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What are my chances of becoming a research physicist

  1. Nov 19, 2015 #1
    I am in highschool right now and i would like to be a physicist but i heard a lot of physicists become engineers or programmers instead of a research physicists. And what is the difference between experimental and theoretical.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2015 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

  4. Nov 19, 2015 #3

    bcrowell

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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
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    ZapperZ's article is very comprehensive as far as what it covers, but I don't think it addresses the OP's main question, which is about the chance of success in finding a permanent job.

    If you get a PhD in physics and are good at what you do, then you have basically a 0% chance of being unemployed. However, you do have a significant change of ending up in a job that didn't actually require a PhD in physics, and your chances of finding a job doing research are very small. This is just a matter of statistics. One person doing physics research will typically produce some large number of grad students over the course of his/her career -- say 10. The number of physics jobs doesn't grow at an exponential rate of anything like a factor of 10 per generation.
     
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