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Why did you choose physics?

  1. Jul 17, 2008 #1
    Please be detailed; I'm very interested in hearing your answer to the following:

    1) Why did you choose physics as a career path?

    2) What environmental factors furthered your interest in physics (e.g getting a telescope for Christmas as a boy)?

    3) Why do you think the environmental factors in the previous question assisted your interest in physics?

    4) Is there another career (or perhaps more than one) that you would prefer or enjoy just as much?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2008 #2


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    I chose it for the women
  4. Jul 17, 2008 #3
    I wanted to look smart. It's not working. :(
  5. Jul 17, 2008 #4
    I did not choose physics. Physics chose me :cry:

    I could go through the details of what I wanted to do exactly at which stage, but I really never had to make a choice. As far as I remember, I was interested and questionning how things work, and I was doing it long before I even thought why I was doing it anyway. Of course I considered the possibility to do something else. But I decided that a harder life of passion is better than a confortable life spent regretting not to have done it and being frustrating to contemplate one's dreams from outside.

    Etymology of passion
  6. Jul 17, 2008 #5
    I've a keen interest in it, just not a vast knowledge of it. I'm starting school again with some algebra classes in September and hopefully start working my way up the ladder towards an education in Physics. I love reading the papers, the articles, PF. I love the workings of the universe and man's understanding of it thus far.
  7. Jul 17, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the questions - I am also interested to read the responses of others!

    I don't think doing a BSc or PhD in physics means that someone necessarily wants a career as a physicist. When I decided to study physics (at 16) I gave very little thought to what sort of job I wanted to do.... And by the time I finished my undergraduate degree I'd realised that people with physics degrees usually found themselves working interesting jobs even if they weren't professional physicists. So the answer to the question is: I still don't feel I have chosen a career as a physicist!

    2 & 3.
    I was lucky to have two very talented teachers who inspired me to work hard and do my best. The first teacher turned me on to science at age 12. I wanted very badly to impress her and I worked much harder than I would have without her influence. My high school physics teacher was also wonderful - he explained things well, he had a lot of enthusiasm for the personalities in physics history and he often made very insightful philosophical comments which excited me - I still remember when he wrote down Newton's law of gravitation and Coulomb's law for the force between charged particles and remarked with amazement that "they both fall off as 1/r^2!"

    I think the decision to study physics was also influenced by my modest success at contests - scoring well made me feel that I was good enough to pursue physics further!

    There are a lot of things I could do with my life. I really enjoy teaching and I could certainly make a career of teaching high school physics. (I'm less enthusiastic about paying for a year of teacher's college.) I would also consider switching to meteorology or doing research on alternative fuels and sources of power. And, if I could make a living at it, I would love to be a professional musician.
  8. Jul 17, 2008 #7
    i chose physics to become a banker

  9. Jul 17, 2008 #8

    Dr Transport

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    I couldn't get into engineering school.....
  10. Jul 17, 2008 #9
    I've wanted to study physics and astronomy for almost as long as I can remember. Now I'm halfway through my physics undergraduate degree, and nothing else interests me. If it were up to me, I'd take only physics and astronomy classes, but I still have to take some general ed. classes.
  11. Jul 18, 2008 #10
    i chose it because it helps to describe and explain the world i call home.
  12. Jul 18, 2008 #11
    I did it because someone bet me that I couldn't. I had to prove him wrong.

    My toys were all action figures.

    If there was another career path I would probably have chosen to be a linguist.
  13. Jul 18, 2008 #12
    Because I was directed by my advisors stating that it would be a necessary grounding to the mystical philosophy I had my degree in.
    Over the years, (20) I have see many of the same questions resurface that ancient mystics were asking. Particularly in String Theory and related topics.
  14. Jul 18, 2008 #13
    this thread is soooo boring


  15. Jul 18, 2008 #14
    Perhaps it's your job that's booooooring and you would rather work in the sciences.
  16. Jul 18, 2008 #15
    If you are not going to post a coherent and useful reply relating to the subject matter of the thread, please do not post in this thread at all.

    To the others: thanks for the replies, guys! I imagined there would be more physicists here to answer than there have been (where's ZapperZ, for instance?); in any case, I really appreciate the responses.
  17. Jul 18, 2008 #16


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    (1) I'm not sure there's any one reason. I find the idea of making a contribution to the world through the advancement of knowledge and understanding a very fulfilling one - even if the contributions I make are extremely minor. I consider physics the most fundamental of sciences, which drew me to it very early. I had a reasonable aptitude for it and as I get old I'm finding I have a passion for research.

    Professionally, I've gone into a less fundamental branch of physics (medical), where most of the problems aren't so much about the fundamental laws of the universe, but how our understanding these laws can help cure disease and provide people with a better quality of life. What I enjoy about the field is that the work I do has immediate applicability. And it pays a little better than life in academia.

    (2) & (3) I think a lot of it really had to with the kids I hung around with growing up. As a teenager I spent a lot of time with kids who weren't afraid to question things. They were very mechanically inclined and strove to come up with ideas for perpetual motion machines or ways of improving car designs. We weren't any smarter than anyone else, but we enjoyed and placed great value on intellectual challenges. Oddly, I was the only one to even go to university.

    (4) I would have enjoyed being a detective, I think. Although I'm not sure I'd like the shift-work.
  18. Jul 19, 2008 #17
    lemme think about that


    NOPE, sorry dude

    Maybe, err, nobody cares ??

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