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Which field would fit me?

  1. Jul 30, 2013 #1
    Hello, I have been interested in physics since I was 9 (i'm 15) and am going to be taking my first physics class sophomore year in this coming year. It got me thinking as to what type of physics I want to pursue.

    I am really interested with space and how it works and the fundamentals of what had to happen and what will happen to certain things. I was hoping to be an Astrophysicist after college but have come to a crossroad in my decision. Astrophysics, as of my current understanding, includes many different branches of physics and I am wondering if I could learn the whole (or try at least) to learn the whole spectrum of those sub-fields. some examples of the sub-fields are: mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics.

    Also then there divided by space regions: The main Branches of Astrophysics or Astronomy are: Solar Astrophysics, Stellar Astrophysics, Planetary Astrophysics, Galactic Astrophysics, Extra-galactic Astrophysics, and Cosmology. Is it possible to try and learn all of these to an experts extent of knowledge?

    I understand I might be getting ahead of myself and will eventually figure this out, but I am just curious as to if I have to choose which one to go into. Thank you for any advice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2013 #2
    At your age you should just worry about doing well in trig, algebra and physics in high school. You'll start to get an idea of what you want to do as you get further into physics (although it sounds like you're pretty interested in astrophysics).

    As for astrophysics, you're going to need a PhD if you want a job in that field. For your bachelor's you will learn all the basics: Newtonian mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, waves, optics, etc. Many universities also teach relativity as an undergrad class though I've looked at some that save it for grad school.

    This will get you pretty much all the tools that you need (plus the math!) to do any kind of physics, you won't have to worry about focusing on one subject until grad school. I'm about 21 and starting my third year of college, I also want to be an astrophysicist but I haven't taken anything astronomy related, it's just been a lot of math, Newtonian mechanics and EM.

    Short version: just get good grades and don't focus on one field right now because that's the worst thing you can do
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