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Should I pursue astrophysics?

  1. Jan 6, 2017 #1
    Hey guys, new user here.

    My "big" question, the thing that fascinates me most, is the universe. Since I was a kid I have loved learning about it.

    I went through college pursuing medicine and realized that I want to do research. I love biological research, but I simply love the study of the universe more. I am about to finish my major in neuroscience, is it worth going back for physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2017 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    You are asking a bunch of strangers to give you an answer that, simply, is something that you have to decide on your own. You have given little background information about you: (i) where in the world are you? (ii) how old are you? (iii) what kind of financial resources do you have to abandon your current career path to start going to school for another? (iv) are you fully aware of what it takes to do a "... study of the universe...", whatever that means? (v) have you looked at the chances of being employed in that field of study?

    Whenever someone tells me of a grandiose ambition to want to study "the universe", more often than not, that person has only a superficial, made-for-TV image of what doing physics/astronomy/science actually is. While I can understand someone fresh out of high-school having that type of a view, someone of your caliber should have had a more intimate idea of what is involved, if you had a closer look at it during your academic pursuit. I will also put it to you that the study of neuroscience is ALSO studying "the universe", the same way someone who is studying the band structure of a semiconductor is also studying the universe.

  4. Jan 8, 2017 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Job prospects in medical fields are generally much better than in astrophysics. Having a career as an astrophysicist pretty much means becoming a university professor. As a very rough rule of thumb, a typical professor trains on the order of 10 PhD students during his career. It takes only one of them to replace him, and astrophysics is not a rapidly growing field (in numbers).
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