What major should I choose?

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Im confused on which major I should choose in college. I believe the dilemma is between Mechanical engineering and Physics. What I want to be able to do in the future is theorize With research I have done about certain ideas then actually apply those theories with my hands and invent something. Im not sure if thats Mechanical engineering or physics. All help is much appreciated.
 

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  • #2
russ_watters
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Im not sure if thats Mechanical engineering or physics.
How do you know it isn't electrical engineering?
 
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How do you know it isn't electrical engineering?
I don’t know, thats what im asking which major it would be.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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I don’t know, thats what im asking which major it would be.
....in your first post you asked about mechanical engineering, and I asked why mechanical instead of electrical. There must be some reason you thought of mechanical and not electrical. What sort of things do you want to invent? What aspect of them do you want to be an expert in?
 
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....in your first post you asked about mechanical engineering, and I asked why mechanical instead of electrical. There must be some reason you thought of mechanical and not electrical. What sort of things do you want to invent? What aspect of them do you want to be an expert in?
-I want to understand Levitation and build some sort or reactionless craft (no propulsion)
-I want to be able to solve of find some way to deal with the time dilation issue that Einstein proposed( no aging when you travel far distances and return to your starting point)
-I want to find eco-friendly fuel for transportation that does not depend on fossil fuels(this ties in to my first point)
-Gravity dome for planets
 
  • #6
berkeman
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-I want to understand Levitation and build some sort or reactionless craft (no propulsion)
Adventure.com

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  • #7
Vanadium 50
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@Vividly , when will you be entering college?
 
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@Vividly , when will you be entering college?
im at a community college right now taking courses but I haven’t settled on a major yet. I probably won’t transfer to a 4yr until fall 2022
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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-I want to understand Levitation and build some sort or reactionless craft (no propulsion)
-I want to be able to solve of find some way to deal with the time dilation issue that Einstein proposed( no aging when you travel far distances and return to your starting point)
-I want to find eco-friendly fuel for transportation that does not depend on fossil fuels(this ties in to my first point)
-Gravity dome for planets
Unfortunately, most of these ideas are explicitly against the laws of physics; they are simply impossible, so I don't think there's an answer to your query directly.

However, a PhD in physics would set you up well for research into the workings of gravity.

I suggest perhaps using your time at community college to take the required introductory science and math courses you need prior to picking a major, and perhaps by then you will both understand a little better what's realistic to pursue and what you are interested in, and make a decision then.
 
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  • #12
Vanadium 50
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I suggest perhaps using your time at community college to take the required introductory science and math courses you need prior to picking a major, and perhaps by then you will both understand a little better what's realistic to pursue and what you are interested in, and make a decision then.
This.
 
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Unfortunately, most of these ideas are explicitly against the laws of physics; they are simply impossible, so I don't think there's an answer to your query directly.

However, a PhD in physics would set you up well for research into the workings of gravity.
I thought all laws of physics break down in a black hole? Doesn’t this mean there is a way to twist and bend the laws of physics because they’re not set in stone depending on the condition?

& if I wanted to pursue those things I talked about, which field do you think I could get the most benefit from. Im thinking physics but a aerospace engineer would be able to build the craft I believe.
 
  • #14
symbolipoint
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I thought all laws of physics break down in a black hole? Doesn’t this mean there is a way to twist and bend the laws of physics because they’re not set in stone depending on the condition?

& if I wanted to pursue those things I talked about, which field do you think I could get the most benefit from. Im thinking physics but a aerospace engineer would be able to build the craft I believe.
Your goal is not supportable, but your interest and basic subject objective seems to be Physics.
 
  • #15
Choppy
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It's hard to know what to choose. A lot of students wrestle with the "physics vs engineering" question.

Usually the biggest concern boils down to an interest in wanting to do the fundamental science vs the stability of a professional career, although if you read the threads on such topics over the years often the advice is that the fields don't necessarily simply into that kind of dichotomy.

From a pragmatic point of view, if you pursue physics, the probability that you'll end up making a career out of studying general relativity (i.e. becoming a professor in the field) is quite small. In fact all academic paths are extremely competitive. If you work hard enough you can probably earn a PhD in what you're interested in, but there are roughly an order of magnitude more PhDs than there are professor jobs. So you'll likely have to figure out how to build a career in the commercial world with the skills you've gained. Lots of people do this successfully, but it's important to remember that a lot more people are willing to pay you to do things like financial modelling, computer programming, develop medical devices, optical communication networks, etc. than to figure out what happens inside a black hole or develop a new kind of spacecraft propulsion.
 
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It's hard to know what to choose. A lot of students wrestle with the "physics vs engineering" question.

Usually the biggest concern boils down to an interest in wanting to do the fundamental science vs the stability of a professional career, although if you read the threads on such topics over the years often the advice is that the fields don't necessarily simply into that kind of dichotomy.

From a pragmatic point of view, if you pursue physics, the probability that you'll end up making a career out of studying general relativity (i.e. becoming a professor in the field) is quite small. In fact all academic paths are extremely competitive. If you work hard enough you can probably earn a PhD in what you're interested in, but there are roughly an order of magnitude more PhDs than there are professor jobs. So you'll likely have to figure out how to build a career in the commercial world with the skills you've gained. Lots of people do this successfully, but it's important to remember that a lot more people are willing to pay you to do things like financial modelling, computer programming, develop medical devices, optical communication networks, etc. than to figure out what happens inside a black hole or develop a new kind of spacecraft propulsion.
Ok, thank you for the assistance. I think I may choose physics but I want a stable job so I may minor in physics and major in engineering then go to grad school for physics. The ideas that I wanted to invent / discover may seem far fetched but those are goals and I wouldn’t know what else to do if I did not chase them. I already have a degree in psychology but I don't want to pursue that any further after I found out about physics. Im kind of at a stand still on what to pursue but I think its mechanical engineering. Do you know if I can go to grad school for physics with a mechanical engineering degree?
 
  • #17
berkeman
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The ideas that I wanted to invent / discover may seem far fetched but those are goals and I wouldn’t know what else to do if I did not chase them.
One of the important things that I learned early in my inventing/engineering work and career was to learn enough fundamental physics and engineering to be able to reject idea options quickly (I call it "non-existence proofs"), so that I could focus on the ideas and options that had a chance of working. Here is a post of mine in a different thread where I talk about how important that is:

https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...eer-engineer-with-an-idea.974051/post-6210983

So I encourage you to take as many advanced classes as you can in whatever field you end up in, so that you can apply that practical & real knowledge to your creative and inventive spirit. Best of luck. :smile:
 
  • #18
Joshy
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I changed my mind just as I was applying to transfer. I think the first 2-3 years you can easily get away with it and most of the classes will be very similar to each other.
 
  • #19
vela
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I suggest perhaps using your time at community college to take the required introductory science and math courses you need prior to picking a major, and perhaps by then you will both understand a little better what's realistic to pursue and what you are interested in, and make a decision then.
That might not be an option. When students have a clearly defined goal, they tend to be focused and have a better chance of succeeding. Students that don't often flounder around taking random classes and then dropping out. So some colleges now require students to declare a major, even if they're not sure about the choice. Students can, of course, change their major later if their interests change.

If a student is choosing between engineering and physics, there's a lot of overlap, so I don't think it makes much of a difference for the OP.
 
  • #20
Joshy
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That might not be an option. When students have a clearly defined goal, they tend to be focused and have a better chance of succeeding. Students that don't often flounder around taking random classes and then dropping out. So some colleges now require students to declare a major, even if they're not sure about the choice. Students can, of course, change their major later if their interests change.

If a student is choosing between engineering and physics, there's a lot of overlap, so I don't think it makes much of a difference for the OP.
But in post #8 the OP said they are in the community college. Are community colleges doing that too (requiring you to choose a major)?
 
  • #21
vela
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But in post #8 the OP said they are in the community college. Are community colleges doing that too (requiring you to choose a major)?
Yes, because it's at CCs where students tend to flounder. The requirements are relatively recent, though, and not all colleges may be doing it. I imagine the high cost of four-year schools is enough to keep most students from wasting a lot of time there.
 
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  • #22
Choppy
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Do you know if I can go to grad school for physics with a mechanical engineering degree?
Possibly. I think a lot can depend on the details of the degree and more specifically the courses that you've taken.

Perhaps the biggest question to ask isn't so much *can* you get in, rather, if you do get in, will you be able to keep up? Chances are you'll be taking graduate level classes in physics as well as a qualification exam. In order to be prepared for those you need to have taken senior level undergraduate physics courses that cover the same topics--and generally not just passed them, but have mastered the material in them. If you can't fit them into your undergrad degree, you'll be doing a lot of catch up work.

Talk to your undergraduate academic advisor about this.
 
  • #23
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Your goal is not supportable, but your interest and basic subject objective seems to be Physics.
So your saying, if I wanted to get into studying these science “fiction” things then it would be physics?
 
  • #24
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If you think you will be studying "science fiction things" in physics you are likely to be disappointed. Because fiction.
 
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If you think you will be studying "science fiction things" in physics you are likely to be disappointed. Because fiction.
What I was asking was if I wanted to study those types of things would I stay in engineering or go the theoretical route to study them. I think I won’t be able to do my own research until I get a PH.D. in physics and im unsure if you can do research in engineering thats theoretical like physics.
 

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