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So I'm not into theoretical physics

  1. Mar 8, 2012 #1
    I didn't know how to word it other than that. If astrophysics is all theoretical, then I should have worded it better, but even then I am not interested in cosmology, only in how things work, and I was wondering if this even makes sense. I have thought about it, and all I really know is I have a general love for physics, astronomy being what got me into it in the first place. I am fairly sure I wouldn't be a good teacher, so that is out, I would like to work on one of the big telescopes though, I do not even know if I could understand the level of math needed to achieve any degree in physics, though I understand most of the concepts I've heard about. I think I would be happy doing research of some kind, my other two interests where physics are concerned are sound, and aircraft (though I think anything aircraft related would probably be engineering more than physics?) I am not very good at explaining things, so let me know if anything I said was confusing.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2012 #2
    Every area of physics (other than String theory I suppose) has experimental work. There is experimental astrophysics. But really, I have very little idea what you mean. Your first sentence feels like I'm stepping in the middle of an already happening conversation.
  4. Mar 8, 2012 #3
    I want some area of physics that doesn't involve something that I will never use in a real world setting, like string theory, or cosmology, both are interesting, but I don't think they'd pay the bills?
  5. Mar 8, 2012 #4

    Computational astrophysics involves, I think, a lot of computational fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodyanmics simulation. That type of skill could be applicable to fluid dynamics simulations in defense engineering, although I've heard that there is a trend of engineering companies using generalized CFD software more than in-house software...so you might want to ask a real CFD engineering before you believe me. :redface:
  6. Mar 8, 2012 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Optics. Condensed-matter physics (a.k.a. solid state physics). Medical physics. Biophysics. (Just off the top of my head, others can add more fields.)

    Are you in college or high school right now?
  7. Mar 8, 2012 #6
    Actually, I kind of took a break from college, wasn't going anywhere due to a lack of motivation, and not really knowing what I wanted, and am considering going back, this time I plan on making the full effort. Though, the first time around I will admit I didn't have great grades, and would like to know how I could impress whatever place I apply to that I want to at least attempt a second shot, or would that be impossible at this point?
  8. Mar 8, 2012 #7
    I agree with jtbell. Optics is a great field that crosses engineering and physics. The university I'm at now is well known for AMO and many of the research groups have professors from both engineering and physics. It can also be as theoretical or applied as you want it.
  9. Mar 8, 2012 #8
    Thank you for all of the advice, it's given me some ideas I haven't considered.
  10. Mar 8, 2012 #9


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    Homework Helper

    I think it is a huge red flag that you had to take a break from college because of lack of motivation. You should see if you actually don't like physics, or prefer engineering now.
  11. Mar 8, 2012 #10
    Well I had no idea what I wanted to do back then, now I have more of an idea, and it is always easier for me to focus on work when I have a definite motive involved.
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