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Other What fields of physics are there?

  1. Apr 18, 2017 #1
    I was looking into being a physicist (it sounds fun) and I discovered there were multiple fields. However my source was Wikipedia, and I need more information.
    What fields of physics are there?
    By field, I mean things like Astrophysics and Particle Physics.
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  3. Apr 18, 2017 #2


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    so other than those two, what others did your discover ?
  4. Apr 19, 2017 #3


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    You may want to look at this thread for a start:


    ... and then go to the various professional physics organizations such as APS and IoP to look at the various subdivisions that they have. (Example: http://www.aps.org/membership/units/index.cfm) These loosely correspond to the various fields in physics.

  5. Apr 19, 2017 #4


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    Perhaps you first need to decide whether you want to be an experimental or a theoretical physicist. What is more fun for you?
  6. Apr 19, 2017 #5
    I am interested in Particle Physics, but also Chemical Physics and Astrophysics.
    Can I choose more than one?
  7. Apr 20, 2017 #6


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    For a career, i.e. graduate-school student and onwards, you pretty much have to specialize in one field. The good news is you're a long way from having to decide which field, because (according to your previous posts) you're in 8th grade now. Even in college/university, bachelor's degree programs (in the US) are mostly "generic", with a core of standard courses that everyone takes (classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics / statistical mechanics), plus electives on topics that you become interested in, plus math. I think most students don't decide which field they're going to (try to) pursue in grad school until junior/senior year in college.

    Even in grad school, students often change their minds. When I started grad school, I thought I was going to do low-temperature physics. I ended up with a Ph.D. in experimental elementary particle physics (specifically, neutrinos).

    Your strategy now should be simply to read a lot about physics and expose yourself to a wide variety of topics. Pop-science stuff tends to focus on cosmology, astrophysics and elementary particle physics, but there's a lot more out there, including fields with a lot more long-term jobs.

    When I was in college, I joined the Society of Physics Students and got Physics Today magazine as part of my membership. I still read it today, as part of my American Physical Society membership. Back then I couldn't get very far into most of the articles (some of them I still can't! :-p) but at least I got an idea of what was going on. Some of it (looks like mostly news and commentary) is available online for free:


    When I was in college (early 1970s) the Internet didn't exist, and I was at a small college, not a big university, so my options for getting news about physics were limited. Things are different now! Try to aim for professional- or semi-professional-level material, i.e. the stuff that scientists themselves read to broaden their knowledge. Like Physics Today. I also used to read Science magazine a lot. Its research articles slant more towards biology etc., but the news articles include a fair amount of physics.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  8. Apr 20, 2017 #7
    Thank you everyone. For know, I think I'm going into cosmology. It seems fun.
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