1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why everyone wants to be a Astrophysicist?

  1. Jul 1, 2011 #1
    I see it around the forums, majority of the people want to get into Astrophysicist, why is that?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2011 #2
    I don't see that :S
     
  4. Jul 1, 2011 #3

    ZapperZ

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    What "majority of the people"? How'd you come up with THAT?

    Zz.
     
  5. Jul 1, 2011 #4

    Pengwuino

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Blame Carl Sagan.
     
  6. Jul 1, 2011 #5
    Because the universe and its celestial objects are amazing?
     
  7. Jul 1, 2011 #6

    eri

    User Avatar

    I liked staring at the stars. That's why I became an astrophysicist. I think that some people think it sounds impressive (like theoretical physicist) but don't really know what's involved. Kinda like when people say they want to go to Harvard, without really having a plan for getting in or a good reason to attend in the first place.
     
  8. Jul 1, 2011 #7
    Astrophysics threads are somewhat disproportionately represented at the moment, at least among the currently active threads (read: there are three of them). It's not an overwhelming majority, though, and I'd imagine it's mainly coincidental.
     
  9. Jul 1, 2011 #8
    To the OP:

    I can see where you're coming from. At my school, it seems like every physics kid I meet is interested in astro. A bunch of kids I've talked to attribute their astro interest to shows like The Universe and Through the Wormhole.

    I personally have no interest in astro. Magnets, lasers, and EM waves are much cooler.
     
  10. Jul 2, 2011 #9
    I think maybe just at the moment there are more astrophysics majors posting. I saw a post from an astrophysics major a couple of months ago and was so excited to see a poster with the same major as me in the academic guidance section lol. I have seen many more posts from engineering majors.

    I do not go to a school that is a technical institute with focus on physics etc, but physics majors are VERY rare, and astrophysics majors even more rare--I am the only person I know whom is interested in astrophysics. The school I will be transferring to has a very good physics research program, but they just added astrophysics courses this semester.

    To answer your question though, there are two things I was interested in as a child, nuclear and subatomic stuff, and outer space. I used to build nuclear power plants and planets with play-doh and draw maps of nuclear waste sites and pictures of the mechanics of power plants lol (simple maps of course). At the time I was not equally taught about outer space, but I would stare at the sky in the night for countless hours. Sometimes I would open the window in the middle of the night and just sit on the bed observing the night sky while my parents thought I was sleeping. Learning about outer space is still a point of endless fascination for me, and I am so intrigued as to the intricacies of how things work--the physics of things. Cosmology completely blows my mind, if I could contain myself, I would go into that field, but even the minor stuff I know now makes me so giddy and I cannot focus LOL. I am more able to keep a level head when it comes to studying other astrophysical stuff. I am still lower level but I do a lot of external reading.
     
  11. Jul 2, 2011 #10
    because it seems easy to understand at first compared to other physics area
    well at least from high schooler's point of view

    but than when you get more education you find other interests in different field
    i mean you don't usually hear people talking about intense physics in normal conversation but we do often hear things about big bang black hole and stuff
    so people tend to get interested easier
     
  12. Jul 2, 2011 #11

    Simfish

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It's probably a selection effect you see among internet users.

    People who frequently post on forums are overwhelmingly INTP/INTJ. Those are the same personality types that tend to get attracted to theoretical+impractical pursuits such as astrophysics (and the more impractical parts of theoretical physics), as well as fields that seem to have a "soul" (as described in the URL below).

    I've been to several other science forums (as well as Quora), and almost all of them are heavily overrepresented by physicisists (and particularly, astrophysicists at that) - neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists often make up at least half the rest. The blogosphere is also heavily overrepresented by astrophysics, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience (which are pretty much the top three "sexy' science fields on the Internet). In other words, science with soul sells: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/08/science-with-soul-sells/

    Just look at http://www.quora.com/Quora-Users-by-Interests-Segments/Which-active-users-on-Quora-are-scientists, for example. Practically *everyone* is in one of the three fields with a "soul": physics, neuroscience, or something related to evolutionary biology. Aside from those three fields, you see practically no one from any other field. We're also seeing this disproportionate representation on the Reddit AskScience community.

    With that all being said, it's not that popular of a field among undergraduate majors, and there is still *plenty* of demand for undergraduate research (astronomy is pretty much the *easiest* department to get non-menial undergrad research in, apart from the earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  13. Jul 2, 2011 #12
    The number of students at my university is also very disproportional:

    Astrophysics: 34 students
    Theoretical physics: 32
    Nuclear ohysics: 8 (I'm one of them <o/)
    Solid state physics: 1
    Soft matter: 1

    I blame popular scientific books for that.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook