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Physics Should I be an Aerospace engineer or an Astronomer?

  1. Jan 12, 2017 #1
    I have this conondrum since long ago, and it's really hurting me. I love both Aerospace engineering and Astronomy, and I know I can study both. The thing is I'll be an Aerospace engineer or an Astronomer. I know I can't be both. I really love Astronomy: Physics, Science, Mathematics; because I think I'm a scientist person. But I also love Aerospace engineering: the space industry, technology...

    When I see, for example, physicsforums.com, I really feel I want to be an Astronomer, a Physicist.
    But when I search spacex.com, it's like I love with all my heart Aerospace engineering.

    What would you recommend me to do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2017 #2
    Take courses in Physics and Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace Engineering is specialized Mechanical Engineering) and see which one's work you like doing more.
  4. Jan 12, 2017 #3
    I did so, in EDX, Future Learn, & MIT ocw. And I really enjoyed both of them. I can't compare them, because I love them in different ways.
  5. Jan 12, 2017 #4


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    Aero Engineering is vastly different from general Mechanical Engineering. If there is an Aero department, it will require Aerodynamics, flight controls, propulsion systems, etc. The OP should take those if they are available to him.
  6. Jan 12, 2017 #5


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    Sometimes in life, you just have to make a decision.

    We can help you make an informed choice, but we can't make this one for you.

    You might be able to delay the decision for a while, depending on where you're at. Usually the physics-engineering choice can be delayed until about the second year of undergraduate studies, where you have to commit to a program. Even then you're committing to an educational path, not necessarily a career.
  7. Jan 13, 2017 #6
    Being both is more attainable than getting paid to be both.

    I don't usually allow lack of a paycheck prevent me from pursuing a science or engineering goal I think I can contribute to:


    An ancient proverb says, "All hard work brings a profit" and I've found that to be true. Even if a project does not pay the bills directly, there is some insight, some knowledge, some blessing, something that will be useful later.
  8. Jan 19, 2017 #7
    I'm studying aerospace engineering and you do get a basic notion of Astronomy. But only the part which is useful for orbital mechanics and similar stuff. Other things like black holes, dark energy, background radiation, you name it, aren't treated in class because they're "useless" for aerospace purposes.
    Still a lot of teachers love astronomy and can teach you a great deal, specially outside of class, but the best way is to learn it by yourself.
    I'm pretty sure I just said what you already knew but I hope I could help out at least a little bit
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