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What do you want to be? Question

  1. Jan 19, 2005 #1
    Well I get that question ALOT from my relatives, im sure many people do.

    What should I say?

    I say Physicist.

    They say wow very good, it's good to be in good physical shape. Working out is good. You know I walk 10 kilometres everyday.

    They must think Phys Ed is Physics Education or something.

    or they ask. "Well what does a physicist do?"

    I usually answer with something like, its the study which trys to understand the nature of matter and energy, otherwise known as the universe.

    Which they just ask the question a second time. They just don't know what physicists DO.

    What should I say so I can just get on with life without the generic questions?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2005 #2
    "science and stuff" might work.
     
  4. Jan 19, 2005 #3

    Moonbear

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    :rofl: That's a new one for me! I've never heard someone mistake physics for physical fitness! :rofl:

    I can understand your problem; my relatives still don't understand what I do. I finally gave up trying to explain and now tell them I teach in a medical school and do research on the brain. This seems suitably impressive to them, and they can go brag to their friends that one of their relatives is a brain doctor. So, you just need a line like that. If you aren't interested in educating them, and just want an answer to get them to leave you alone, you could tell them physicists get paid to sit around staring at the sky and thinking all day. :biggrin:
     
  5. Jan 19, 2005 #4
    Stuff that sounds cool that relates to a physics job description-
    "Astronomy/ Astrophysics"
    "Rocket Science"
    "Determining the Fate of the Universe"
    "Understanding Why Stuff Behaves the Way it Does"
    "Understanding What Stuff Is Made Of"
    Et cetera. Fyi I'd pick one of the first few, it sounds impressive and your relatives want to brag about you anyway. Or just say anything you feel like because hey it's all physics right? :tongue2:
     
  6. Jan 19, 2005 #5

    JasonRox

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    That's what I say! :biggrin:

    I plan on becoming a mathematician and if it that doesn't workout, I will settle for physicists.

    I just say I'm in school for Physics and Mathematics and then you get the age old question:

    "Where you going to go with that?"

    Then I respond:

    "Graduate School."

    Then they sit and stare at you.

    Although saying you are going into mathematics might be easier, it is actually the opposite. A lot of people think of math (pure) as adding and subtracting a bunch of numbers, but in fact it isn't. It is really hard to explain what math is to someone who barely knows how to multiply, not to mention find a derivative of polynomial, for those who do I always use x^2.

    I normally just say that math is cool and finding a high paying job isn't one of my concerns. I'm totally content making a small living doing what I love.

    Note: If I wanted money, I would have stayed in accounting. :yuck:
     
  7. Jan 19, 2005 #6

    Moonbear

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    Wait until you're done with grad school and they ask you what you're going to do now and you answer, "A postdoc." Then they really have no clue and want to know when you're going to stop all that school and get a real job. :biggrin:

    It's easier to tell them that. Then people just assume you're going to be a math teacher. :biggrin:
     
  8. Jan 20, 2005 #7

    cronxeh

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    You know I thought a lot about this.. and I love all sciences.. but I think what I really want to be is educated.

    I love bio, chem, physics, engineering (all), astronomy, and all interdisciplinary things. But there is no such major as 'scintist-engineer' - for now at least. I'm not sure how long it would take anybody to study everything but nonetheless one can try and fail and try again until he is old enough to realize its enough
     
  9. Jan 20, 2005 #8
    hahaha someone asked me that a few days ago, and the exact same thing happened!! :confused:

    it seems the science world is very cut-off from everyone else. :uhh:
     
  10. Jan 20, 2005 #9

    JasonRox

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    You may have heard of Isaac Asimov. He was a brilliant man, and he had a broad knowledge of everything.

    If that's what you want, go for it.
     
  11. Jan 20, 2005 #10

    JasonRox

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    I hate that!

    I correct them everytime...

    "No, math professor." :biggrin:

    Other person:
    "Why?"

    "So I can lock myself in the attic for 7 years, and hopefully come down with something cool."

    Other person:
    "What about your wife?"

    "What wife?"

    Other person:
    "I was at your wedding a long time ago."

    "OH MY GOD! I FORGOT ABOUT HER!"

    Other person:
    "She must be really proud. :uhh: "

    "Where can I get good flowers? I mean GOOD! FREAKING GOOD!"

    Other person:
    "7-Eleven?"

    "7-Eleven? Hmm... Two consecutive prime numbers for the title of a store. That is interesting. I shall go to my attic and solve some Number Theory problems."

    Other person:
    "What about you wife?"

    "No time to think about other things. Goodbye."

    Other person:
    *In his head.
    "He has a hot wife. :tongue2: I shall pick her up tomorrow. :biggrin: "

    Note: I don't have a wife.

    Note: For those who don't know who Andrew Wiles is, you may not understand the joke.
     
  12. Jan 20, 2005 #11

    shmoe

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    Funny you should say this as I usual say "I add a bunch of numbers" to any non-mathematician who inquires about my research. It's an incredibly crude summary, but accurate. I generally stay away from trying to explain why it's interesting to add my particular bunch of numbers and how exactly I go about adding them.
     
  13. Jan 20, 2005 #12
    Hello all

    I personally want to become something theoretical, i.e. a theoretical scientist of some kind.

    I dunno why, but i think (although many will think differently, and i respect that) subjects such as biology is somewhat dull. Im not saying im good at other science subjects suich as physics or chemistry, but I would rather learn it that way by a damn hard effort rather than just memorizing facts, which is unjust.
     
  14. Jan 20, 2005 #13

    Moonbear

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    Why does everyone around here diss biology?! :grumpy: It's not just about memorizing things! It's about understanding how organisms function. There are very complex systems to study in organisms; there are no "ideal" systems to work on, and even if you attempt to study one system in isolation initially, you can't ignore for long the interaction of ALL the systems in that organism, plus the interaction of the organism with the environment.

    Think of how someone who has only taken a single general physics class for non-majors might view physics...as a bunch of memorization of equations to tell you things you already know, like if you step on the brake of the car, you'll slow down.
     
  15. Jan 20, 2005 #14
    WRT explaining what it is that you do: you need to come up with a prepackaged spiel that you simply repeat every time someone asks, "What is it that you do for a living?" I had one for when I was an undergrad and lab tech, and I now have one for what I'm doing in grad school. I simply turn it on and let it run, and it usually sates the curiosity of whoever is asking. If someone is actually interested, I'll take the time to really discuss my work.

    WRT to people dissing biology: I don't get it, but then again I'm an aspiring biophysicist who is working in a chemistry department, so I pretty much love all of the sciences. :) I think a good bit of it is the way people are taught biology, which can tend towards the regurgitation side, especially in poorly taught classes. I think if there was a way to expose them to an actual biology research lab and show them in detail how exciting and interesting things are, they'd change their tune awfully quick.
     
  16. Jan 20, 2005 #15

    JasonRox

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    It's just like all sciences and even math.

    People think it's all memorizing, but it's not.

    I normally view biology as a subject where you memorize a million things, but deep inside I know its not. I don't care what area of science you are in. The bottom line is scientists respects scientists, for the most part anyways.
     
  17. Jan 20, 2005 #16
    I don't know who he is, but that post made me laugh :biggrin:.
     
  18. Jan 20, 2005 #17

    JasonRox

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    The thing is...

    ...it's a true story.
     
  19. Jan 20, 2005 #18
    What the..? :eek:. It was still funny though!
     
  20. Jan 20, 2005 #19
    Easy enough....

    "Duh! Einstein was a physicist!"

    Then they will just think you are on the level of genious and feel stupid for asking the question.
     
  21. Jan 20, 2005 #20

    By no means am i dissing biology, and i apologize if it did sound like it,

    Im just saying that Biology is a really hard subject for me (although molecular biology is pretty awesome) but Physics and Chemistry i THINK i can handle.

    Just some squeaking coming from a 16 year old..sorry.
     
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