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Theoretical Physics Research

  1. Jul 3, 2013 #1

    Let's suppose a person has procured a Ph.D in Physics, and chooses to affix themselves to some community college faculty as a physics professor. Is it possible for this person to still do research in some aspect of theoretical physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2013 #2
    It depends on the situation, but it will be very difficult. Theoretical physics requires a lot time and other researchers to collaborate with, both of which are lacking in a community college setting. You also are unlikely to have the means (or time) to travel to conferences which can further isolate you from the academic community.

    Also, many community colleges have been steadily replacing full time faculty with adjuncts, which is making it much harder to make a career out of teaching at the community college level.
  4. Jul 3, 2013 #3


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    This is very true. I'm in a community college right now, and I think the majority of the teachers there are adjuncts now. Our physics professor is actually in the process of retiring right now(finishing out the sequences he's already started, but not starting new "intro" classes), and I'm worried. The job listing on my schools website says that they have a part time position open for a physics professor. Part time? One of the biggest draws to my school is the engineering department, and they're only looking for an adjunct physics professor? Bear in mind that this is a smaller school, with only ONE physics teacher. I find it hard to believe that they're only going to have an adjunct.

    It's not impossible to do research while working at a community college, but as ParticleGrl mentioned, it's a lot more difficult. One of the chemistry professors at my school does some physics/chemistry research, and has actually had several papers published in well known journals over the last several years, but his research really comes down to minor "curiosities," nothing fundamental by any means. Community colleges don't really have what you could call a research "atmosphere" though.
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