What to do with a Physics Degree

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What all can you do with a Physics degree? Me in particular am thinking of taking up particle physics. Just one problem,physicists study and research stuff but I wanna design stuff.

So I'm thinking of a kind of engineering that has physics involved. That's brought me to electrical and nuclear engineering. Electrical might be kinda hard but jobs are plnetyful. Nuclear I think I could really get to but I saw on a univiersity website that Nuclear is one you should stay away from. That and another branch I'm considering strongly Aerospace Engineering. I just wonder why.

But what I wanna know is what can I do with a degree in Physics. I'l like to work with electricity and even design nuclear rockets,but I'm not sure a physics degree will let me do that.

Just about every form of engineering has physics involved in it somehow. Now although I liek Astronomy I just wonder what it has to do with Physics since most websites and universities link them together.
 

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  • #2
ZapperZ
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From the way I read this, it appears that what you WANT to do, and what you said you will be "taking up" do not match!

Why is that?

What is wrong with just taking up what you want to do?

Zz.
 
  • #3
Physicists do design things. Contact a local University if you want more information, maybe their physics department - one of the professors might be kind enough to email explaining some options.

Physics encompasses everything you're talking about, my current Supervisor is a Particle Physicist, he regularly flies round the world to install/design parts in new detectors he's involved with.

Generally, (though it comes down to the choices you make) when you become a professional physicist, you start on research and as you move higher up the ladder, you design the course of research and, in turn, design the equipment that people will be using.

To be honest, it doesn't seem as if you've done any real research into the subject areas, again look on a local University website and search through their course guides, theres always indicators of the kind of material you can expect to start on/progress to.

Aerospace engineering is a difficult course, it contains lots of Fluid Dynamics and such and is, obviously, highly focussed on aircraft designs/history.

Starting off on a general physics degree (at least at my university) is quite open, as long as you pick the right subjects you can change/select your degree courses quite freely - i.e. a change to Physics with Electronics, Physics with Astrophysics etc. Though it sounds as though you're leaning toward engineering and the only thing you can do to decide if thats for you or not is to get involved! read though, research and see what interests you.

Astronomy covers a vast area of material, I'm currently mid-way through my Physics and Astronomy degree programme, and the sorts of material we study include:

- temperature mechanisms (heat in the planet, how heat arises in the sun)

- planet, start formation

- spectroscopy (analysing light signals to find the elemental components of the source)

-relativity

- theoretical astrophysics

- observational astrophysics

covering the design, manufacture and physics behind telescopes and all sorts of measuring devices.
 
  • #4
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Line said:
What all can you do with a Physics degree? Me in particular am thinking of taking up particle physics. Just one problem,physicists study and research stuff but I wanna design stuff.
Ditto, but physicists are in a huge variety of jobs. Don't be scared off by the stereotype that they sit in stuffy rooms researching things. I was at a university open day the other day and one of the physicists there worked for IBM and worked on practical application projects at the university (optics, confocal microscope)! This was in conjunction with the biologists and chemists, so you can really see the wide variety of applications you have.
 
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Ues I saw on one university website thst alot of physicists become computer programmers. But just how?
 
  • #6
ZapperZ
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There have been several threads asking roughly similar questions on this. So I'm going to be tacky and simply paste the content of my of my Journal entry on Employment in Physics, since obvously, not many people want to read personal journals (it is also difficult to make reference to one particular post there). So here is MY advice on employment in physics:

Employment in Physics – Part 1

There have been frequent questions on the kinds of employment that are available for physicists. That question is very difficult to answer, because it depends on a number of factors, such as where you are, what degree you obtained, what area of specialization you went into, and what skill you have acquired.

I think it is best to start by simply pointing out the kind of job advertisements that most physicists in the market actually read. As far as I know, these are the two most popular sources of job listings aimed at physicists and others in similar fields such as astronomy, astrophysics, biophysics, chemistry, etc. Keep in mind that these job listings changes often, even weekly, and the number of listings also fluctuate during different times of the year. So sample them a few times to get a good idea of the kinds of jobs that are available.

A few of the items in the list are also for "studentship", or schools offering assistantships for students to pursue a Ph.D degree, sometime for a specific field of study. So not all of them are only for job-seekers.

Maybe this might influence you in the area of study you want to go into..

http://aip.jobcontrolcenter.com/search.cfm [Broken]
http://physicsweb.org/jobs/

Zz.


Employment in Physics – Part 2

This is a continuation of the series on issues related to employment in physics and of physicists.

A new statistics on the salary increase of physics Ph.D's working in the industrial sector in the US has just been released.

http://www.tipmagazine.com/tip/INPHF...iss-6/p10.html [Broken]

I am bringing this up because I want to make two important points:

1. That if you have the needed skills and specialities, your employability as a physics Ph.D transcends beyond just the typical academic boundaries, and that you CAN be employed in many industrial sector of the economy. This I have tried to emphasize in my "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essays;

2. That compared to many other areas of science and engineering, a physics degree holder in the industrial sector still makes a "comfortable", if not lucrative, living.

Zz.


Employment in Physics – Part 3

Once again, we hear "horror stories" based on anecdotal evidence of the difficulties in finding jobs in with a physics degree. While this is certainly can be true, the employability or desirability of a physics graduate depends HEAVILY on (i) the area of physics that that person specialized in (ii) whether it was theoretical or experimental (iii) the skills that the person acquired (iv) pedigree (i.e. who was his/her mentor).

Because of this, you can have someone (like Jonathan Katz) who sees people going into dispair due to not having a good career in physics, versus people like me who sees Ph.D's in Medical Physics and Condensed matter physics being offered $70,000 upwards jobs in industries even before they graduate! Let's get this VERY clear - what you choose to do in graduate school has a huge impact on your ability to get a job upon graduation! It can be the difference between having your options being narrowed to only employment in the academic institutions or research labs, and having a wider option to also be employable in industries.

This topic will certainly be a major part of a future installment of "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essay. But for now, if you want a good snapshot of the employment in physics, at least in the US, go past all of these anecdotal evidence and look at the statistics that have been compiled by the AIP.

http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/emptrends.html

Zz.


Employment in Physics – Part 4

This time I'm making a reference to a recent article on the job market for a specific speciality - MRI Physicists.

http://www.tipmagazine.com/tip/INPHF.../iss-1/p22.pdf [Broken]

While this article focuses on a particular field, it also gives a broad feel to the job outlook in medical physics as a whole. In any case, the advice being given in this article echoes what I have been trying to get across in this series of essay, and in my "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essay - the ability to adapt to changing situations. To be able to do that, one must have as wide of a training and experience as possible to increase one's changes of having the necessary skill.
 
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  • #7
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srry to change the subject ,but ... LINE ..what do u mean by this statement ..... "Nuclear I think I could really get to but I saw on a univiersity website that Nuclear is one you should stay away from"..
 
  • #8
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Well it was saying something about Mechnical and Electrical are the most sought after engineers. Maybe it was saying that there aren't that many jobs in Nuclear and Aerospace Engineering.

If I get a degree I'd want to stayin Texas or go to California. Those also happen to be the hottest spos for Science,Engineering,and Technology. Afyer that I would choose New England,Chicago,Florida,or Seattle.
 
  • #9
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Line said:
Maybe it was saying that there aren't that many jobs in Nuclear and Aerospace Engineering.
If I get a degree I'd want to stayin Texas or go to California. Those also happen to be the hottest spos for Science,Engineering,and Technology. Afyer that I would choose New England,Chicago,Florida,or Seattle.
From what I've been hearing, Nuclear engineers are going to be in pretty high demand in a few years, as there aren't too many of them in training and especially as the country is leaning off reliance on natural gases (though that might take a while considering the current political state of the country).

For instance, I'm dual majoring in physics/nuclear engineering and while I was taking my general chemistry discussion, not too who were in class were going into nuclear (I saw a lot of civil, mechanical, and such). I noticed the same thing in the intro to engineering course.
 
  • #10
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Line said:
Ues I saw on one university website thst alot of physicists become computer programmers. But just how?
Computational physics is a huge field. Simulations and whatnot. In fact, it's mandatory to take a computational physics module in year 2 at the uni I visited.
 

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