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Understand physics vs engineering

  1. Aug 22, 2006 #1
    I understand physics vs engineering, is like thinking/solving vs applying. But waht exactly does a physicist do? could I get a few examples? Also how is Ohio U. in terms of undergrad for bothy physics and engineering, I may be getting a full ride. Thanks for the help.
     
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  3. Aug 22, 2006 #2

    chroot

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    The majority of working physicists (as of 2006) are working in condensed-matter physics, which essentially is the physics of semiconductors and other solid-state materials. There are many, many other kinds of opportunities for physicists, but semiconductor technology is currently an extremely profitable enterprise and has the economic strength to employ a large number of physicists.

    Keep in mind, however, that only ~4% (yes, fewer than one in twenty) of physics undergraduates ever go on to actually study pure physics. The majority end up working with engineers, and a significant minority end up doing financial analysis.

    - Warren
     
  4. Aug 22, 2006 #3

    mathwonk

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    i understand physics majors are prized in many fields, say medicine, because they are smart, have intuition, and know how to learn, reason and solve problems.
     
  5. Aug 22, 2006 #4

    quasar987

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    And the condensed-matter industry hires people from those 4% or from undergrads too?
     
  6. Aug 22, 2006 #5

    Both.

    Really only 4%?

    Wow. Half of our last graduating class went to grad school (out of thirty).
     
  7. Aug 22, 2006 #6

    chroot

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    I no longer have the statistics nearby to show the 4% figure, but they were on a bulletin board in my university's physics department. People who work alongside engineers are no longer "pure" physicists, of course.

    - Warren
     
  8. Aug 23, 2006 #7

    Hmm. I took the 4% to mean "went on to physics PhD" but I suppose its probably narrower than that.
     
  9. Aug 23, 2006 #8

    chroot

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    I guess the statistic just means people who end up being theorists or experimentalists, working on pure physics experiments.

    - Warren
     
  10. Aug 23, 2006 #9
    Were those statistics based on PHD Graduates or both PHD and undergrads?
     
  11. Aug 23, 2006 #10

    chroot

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    Just undergraduates. Don't quote me on it, I no longer have the source of the info.

    - Warren
     
  12. Aug 23, 2006 #11

    robphy

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  13. Aug 23, 2006 #12

    ZapperZ

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  14. Aug 23, 2006 #13
    Wow, that statistic makes me deppressed. : (
     
  15. Aug 23, 2006 #14
    who says engineers don't think and solve problems? A better distinction is a physicist creates knowledge and an engineer applies this knowledge. Both solve problems, and both definitely have to think, and both are equally important.
     
  16. Aug 23, 2006 #15
    With the LHC coming online soon, you can expect the number of particle physicists to jump up a few notches (read: orders of magnitude). It'll be like the 1960's all over again...
     
  17. Aug 24, 2006 #16
    Ah wow you think? That would be nice.
     
  18. Aug 24, 2006 #17
    what would an industrial physicist do?
     
  19. Aug 25, 2006 #18
    That sounds cool, but why? can you give me some links? It would help me a ton.
     
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