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What made you want to study physics?

  1. Oct 1, 2008 #1
    Im wondering what made everyone eventually come to the decision that they wanted a degree in physics. I'm sure the fact that its a versatile and well respected degree was one of the factors but what got you into the whole subject?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2008 #2


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    Well I'm planning on doing physics (or maby electronics if I don't get the maths grade). I like physics because it explains how (almost) everything works. Nearly everything in your day to day life wouldn't be possible with out physics.
  4. Oct 1, 2008 #3
    true, most sciences if not all has some physics component to them. I'm not a physics major, I'm Biochem, and I am taking my first physics course this semester and I hated it in the beginning. But now I'm starting to get the hang of it and how to prepare for the class and tests. I enjoying it so much that I'm contemplating a minor in it. The reason I am enjoying it so much is the satisfaction of figuring out difficult words problems. It is a really good feeling, getting the right answer, after putting in hard work to get there.
  5. Oct 1, 2008 #4
    Honest answer? I watched a lot of Star Trek as a kid, and then in eleventh grade I figured "hey, majoring in physics would be a great way to study space and stuff." Now here I am seven years later working on my PhD in astrophysics. The downside is that I can no longer watch any Star Trek without realizing that the technobabble has no scientific meaning. Fortunately I've come up with (slightly) more sophisticated reasons for studying physics.

    Seriously though, physics offers some interesting stuff. One of my favorite activities was teaching an undergrad lab last year. It's always cool to derive some relation on paper, and then see how the acquired data fits the theoretical curve fairly well. Real research involves more computer programming than physics, so it's not all fun and games. But hey, being a scientist beats getting a real job.
  6. Oct 1, 2008 #5
    i didnt study physics but did study mechanical engineering (which involves some physics)

    reasons why i would be interested in physics:

    why can i see thru glass but not thru brick?/
    why does a glass of water crack when you freeze it?/
    why do peoples glasses fog up when they come in from the cold?/
    why do you see the lightning before you hear the thunder?/
    why is the sky blue?/
    why does a ceramic toilet seat feel colder than a wooden one?/
    why does a turntables stylus rubbing against a plastic disc sound like a band??
    why do fizzy drinks fizz?
    why do some balloons float and others fall??
    what is fire made of?
    why are different things different colours?
    how far away are the stars?

    and last of all
    why, when my dad spun a bucket of water around in circles
    from over his head to below his waist, did the water not fall out when it was above
    his head, (as a 7 year old, this kept me up for weeks on end, if only the internet had
    existed back then, i'd have had my answer in 3.1 minutes, by this age i could be the next einstein!!)
  7. Oct 1, 2008 #6


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    I'm in the same boat as arunma. I loved star gazing, Star Trek, and astronomy in general, and then learned that you need physics for that. So I'm getting a PhD in physics while studying astronomy.
  8. Oct 1, 2008 #7
    Reading about the two-slit experiment. I found it almost ...offensive just how strange nature really was, and wanted to really understand it.
  9. Oct 1, 2008 #8
    I guess that I've always felt very ignorant and just wanted to try to begin to grasp how things work.

    Also, I've always loved robots...


    Seriously, I love robots.

    Can't say though that I've made one yet, sadly. But that is just because they need old peoples' medicine for fuel; and that is just inefficient and horribly, horribly wrong.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2008
  10. Oct 2, 2008 #9
    I just love to know how everything on a day to day basis works etc! and the concept of galaxies, space and stars is always interesting!
  11. Oct 2, 2008 #10


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    Thats what all of physics is working towards at the moment, and thats always been what its doing.
  12. Oct 2, 2008 #11
    Hey, nothing wrong with going into physics for the robots.
  13. Oct 2, 2008 #12


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    No theres not but you could always do robotics.
  14. Oct 2, 2008 #13
    I was a math major that hated doing proofs.

    I enjoy applied math (Calculus, etc) and thought Physics was the next best thing to a math major that didn't involve proofs.

    I have always been interested in space, astronomy and keeping up with NASA (news, launches, etc.). I love watching a jet fly overhead, almost like a religious experience, just watching, wondering how that works, thinking about how far humankind has come technologically.

    I know career-wise, getting a physics-related job would be tough with just a BS. However I know I can always go to engineering school with an upper-hand (my school doesn't have engineering). And still have the option of going to grad school for teaching and become a science teacher at the high school or Community College level. I'm 27 and this will be my second Bachelors degree.
  15. Oct 3, 2008 #14
    I sort of go along with the recurring theme here in that it is very satisfying to know how things work, and physics describes how things work on a more fundamental level than any other branch of science (using mathematics as its means of communication). Also, for some people such as myself, well, I love math, but math is much more meaningful to me if it has a level of physical significance on our existence.

    The real reason why I want to study physics?

    The truth is, while I thoroughly enjoy physics, I'd be just as happy in chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, or whatever. Actually, I enjoy just about every intellectual field beyond the natural sciences: social sciences, computer science, economics, politics, philosophy (philosophy is actually huge for me), literature, poetry, art, and music. I was tutoring someone, and they asked me if there was any subject that I didn't like, and I paused for a moment, as I had never thought about such a question before. After very little thought, I concluded that my answer was no, there aren't any subjects I don't enjoy. I like them all, and I'd probably be just as happy in a career in any of them.

    So, why physics? Well, I'm not quite comfortable discussing my real reasons here yet. I feel they will appear rather alien to most people in the scientific community. For now, let's just say that it has something to do with the saying that "knowledge is power."

    Well, I guess employment opportunities might be a factor too. But if it was employment that I was worried about, I'd be pursuing medicine. Which I do, in fact, consider from time to time, on and off.
  16. Oct 8, 2008 #15
    Well I'm actually double majoring in mathematics and physics with a minor in chemistry. It's really rather strange that I ended up here. My parents never mentioned college to me, they would simply imply that I should marry and be a stay at home mom one day. It was my friends that got me interested in going to college and once I got here (I had previously been homeschooled so this was quite a change) I realized just how much I didn't know about the world. I also found that I loved going to class and studying. I had always liked math and so I started out pursuing that as a major. Then when I started tutoring and talking with all the tutors a few of them were already really interested in physics which ended up sparking my own interest. So here I am a future scientist who was raised to be a house wife.
  17. Oct 9, 2008 #16
    Weeeeell, I was interested in physics. Until I got to university. My interest has since waned.
  18. Oct 9, 2008 #17
    I was really into the Elegant Universe and read several other popular physics books thereafter. I came to Penrose's Road to Reality and decided that it was time that I actually learned the math behind the physics. It also ended some torment over my undecided major status. For various reasons I had to wait quite a while before I finally got to take QM. I'm taking it now and I think it's awesome.
  19. Oct 13, 2008 #18
    I'm an applied physics undergrad here in the Philippines...

    I went to a science high school so we had a lot of physics courses then... a regular school here would only take 1 physics subject, I had four in high school (3 required and 1 as elective). We pretty much covered mechanics, electromagnetism, relativity, optics, etc. then... without the heavy math of course. it was just so fun then... talking about wave functions and space-time without actually doing the math... and teachers were very encouraging, lending me books and discussing advanced topics out of class... really got me into the i wanna be a physicist mood...

    so when i got my application forms, i wrote BS APPLIED PHYSICS as my priority without doubts.

    hmmm. i've been swamped with math since then... hehehehehe.
    doing more math time than actually studying physics. it's been tough. though i'd never imagine myself in any other course.
  20. Oct 13, 2008 #19
    i've always been interested in cosmology, though not necessarily astronomy or astrophysics. i've always been interested in quantum mechanics and thermodynamics and modern physics, but not really mechanics or E&M. also, i've never really had the desire to know how things work. so maybe i chose physics for the wrong reasons...
  21. Oct 13, 2008 #20
    In the beginning, to be quite honest, it was the thrill of hoping to discover something huge, and that physics is pretty much my best subject (2nd is math).

    Now that I've studied it long enough, I just admire the way physics come together. The overwhelming sense of knowing (actually, more like the sense of un-knowing and mystery) is what drives me now. Although I cannot deny how part of it is for building my future career and leading to a decent life.
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