Hi folks, I'm wondering whether to return to academic physics from industry. I finished my physics degree with a minor in astrophysics over here in the UK when I was 19 years old. At the time, I applied for a few PhD studentships but didn't get offered one. Instead I was offered several masters places but I didn't accept - primarily because I was snobbish about having to take a masters rather than a PhD, and 'cause I felt I couldn't afford an unfunded place. The long and the short of it is that I've been in industry doing computational science and nature inspired computing R&D since graduating, but all the time longing to be back doing fundamental physics. However, there are a few funded masters degrees starting 2007 so I'm considering a return to a physics again. I'm 22 at the moment and would be 23 by the time I started the masters. Is that too old to be starting an MSc if the only aim of it is to get on a PhD program, in order to be a professional academic? Am I going to have trouble getting post doc positions and faculty jobs because I worked in industry for a while? It'll be a year for the masters and three for the PhD, so I'll be 27 by the time I'm a Dr and probably 30 before I can look at a lecturer/assistant professor type position. The prospect of earning less in 5 years time than I did for my first job out of uni isn't appealing either, and I don't much like the idea of just starting my PhD when the folk I graduated with will be finishing theirs. On the other hand it's only going to get worse if I leave it and I'll be forever moaning that I never got a doctorate, and I do love physics. What do you all reckon? Thanks in advance.