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Warp drive or electronics engineering

  • #1
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Hey everybody, I'm from Argentina and going to college soon. I'm stuck between physics (mainly for contributing to interstellar travel) and electronics engineering. The thing is, I'd only study physics if there's a slight chance of witnessing warp drive/wormhole technologies in this lifetime. Otherwise, I'm going into electronics, field I find very interesting. I know it seems ridiculous, but that's how I'm feeling.

You never know for sure, perhaps we are only one discovery away from FTL travel. Still, I always find discouraging opinions on the subject. I wanted to know what you guys think about it
 

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  • #2
phinds
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Hey everybody, I'm from Argentina and going to college soon. I'm stuck between physics (mainly for contributing to interstellar travel) and electronics engineering. The thing is, I'd only study physics if there's a slight chance of witnessing warp drive/wormhole technologies in this lifetime.
Not going to happen ... it's science fiction.
 
  • #3
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Yeah I know. But it's not like they are just made up. Wormholes are "predicted" by relativity for example. And I've read about some scientific papers talking about the plausibility of warp drives
 
  • #4
phinds
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Well, good luck with that.
 
  • #5
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Well, good luck with that.
Lol, most of myself came to look for that exact kind of discouragement
 
  • #6
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I'll throw in my two cents.

1. If you would only plan on pursuing physics based on the possibility of one invention (especially at the Ph. D. level), you will not succeed. You've got a lot to grind through that doesn't involve warp drives, and if you heart isn't in it, you probably won't make it.
2. There's almost no chance we'll be experiencing warp drives and interstellar space travel in our lifetime. Why? Too many problems down here right now. There's really not much financial incentive to make it happen at the moment. Sad, yes, because it would certainly be exciting, but warp drives cost money. Not to mention the possible amount of energy such a device would require, and the fact that no one knows how it would be done.
 
  • #7
phinds
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... and the fact that no one knows how it would be done.
Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty significant factor. I think it's more appropriate to say that no one knows if it COULD be done.
 
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  • #8
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Well, luckily for you, in this case you can sort of both have the cake and eat it too. Just keep in mind that if someone actually figures out how to do a warp drive in the near future, they are surely going to need electronics engineers to test/build it...
 
  • #9
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Not going to happen ... it's science fiction.
Correction. It's science fiction, at the moment.

That being said, I don't think we'll see warp drive in our lifetimes, that's technology probably a century or more away. That's a pretty huge extreme between something like Alcubiere's FTL work (which was based on general relativity) and electronics engineering. I think the OP needs to understand the breadth in both fields and not just the sexy areas.
 
  • #10
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Wormholes are "predicted" by relativity for example.
They are not. There are solutions to the equations that look like wormholes, but there is no known way to make them stable long enough to be useful. You would have to find something with a negative energy density, and it is unclear if that exists at all. In addition, there is no known way how those wormholes could be created.
The situation is very similar for the warp drive concepts.

And even if they are possible at all (that is a huge "if"), I would expect cryogenics or even mind uploading to be viable long before fast interstellar travel.
 
  • #11
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Please work on the warp drive. I broke mine getting here, and I want to go home.
 
  • #12
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Correction. It's science fiction, at the moment.

That being said, I don't think we'll see warp drive in our lifetimes, that's technology probably a century or more away. That's a pretty huge extreme between something like Alcubiere's FTL work (which was based on general relativity) and electronics engineering. I think the OP needs to understand the breadth in both fields and not just the sexy areas.
I have done some basic electronics before, and my uncle is an electronics engineer aswell. So i kinda know what im getting into if i choose electronics. (Unlike physics, enviroment i know little or nothing about). Thanks for replying
 
  • #13
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They are not. There are solutions to the equations that look like wormholes, but there is no known way to make them stable long enough to be useful. You would have to find something with a negative energy density, and it is unclear if that exists at all. In addition, there is no known way how those wormholes could be created.
The situation is very similar for the warp drive concepts.

And even if they are possible at all (that is a huge "if"), I would expect cryogenics or even mind uploading to be viable long before fast interstellar travel.
Thanks for the info!
 
  • #14
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I'll throw in my two cents.

1. If you would only plan on pursuing physics based on the possibility of one invention (especially at the Ph. D. level), you will not succeed. You've got a lot to grind through that doesn't involve warp drives, and if you heart isn't in it, you probably won't make it.
2. There's almost no chance we'll be experiencing warp drives and interstellar space travel in our lifetime. Why? Too many problems down here right now. There's really not much financial incentive to make it happen at the moment. Sad, yes, because it would certainly be exciting, but warp drives cost money. Not to mention the possible amount of energy such a device would require, and the fact that no one knows how it would be done.
Thanks for replying. Well, there are some other fields in physics that seem interesting to me, but not as much as electronics. Anyways, i can still switch to physics after an engineering degree (doing some courses to catch up, of course)
 
  • #15
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Hey everybody, I'm from Argentina and going to college soon. I'm stuck between physics (mainly for contributing to interstellar travel) and electronics engineering. The thing is, I'd only study physics if there's a slight chance of witnessing warp drive/wormhole technologies in this lifetime. Otherwise, I'm going into electronics, field I find very interesting. I know it seems ridiculous, but that's how I'm feeling.

You never know for sure, perhaps we are only one discovery away from FTL travel. Still, I always find discouraging opinions on the subject. I wanted to know what you guys think about it
I've heard many strange reasons why people would want to study physics, but this has got to be the silliest.

If this is the ONLY reason that will get you into physics, then I will say go and study electronics.

Zz.
 
  • #16
SteamKing
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Hey everybody, I'm from Argentina and going to college soon. I'm stuck between physics (mainly for contributing to interstellar travel) and electronics engineering. The thing is, I'd only study physics if there's a slight chance of witnessing warp drive/wormhole technologies in this lifetime. Otherwise, I'm going into electronics, field I find very interesting. I know it seems ridiculous, but that's how I'm feeling.

You never know for sure, perhaps we are only one discovery away from FTL travel. Still, I always find discouraging opinions on the subject. I wanted to know what you guys think about it
Well, Zefram Cochrane didn't get his warp drive going until 2061, so you may have to wait a while ... :rolleyes:

Look for any weird developments around Bozeman, Montana. I know Sheldon Cooper tried to move there recently, but he was scared off by the locals, probably to keep him from discovering warp technology first. :))

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Zefram_Cochrane
 
  • #17
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I've heard many strange reasons why people would want to study physics, but this has got to be the silliest.

If this is the ONLY reason that will get you into physics, then I will say go and study electronics.

Zz.
First time you see somebody trying to get into physics because of sci-fi? Cant believe that.
Its not the only thing that makes me want to get into physics, its just that space travel is the most interesting thing for me. Besides that, there are plenty or other fields that seem interesting to me, but not as much as electronics. Its not that i'd get into physics only for a single (highly unprobable) goal. To be honest, i was writing from my ipad and just wanted to get to the point quickly.
 
  • #18
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Hi Krandor,


why not consider aerospace engineering. You can work on satellites...


regards,
Aaron
 
  • #19
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Electrical and electronics engineers can also work on satellites.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
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Yeah I know. But it's not like they are just made up....

And I've read about some scientific papers talking about the plausibility of warp drives
Yes, they really are just made up. Even the attempts at science are based on technobabble (alcubierre drive).
Wormholes are "predicted" by relativity for example.
Sure, but there aren't any real ideas about how they might be controlled.

More to the point, when planning a career, you need to play good odds. Might you be Zefram Cochrain? Well, we can't rule it out, but if you put all your eggs in that basket, you are much, much more likely to end up a buned-out alcoholic than a visionary inventor. [/movie reference] Go for something you know is real and you know will provide you a good life.
 
  • #21
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Yes, they really are just made up. Even the attempts at science are based on technobabble (alcubierre drive).
Correction: they're just made up at the moment. Lots of scientific ideas were just made up without physical evidence behind them before they were validated due to overwhelming evidence or discarded completely due to the same. I'd love to hear your reasoning as to why the alcubierre drive specifically is based on technobabble. I know Alcubierre himself is skeptical of Harold White's, or any experiment, to translate his equations into physical phenomena; but that doesn't mean they're based on nothing.
 
  • #22
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Correction: they're just made up at the moment. Lots of scientific ideas were just made up without physical evidence behind them before they were validated due to overwhelming evidence or discarded completely due to the same.
Yes, but many more ideas were discarded because they turned out to be wrong or impractical. Scientists come up with new ideas all the time, but most of them don't work out.

The alcubierre drive might be a solution to the equations of general relativity, but it needs a negative energy density. How do you make that? Even if you can make it (which is a Nobel prize on its own), how can you reduce the required amount to some reasonable quantity? How do you arrange your negative energy density in exactly the right pattern needed for the solution and keep it there? How do you control it, once it is set up and a spacecraft is inside?
Those questions are completely without answer today.
 
  • #23
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Yes, but many more ideas were discarded because they turned out to be wrong or impractical. Scientists come up with new ideas all the time, but most of them don't work out.

The alcubierre drive might be a solution to the equations of general relativity, but it needs a negative energy density. How do you make that? Even if you can make it (which is a Nobel prize on its own), how can you reduce the required amount to some reasonable quantity? How do you arrange your negative energy density in exactly the right pattern needed for the solution and keep it there? How do you control it, once it is set up and a spacecraft is inside?
Those questions are completely without answer today.
Sure those questions are without answer today, I never argued otherwise. That doesn't necessarily mean they're based on technobabble, which is what I was arguing against. Unless you're arguing that an idea with such hard questions associated to it necessarily implies that it's wrong.
 
  • #24
russ_watters
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Correction: they're just made up at the moment. Lots of scientific ideas were just made up without physical evidence behind them before they were validated due to overwhelming evidence or discarded completely due to the same.
I don't think I've ever heard of a scientific idea that was literally based on science fiction before being found to be real. If you have an example, I'd be interested to hear it.

(note: we're not talking about inventions that were first proposed in science fiction but were based on real science at the time.)
I'd love to hear your reasoning as to why the alcubierre drive specifically is based on technobabble.
I meant it literally: Alcubierre's paper was actually an attempt to sciencify the Start Trek "warp drive":
The Star Trek television series used the term "warp drive" to describe their method of faster-than-light travel. Neither the Alcubierre theory, nor anything similar, existed when the series was conceived, but Alcubierre stated in an email to William Shatner that his theory was directly inspired by the term used in the show,[33] and references it in his 1994 paper.[34]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive
 
  • #25
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Your Reason for Physics remembering me, for some of my reason to get into Physics, everybody know (maybe including you) the wormhole is nearly impossible, but when we have "nothing impossible" word, maybe that possible, although it will use so many time, or (maybe) never. on your second option, electronics engineering, thats will be a good idea if you like it. i like electronics too, but here, in physics i can learn electronics (about microcontroler) beside i learn many thing about physics, maybe thats can be the advantage if you choose physics. sorry if there any incorrect word, my english is not good enough.
 

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