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Stepping into the physics world at a late age?

  1. Jul 16, 2015 #1
    I`m an Indian citizen 27 of age. I was enrolled for an undergraduate course in Electrical engineering but due to the financial turmoil in my family i had to drop college and start working in a BPO industry.But something good happened while working in this industry,i got to interact with people from US and Canada,which opened a whole new perspective of knowledge. And as i had access to free internet while working i got into the habit of reading . It started with the wikipedia articles and in the past 2 years i found the beauty in science. I came across you guys here,and many more physics websites which i`ve been fanatically following.
    Now my question is that i`ve reached a point where nothing else apart from physics gives me the satisfaction.I tossed my religion and turned atheist. I lose sleep wondering about the grand cosmos. It feels as if the Universe is calling and every day i spent on this miserable job i feel guilty. Is there a way i can start over with my education? let me be a bit more specific.
    I don`t have the money to pursue a degree in physics from a fancy college here (anyway the education system is all broken in our country). So would it be sufficient if i go for the online courses? Would that help if i want to make career in physics? Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF!

    You can certainly learn a lot online but ultimately you'll need to go to an accredited college major in Physics and work your way up to a PhD to be taken seriously. I don't know of any other avenues that you could travel to get there.

    Some jobs in the U.S. Have education benefits which would allow you further your education. You will still have to get into a college to get credit for the courses you want to take.

    None of these barriers should stop you from pursuing your dream. You just need to find the means and prepare yourself for the journey.

    Zapperz wrote a excellent series of posts of how to become a physicist in the insight area of PF that you could look at.

    Take care
  4. Jul 16, 2015 #3
    There is a difference between physics being a hobby and being a job. The latter requires a degree and for the kind of job you ellude to, an MSc isn't enough.

    I don't know how you can get there because for a large part it seems to be an issue of money. You were not able to complete an electrical engineering degree in your local area.
    People with intelligence equal to Einstein or Newton may have been born in India or Africa or Birma or Peru and be wasted.

    Of course examples like Srinivasa Ramanujan are from the far past. But, you probably aren't a talent of his level. So you have a lot of things going against you, it seems, and I don't have answers. It is a lot harder to study overseas as an Indian with at least a BSc. Safest bet would be to complete a BSc in India, somehow. Surely, India has some good schools.

    It will be hard to convince some university aboard that you qualify for enterance as even for locals it can be quite strict.

    Then also, physics is a risk compared to engineering. It is harder, and has less job safety. Especially so in India, I assume. But then again, India is a big country with quite a bit of resources to throw around.
    As a Dr. in physics, you have to apply for jobs all over the world when you are unemployed. Specialization is key. And everyone and their dog wants to do cosmology or astrophysics. The more fun, the less jobs. Even sucessful physicsts still have to do the fun physics in their space time, as a hobby.

    Say, you want to go to Norway as they have descent schools, BSc in English and require no tuition. You still have to afford the cost of living, which is very high if you have to pay for it with money made in India. And that is even if they admit you (which is an issue of academic track record, not age).
    I myself have looked at scholarships I might apply to if I were to study overseas. Very hard to figure that stuff out. Often they are tagged to a certain group. I rarely am eligible. But often stuff if tagged for 'students from Africa' or 'students from South America'. Sometimes you get stuff like 'female MSc students from Vietnam that does an MSc in medicine at place x'. You can find them for Indian students as well.
    Maybe just mail everything and inquire.
    There's good schools all over asia. Even if you have to pay for it yourself, you can at least save up money and expect Indian salaries to cover some of the cost. Pretty hard to do if you go live in London and pay full tuition.

    My university is top 5 in the world in agriculture. We have a lot of older people from poorer countries. Somehow for many of these people the opportunity opened up much later in life. I don't know how they are funded. But of course, agriculture is the most fundamental of studies to poorer countries, so money is spend there quicker.
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