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What are some alternatives to being an Astrophysicist?

  1. Mar 4, 2012 #1
    I am currently a senior in high school who has just finished his college applications, and is currently waiting for admission letters.

    I've always been captivated by the mysteries of the universe and dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist; mainly to help humanity discover some of the wonders that are out there. Unfortunately I am not entirely gifted in the field of physics or calculus. I understand the concepts in them but they aren't things that just naturally "click" in my head. I am currently taking H. Physics and regular Calculus, I have an A in both classes, but I'm assuming that the college variants are far more difficult.

    So this leads me to my question of what are some alternatives to helping people like astrophysicists and people in general to make more discoveries about the universe. I've thought about becoming an aerospace engineer to help develop new spacecraft/airplanes but my lack of confidence in my mathematics is debilitating, because although I am better at math than your average Joe, it isn't anything outstanding.

    Your suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2012 #2
    one of the major limiting factors for astrophysics research is funding.

    i think studying marketing, finance or political science would be great ways to help astrophysicists.
  4. Mar 4, 2012 #3


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    Astrophysicists need to take more math than engineers do - if your math skills will keep you out of engineering, they will also keep you out of astrophysics. But if you're getting A's, you'll do fine in college as long as you work hard. I got much lower grades in high school physics and calculus, but did just fine in college. Keep in mind most jobs in astrophysics will require a PhD in astronomy, astrophysics, or physics. And aerospace engineers can make more with a bachelors degree than many astrophysicists with a PhD.
  5. Mar 4, 2012 #4


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    Hey brightsun and welcome to the forums.

    With regard to your difficulty if you have a problem with regards to understanding, you can ask a question in the relevant section in the forums. We have a lot of experience here that can be tapped into so keep that in mind.
  6. Mar 4, 2012 #5
    It is my opinion that if you can complete a calculus course in HS, you have the level of intelligence necessary to complete a BS in physics. You may have to work a little harder and stress out a little bit more than the smartest in the class, but it is possible.

    If you enjoy math and science (not necessarily your current classes) and really want to work hard, aerospace engineering could be a possibility. At the undergraduate level, I think a true desire to learn the material will get you through the difficult math.
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