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Physics The Fields of Particle Physics and Astrophysics/Cosmology

  1. Dec 17, 2012 #1
    I still have a long time to decide, but I am interested in the fields of particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Here are my questions about them:

    1. What field has the best outlook for the future?
    2. Is there a degree that provides flexiblitiy in the choice?
    3.What fields have the most overlapping of topics/study?
    4.This is my most important question. I read an 2 articles saying that the field of theoretical physics is dead and that no more discoveries can be made. Is this true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2012 #2
    First and the most important,
    4. No! A lot of open questions still need to be answered and the answer to any of them could change our view of the universe fundamentally.

    Then, for the first three questions,
    1. What do you mean by "outlook", the development of the field itself or career opportunities? These two are drastically different.
    2. A serious study of any of these requires a physics PhD level knowledge.
    3. The three domains you listed are all correlated, and a firm grasp of any one of them requires a good understanding of the others. This is true for any kind of theoretical physics.

    Hope this helps.
  4. Dec 17, 2012 #3
    Really, I would like to know both, but career outlook is more important to me.
  5. Dec 18, 2012 #4


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    Science Advisor

    The answer for career outlook depends crucially on whether you're interested in theory, experiment, or data analysis.
  6. Dec 19, 2012 #5
    The career outlook is not so good, regarding theoretical division of these fields. Don't count too much on the data analysis division either, as some of my friends who just graduated working at Fermi also has difficulty landing permanent jobs. That said, we should really keep our mind open as what research is. I suggest you read some of the hot topics in this on this board, and read the book ''my life as a quant''.

    Don't let this discourage you from studying the fascinating physics though.
  7. Dec 19, 2012 #6
    When I wanted to be physicist I chose 2 fields as potential career path:

    1. Loop Quantum Gravity - for some reason people get jobs there. Don't ask me why. Maybe it's because community is small and field is not as popular as string theory.

    2. Quantum information science - companies such as Toshiba hire people so you can get a job in both academia and industry

    Hope that helps.
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