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Anyone a career physicist

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#1 knite

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 12:54 PM

Im majoring in physics, nearing the completion of mechanics, and a I really love this work, Im just wondering what the real job is like, and any pointers a career physicist could offer, or someone who just has a serious interest in it.

#2 Mind

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 02:30 PM

One career physicist here is bwowk. If he does not respond to this thread then maybe you could send him a PM.

#3 bgwowk

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Posted 09 December 2006 - 08:22 PM

Get a student membership in the APS


if you don't already have one, and/or regularly read Physics Today. Chat with faculty of your institution to learn the pros and cons of various specialities (e.g. in high energy physics your name will appear on papers in alphabetical order will 100 other people, next to the guy who cleaned the lab floor).

Realize that once you choose a field of graduate work, you are pretty much committing to that speciality as a career if you are able to stay in academia. If you end up in industry, you have more flexibility to change focus through your career. In fact you will have to.

Know your limitations. You have to be really, really smart and productive to get a good position in physics academia. I've known very bright theoreticians who ended up working as investment analysts for insurance companies, or teaching at obscure four-year colleges.

Consider looking at professional niches like medical or health physics. While you won't win any Nobel prizes, they can be more secure and remunerative than pure academic physics.

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#4 knite

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 07:35 AM

thanks =)

#5 bgwowk

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 06:21 PM

By the way, if you want to talk to lots more physicists and physics students, visit


There's a whole subforum on Academic and Career Guidance.

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