1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

To be a cosmologist

  1. May 15, 2015 #1
    hello. i am a bachelor student (physics)
    i am interested in astrophysics and general relativity.
    i will go to the united states or european countries to study astrophysics.
    although my school does not teach general relativity, i have studied them by myself.
    there are a lot of students who are interested in astrophysics or cosmology in my school
    (but.. they do not understand several concepts about general relativity).

    however, almost students will change their career. this is because many people are worried about getting job and financial problem when they select astrophysics. (my personal opinion is that the problem is not obtaining job or financial problem (of course these are really problematic) but their abilities are crude. to be specific, many students and my friends cannot understand what i say if i try to discuss really easy concepts of general relativity)

    frankly to say, i really want to be a theoretical cosmologist or an astrophysicist. however, i am also worried about financial problems and jobs (many professors in my school also indicate me to consider seriously my career again)

    my questions are:

    1. the problems of financial as well as acquiring job will be really sever after i finish the degree of ph.d astrophysics? (actually i heard that getting job for astrophysics research is very hard because there are only few jobs. however, i want to know them specifically)

    2. now i am researching cosmology by using programs with my professor (now i am in EU as an exchange students). i think that i can learn much about programming skills if i conduct theoretical research. the question is that: this skill will be valuable if i cannot get a job, related to astrophysics?
    i mean, if my situation is not good, i will be a programmer.

    3. this question is not good question. however, (these are plan B==>) i am also considering to be a rocket scientist , or to be a physicist (theoretical solid state physics, low temperature physics) my question is that if i apply the graduate school dpt of aerospace, there will be disadvantages??

    if you cannot understand my questions, please notice me. thanks

    (p.s i am really sorry. my question enrolled twice. but.. i cannot find delete button. if i discover them, i will remove the first enrolled question)
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Professor have something like 10 PhD students in their career, but they just leave one job when they retire. Most PhD students have to look for jobs elsewhere after they graduate. That does not mean it is hard to find a job, but it is not as straight forward as it is for some other fields.
    Yes, certainly. Programming, modeling things, analyzing and solving complex problems, ... all those things are interesting.
    What do you mean with disadvantages?

    jedishrfu removed the second thread.
  4. May 15, 2015 #3
    thanks for your response.

    i will specify my final question.

    actually, i heard that if my degree is not engineering, it will be hard to get admission to the graduate school of aerospace.
    many professors may not want to accept student whose major is not engineering.
    as a result, they may not offer much admission for student with bs. physics or bs. math.
    =this is the disadvantages what i have mentioned above=

    i am also considering to apply ph.d aerospace courses in USA.
    however, i feel nervous because my research experiences are just related to superconductivity and astrophysics.

    and, would you please specify your reply on my first question?
    i want to know whether jobs for researching astrophysics, like professor or researcher, are abundant or not
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  5. May 15, 2015 #4


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Hmm, I see the point. An engineering-related bachelor topic and/or courses could help.

    Europe might be easier in that aspect, as MSc and PhD are two separate degrees here (the US combines both and calls it PhD), and getting into a MSc programme for engineering with a physics BSc is possible.

    Permanent positions in academia are never abundant.
  6. May 16, 2015 #5
    thanks for your specified answers.

    hmm. first time, my classmates were interested in cosmology or astrophysics.
    however, later, they do not want to study them. they said that cosmologist is hard job due to demand of cosmologists and salaries

    they also indicate that they have realized reality ( i mean, job demands, salaries. in addition, studying cosmology will be only valid for genius person)
    as a result, i really afraid although i will strongly challenge my career.

    well, i think that their statements may be just justification, excuse.
    because they were not trying to study or understand GR.

    of course many people think different ways.
    however, i don`t know whether their skills and passions are limited or their statements are right.
    my classmates are stupid???

    hmm.. are there a lot of jobs or companies for scientific programs??
    for instance, programs for physics research, aerospace, rocketry.
    Last edited: May 16, 2015
  7. May 16, 2015 #6


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Why do you think so? That is not true.
    I don't know them.

    Define "lot of jobs". It's certainly something many companies are looking for.
  8. May 16, 2015 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You don't have to choose between cosmology or engineering. If you like physics but are concerned about a job, then maybe you can go to a experimental condensed matter/solid state physics program and try to learn about theoretical ideas more than what is offered in the courses. That way you both understand some nice physics and also will have a better chance of finding a job.
    The same goes for laser\plasma\photonics programs, I guess.
  9. May 18, 2015 #8
    mfb// "studying cosmology will be only valid for genius person" is my friends` idea. i think that their realizations are based on just their mind without having any plausible reasons. thanks (that is the reason why i said that my friends are very stupid)

    well, in final question, "a lot of jobs, means that many companies produce scientific programs?
    if i select my career as a programmer, i will get a job which related to make scientific computer programs.
    however, i don`t know much about them whether many companies just involve in making programs which are intended to use scientific purpose or not

    shyan// thanks for your response. however, i really want to study cosmology instead of condensed matter, plasma physics.
    i just want to know whether my classmates` statements are true or false.
    almost classmates at my university cannot understand GR and they did not any effort to understand them.
    so i really doubt my classmates` statements whether their excuses are based on reality or just excuses (without any plausible reasons)
  10. May 18, 2015 #9


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Or other programs.
    What is "many"? And how would a number help, even ignoring the impossibility to define such a number at all?
    The unemployment rate is low.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook