Why are you giving this advice when you're still in high school?Despite what anyone claims i believe theorists are by far more important that experimentalists. Theory lets you UNDERSTAND the deepest ideas in the universe. Experiment is only important in that it tests out theories and allows us to whittle them down. For the true beauty of physics you should become a theorist.
You need quite a lot of talent to become a theoretical physicist. Experimental physics is for those less talented. I am not a theorist yet, but i believe i have a spark of the talent required for it.
Just make sure you go into theoretical physics, if you can, everything else is stamp collecting.
Well, personally I think that argument from authority is non-sense. I may have a Ph.D. in astrophysics theory, but I'm totally clueless about certain things, and even on the things I know something about, I'm often wrong.Being able to say that line alone must make the Ph.D worth it, even without the cushy Wall Street job.
You might try to figure out *why* you think this. One place to start is figuring this out is to look at your parents and the people close to you to see what they believe. Once you get there, you can figure out why they believe what they believe, and then go into a historical detective story to figure out where all that came from. I'm pretty sure you'll find yourself in Plato's Republic.As far as i am concerned mathematics far outshines any form of physics. Be it theoretical or experimental.
Yeah, but doesn't it feel good to occasionally throw that out when others are trying the "appeal to authority?"Well, personally I think that argument from authority is non-sense. I may have a Ph.D. in astrophysics theory, but I'm totally clueless about certain things, and even on the things I know something about, I'm often wrong.
This is why it's really important to be humble about what you know and what you don't.
I'd agree, a good experimentalist has a thorough understanding of the theory. And conversely, a good theorist needs to have an solid understanding of experiment to keep their work grounded in reality.DISCLAIMER: I really know nothing about this.
Wouldn't an experimental physicist need to have an extremely thorough understanding of the theoretical concepts in their field, as they are the ones applying the scientific method to said theories, and in an extremely strict manner?
That is a definite question, not statement. I may have a completely wrong view of this...
The other thing is that good experimentalists have to be masters of the physics of the experiment. For example if you want to build a gamma ray detector you have to know a huge amount about how gamma rays interact with matter. Since it turns out that you have to launch the detector into space, that means being familiar with the physics of spacecraft.I'd agree, a good experimentalist has a thorough understanding of the theory. And conversely, a good theorist needs to have an solid understanding of experiment to keep their work grounded in reality.
What tends to happen is that physicist become specialists on one particular topic, and that particular topic usually falls into theory or experiment. It's both rewarding and necessary to look at a problem from different angles, but that usually works by having several different people bouncing ideas off each other.Is there really such a sharp divide in physics between experiment and theory? It seems to me it would be most reward to be able to look at both aspects of something you are researching and be able to contribute at both ends. Is there a lot of these hybrid types or is it simple too much work to try to do both?