1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What should I minor in?

  1. Jul 21, 2010 #1
    This will probably come off as a very vague question, so I appologize in advance.

    I am a first year physics undergraduate, and for the past year or so I have dedicated much time and effort towards deciding what area of physics I would like to specialize in. At the moment, one field that interests me in particular is nanotech and nanoelectronics. If I were to pursue that, should I minor in chemistry or in math (or neither)?

    A related questiton: how much physics is there in nanotech? I love physics, and I love working with the math that accompanies it. If I choose to study nanotech, will I loose that part of the physics? Or is there room for a more theoretical approach to nanotechnology?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 21, 2010 #2
    First off, I'm also a first year physics undergrad, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I would say that in general, any sort of physics degree is going to be supplemented well by taking math classes. At least at my school, the math reqs for a physics degree are relatively low, so I'm double majoring in both physics and math. And I don't know what exactly goes into nanotech jobs, so I can't help you on your specific question. I'd imagine that chemistry would help as well though, so maybe just taking a minor in chemistry and taking some extra math classes will be for you. But make sure you take the right classes of chemistry that would cater towards nanotech.
  4. Jul 21, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the advice...I was actually thinking about doing it the other way around and minoring in math, while taking a few chemistry courses along the way. I figure it will be easier to go from physics to nanotechnology than the other way around, and I'm still not so sure about what I really want to specialize in later.

    On the other hand, I would have a better chance of self-studying the math, so perhaps not.
  5. Jul 22, 2010 #4
    Nanotech is a rather wide field you know, so it really comes down to what you want to do. I'm not in the field myself, but my BSc thesis was essentially an experimental nanofabrication project, together with associated physics theory and data treatment, so I have at least had extensive contact with one research group.

    Math is always useful for physics, so in nanotech the more advanced math will mostly be useful in theoretical work/analyses/simulations. That probably ties mostly into the experimental nanosciences. Chemistry has it place in solid state chemistry and nanomaterials, as well as in the development of nanofabrication techniques.There are some interesting stuff going on with synthesized molecules as well, such as the nanocar. On the whole I have the idea though, that the chemistry in nanotech tends to be along the lines of physical chemistry and material science.

    For nanoelectronics the spectrum is similar. Do you want to do theoretical work, then it's math (and physics obviously). To have full understanding of the fabrication then there's a lot of surface science and physical chemistry. A lot of the nanoelectronics comes down to the fabrication and the interactions - both chemical and physical - between different materials.

    So in summary there's the usual answer: it depends. I hope this illuminates some of the possibillities. And it certainly doesn't hurt to take a chemistry course or two to see what it's like.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook