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What is a good minor for a Physics major?

  1. Jul 2, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum.Looking forward for being an active member here. I am from India, and have recently graduated from High School. I wanted to study medicine, and but did not score good marks in the entrance test.My second choice was to study pure science and do research in the future.I chose physics as a major because it is what I like(especially relativity, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics).Under the University,you have to take two elective subjects(can be compared with a "minor") called pass subjects often and a major subject called the honours subject which is physics in this case. Maths is compulsory as a minor. My college offers Chemistry,Computer Science, and Electronics as a a second minor for Physics majors. A few of my peers told me to take Computer Science as it has a lighter courseload and one can easily do it. But they discouraged me from taking Chemistry because it has heavy courseload and gives a lot of stress. Although I personally feel I should take chemistry and even applied it at the college, but still I can't convince myself of the right choice. Minors dont matter when I go for graduate school, because they are for the first 2 years and cuts off at the third year. People are saying computer science is beneficial for future.Although I did not study this subject at High School(10+2), only did it till grade 10. I studied biology instead for med-school. Chemistry is heavy but I did not unlove the subject that much. Computer programming is indeed very important in many areas of science, but I never imagined myself studying that in future.

    So what do you say, is Chemistry a good choice? Can I learn programming and coding elsewhere by myself for future research?

    Even my Physics major has a small course on C programming. Maths minor has one too.
    Here is the syllabus for Physics major : http://www.caluniv.ac.in/Syllabus/Physics.pdf [Broken]

    I would be obliged for the help.

    Kind regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I would choose Computer Science, its useful as a good backup for many STEM majors and comes in handy when doing research or physical modeling of some system.

    For physics check out the Open Source Physics framework to see the kinds of things that are modeled and whether any of these interests you to pursue it further.
  4. Jul 2, 2014 #3
    Since Computer Science is a no brainer (with physics you can enjoy the golden age of astronomy for example). If you are up to the challenge I am sure open coursewares from MIT, Stanford etc can help you extend that into a multidisciplinary field at your own pace and time without undesired stressful workloads.

    I for one am interested in Artificial Intelligence, are you? Do you want to help create advanced post-human consciousness? We are projecting the technological singularity around 2030-2045.

    For AI you can go online and study philosophy (indian-modern day), neuroscience (optogenetics is something to check out), linguistics, as well as other specialized field such as artificial psychology.

    "The central problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing (communication), perception and the ability to move and manipulate objects.[6] General intelligence (or "strong AI") is still among the field's long term goals.[7] Currently popular approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence and traditional symbolic AI. There are a large number of tools used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, logic, methods based on probability and economics, and many others." WIKI
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  5. Jul 2, 2014 #4


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    2016 Award

    I agree w/ jedishrfu --- go with computer science.
  6. Jul 2, 2014 #5
    Thank you so much everyone. But the bad news is, they gave me Chemistry because less available seats for Comp. Sc. Actually all the Math and Stats majors took them. I may have to wait for it. But I hope I can learn Comp Sc. by myself.

    Yes, I am of course interested in Artificial Intelligence. My reason for studying Physics, is so that I can study topics like consciousness and quantum parallel universes and neuroscience.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  7. Jul 3, 2014 #6
    Sorry if I seem to disturb, but in physics, it is essential to learn programming and numerical analysis. I have found basic skills in FORTRAN and C in the physics major syllabus. But there is small course for Numerical Methods in Maths minor. Will it suffice? and is it possible to learn it by yourself? I would be grateful if someone verifies the syllabus for a Physics major : http://www.caluniv.ac.in/Syllabus/Physics.pdf [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Jul 3, 2014 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    A lot of engineers and physicists also use MATLAB so I guess it depends on what topic you're studying and what tools are available. Biology graduate students use perl but are migrating towards more powerful languages like python and java as they move into the modeling world.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  9. Jul 3, 2014 #8


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    Maybe physics isn't the right major for you then...
  10. Jul 3, 2014 #9


    Staff: Mentor

  11. Jul 4, 2014 #10
    Physics is probably the only major which is close to my interests. Although I would like to study the aforementioned topics given the circumstances, I have other options too. The only thing that worries me are the computational skills that are needed.
  12. Jul 4, 2014 #11


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    Gold Member

    Then get as much computational skill as you can. Take those computer science courses. Work with professors or groups whose research emphasize computation (bioinformatics, computational physics, etc.), anything you can get.
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