What specific field of physics to study

In summary, as a high school senior who has already enrolled in college to study physics, it is natural to have questions about what specific area of physics to focus on. However, it is important to remember that undergraduate study in physics is meant to help students explore different fields before making a decision. Specialization typically occurs later in the academic journey, and it is recommended to take various elective courses and gain research experience to gain a better understanding of different areas. It is also common for students to not decide on a specific field until their third year or even during graduate school.
  • #1
leftyguitarjo
52
0
Hello. I am a high school senior, and I have already enrolled in college to study physics.

But I have an important question: How does one determine what localized field of physics to study?

I do a lot of electrical work, and would love to dive into the forces that push that current through the wire. But, astronomy intrigues the heck out of me, as do the workings of elementary particles. I also read up a lot on the fascinating thins that happen at the speed of light, and would love to be a part of that study.
 
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  • #2
This is what your undergrad study in physics is supposed to help you do. You still have lot's of time before you have to pick a specialty, so don't fret too much about it! Enjoy your undergrad study in physics, and focus on learning physics and how to do it. Specializing will come later. By then you'll have a better idea, since you'll have had a little taste of things from many fields, experimental and theoretical.
 
  • #3
I wouldn't worry about it yet. Most undergraduate physics degrees are "general", not "specialized." You probably won't have a significant choice in specialized or elective courses until your junior year. Explore as many different fields as you can, via elective courses and research experience.

I didn't decide on my Ph.D. field until my second year in graduate school.
 
  • #4
*cough particle cough*
 
  • #5
I worked in three areas before finally settling on a dissertation topic, experimental optics, crystal growth then finally optical and electronic properties of anisotropic semiconductors. Really it was my 3rd year before I decided.
 

Related to What specific field of physics to study

1. What is the difference between classical and modern physics?

Classical physics deals with macroscopic objects and their motion, while modern physics deals with microscopic particles and their behavior. Classical physics is based on Newton's laws of motion, while modern physics is based on quantum mechanics and relativity.

2. What are the major branches of physics?

The major branches of physics are classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and relativity. Other branches include astrophysics, particle physics, and biophysics.

3. How do I decide which field of physics to study?

It is important to explore your interests and strengths in physics to determine which field is the best fit for you. You can also talk to professors, research different subfields, and consider potential career paths to make an informed decision.

4. What are some popular subfields in physics?

Some popular subfields in physics include astrophysics, condensed matter physics, particle physics, and biophysics. Other emerging fields include quantum computing, nanotechnology, and renewable energy.

5. What skills are important for studying physics?

Strong analytical and mathematical skills are crucial for studying physics. Other important skills include critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication. It is also helpful to have a strong foundation in computer programming and data analysis.

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