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What to do with a Physics Degree

  1. Jan 22, 2006 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2006 #2


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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?

  4. Jan 22, 2006 #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)


    - theoretical astrophysics

    - observational astrophysics

    covering the design, manufacture and physics behind telescopes and all sorts of measuring devices.
  5. Jan 22, 2006 #4
    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.
  6. Jan 22, 2006 #5
    Ues I saw on one university website thst alot of physicists become computer programmers. But just how?
  7. Jan 22, 2006 #6


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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:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  8. Jan 23, 2006 #7
    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"..
  9. Jan 23, 2006 #8
    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.
  10. Jan 23, 2006 #9
    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.
  11. Jan 23, 2006 #10
    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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