in touch with these groups can help you get your foot in the door with such endeavors as they begin. If you're not already a researcher, you might end up doing a lot more work on the business side of things at first, but it's something.

In my field, medical physics, we will often hire medical physics assistants to help out with basic QA work. Often the minimum requirement for these positions in a BSc in physics. It's often a good way to stay connected to the field while you figure out what your next step is going to be.
 
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  • #25
EarthCookie
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What you're probably looking for is some kind of research assistant or lab technician position. In my experience these are rarely advertised. Often they come about as an undergraduate student starts out volunteering in a lab, and then develops some expertise at a particular task. The PI might then hire that student on for a year or so after they graduate if they need someone to keep turning the crank, and for whatever reason a grad student or post-doc isn't a better choice to do it. It can also help if you have some experience or skills at writing code.

It's difficult to find these positions as an outsider. They often come through word of mouth. So you often need to have a foot in the door. One thing you might consider, is asking around at your undergraduate school. Talk with your professors and see if they know of anyone who's looking to hire. Another option to follow up with is if your school has any kind of hub that helps researchers translate from "cool science idea" to "small business startup." Sometimes getting in touch with these groups can help you get your foot in the door with such endeavors as they begin. If you're not already a researcher, you might end up doing a lot more work on the business side of things at first, but it's something.

In my field, medical physics, we will often hire medical physics assistants to help out with basic QA work. Often the minimum requirement for these positions in a BSc in physics. It's often a good way to stay connected to the field while you figure out what your next step is going to be.
Wow this was so informative! I really appreciate it, and I will look into this more! Thank you so much!
 
  • #26
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I think it's important to understand that these lab tech positions are unlikely to improve your QM. There may be other good reasons to do them, but you shouldn't expect them to cover for classwork that was less-than-ideal.
 
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  • #27
EarthCookie
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I think it's important to understand that these lab tech positions are unlikely to improve your QM. There may be other good reasons to do them, but you shouldn't expect them to cover for classwork that was less-than-ideal.
I see. I will take the advice to take courses in QM. Afterwards, I do wish to do lab tech work.
 
  • #28
CrysPhys
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I see. I will take the advice to take courses in QM. Afterwards, I do wish to do lab tech work.
What country are you in? Odd that you got a BS in Physics without any courses in QM.
 
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  • #29
EarthCookie
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What country are you in? Odd that you got a BS in Physics without any courses in QM.
Hello! I am in United States. I went to a liberal arts school. So that may be why I didn’t get to do quantum physics.
 
  • #30
mpresic3
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Do you play cards? You have got to play your cards right.
The wrong way talking to you respective employer:

I want a position applying quantum mechanics to transistors, tubes, sensors, computers etc.

Employer: we don't have anything like that. Next.

The right way:

My degree in physics has developed my mathematics, and physics to solve problems you are likely to have encountered.

Employer: Well we have a lot of legacy software that needs upgrading. We have the gravity field expressed as a series of Legendre polynomials, and spherical harmonics.

I learned about special functions in physics and you need a specialist on your team to validate and expedite your upgrading processes. A physicist can fix and locate trouble, your computer specialists can overlook. ...

In short, you keep receptive to everything your perspective employer needs.

Perhaps a year or two down the line. You approach the employer:

You know, A quantum mechanics class can expand my expertise. QM involves boundary value problems relating to special functions ...

Employer: Sure, why not. We can support this effort... We can give you time off for classes, maybe a year of advanced study leave of absence or support.

Do not laugh. I have known a lot of civilian employees that have furthered their education like this.

The main point, was expressed in a recent movie: The Big Night

First you give the customer (employer) what they want.
Later you can give the customer (employer) what you want
 
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  • #31
EarthCookie
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Do you play cards? You have got to play your cards right.
The wrong way talking to you respective employer:

I want a position applying quantum mechanics to transistors, tubes, sensors, computers etc.

Employer: we don't have anything like that. Next.

The right way:

My degree in physics has developed my mathematics, and physics to solve problems you are likely to have encountered.

Employer: Well we have a lot of legacy software that needs upgrading. We have the gravity field expressed as a series of Legendre polynomials, and spherical harmonics.

I learned about special functions in physics and you need a specialist on your team to validate and expedite your upgrading processes. A physicist can fix and locate trouble, your computer specialists can overlook. ...

In short, you keep receptive to everything your perspective employer needs.

Perhaps a year or two down the line. You approach the employer:

You know, A quantum mechanics class can expand my expertise. QM involves boundary value problems relating to special functions ...

Employer: Sure, why not. We can support this effort... We can give you time off for classes, maybe a year of advanced study leave of absence or support.

Do not laugh. I have known a lot of civilian employees that have furthered their education like this.

The main point, was expressed in a recent movie: The Big Night

First you give the customer (employer) what they want.
Later you can give the customer (employer) what you want
Amazing! Thank you for this. I realized I am new to everything and getting feedbacks like this truly helps. Thank you for the advice!
 
  • #32
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What mpresic3 describes is certainly possible, but it requires quite a few things to break your way. You need to keep your eyes open for these opportunities, but you can't plan your life around hope. "Possible", "probable" and "certain" mean three different things.

The subject has drifted far afield from "a quantum physics career". Maybe you should describe where you are and where you want to go in some detail, without presupposing the intermediate steps. Then folks can help you with charting a course from here to there.
 
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  • #33
EarthCookie
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What mpresic3 describes is certainly possible, but it requires quite a few things to break your way. You need to keep your eyes open for these opportunities, but you can't plan your life around hope. "Possible", "probable" and "certain" mean three different things.

The subject has drifted far afield from "a quantum physics career". Maybe you should describe where you are and where you want to go in some detail, without presupposing the intermediate steps. Then folks can help you with charting a course from here to there.
Thank you. I am a recent graduate, and I thought I knew what I wanted to do. But now that I think about it, I must reflect upon myself exactly what I want. The advices truly helped me to rethink, and I will take some time to think more. Thank you and I hope to update the post when I am ready. So may I answer your question another time?
 

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