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Aiming at a career in nanotechnology


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#1 Vindex

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 08:39 PM


I've been interested in nanotechnology for a long time now, not only for the sheer enthusiasm of unraveling matter's secrets and overcoming engineering obstacles at this tiny scale, but also and more importantly for it's infinite applicability on our lives, being the medical field the most promising one (opinion). Also, I figured that if I truly desire life extension therapies to be available in my lifetime, I better be proactive about it.

I'm not yet in college , but I'm still young (21), so I believe there's still hope for a fruitful career. I'm faced with some choice regarding courses (bachelor level) in my country and universities in my city (I believe the main universities in Portugal are all pretty much on the same level, so I'm not very picky). I've narrowed it down to the following:

- Physics: it offers some minor options like astronomy, physics engineering or other fields.

- Physics engineering: there's 2 universities teaching this near me, one being a bit more prestigious than the other, but I guess I'd be better off judging them based on their curricular plans.

- Micro and nanotechnology engineering: this is very obviously related to nanotechnology, but perhaps it might be a better option to acquire some broad fundamental knowledge first, rather than working on a specialization from the very start (even though this course obviously covers the essential physics) edit: i forgot to mention this course is very recent, about 2 or 3 years old, should that be a determining factor?


There are other options such as materials eng., electrotechnical eng., biomedical eng., but they're probably not that related to nanotechnology. I'm more inclined towards the 3rd option, but it'd prove very useful to read some opinions from people more knowledgeable than me. Some totally unrelated career is not entirely dismissed, say genetics, but nanotechnology pleases me and I believe that in the not so distant future all fields of science will rely on nanotechnolgy for further progress.

One thing that worries me is the prospect of employability. Portugal has no research on this particular field, apart from the newly inaugurated International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) that does research on nanomedicine, but I can't rely on this only option. Now, Portugal has no Cambridge University nor IMT... so how exactly can I get an international employer interested in me?

That'd be all for now, thank you.

Cheers

Edited by Vindex, 20 October 2010 - 08:50 PM.


#2 tst

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 06:30 AM

Good luck, and read Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.

#3 John Schloendorn

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 11:30 AM

but perhaps it might be a better option to acquire some broad fundamental knowledge first, rather than working on a specialization from the very start

I think you're exactly right here. If you want to create the nanotechnology of the future, you probably have no use for the clubs and stones that "applied" academics teach today. Better learn what the rules are, and then bend and break them to your own best ability.

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#4 John Schloendorn

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 11:32 AM

how exactly can I get an international employer interested in me?

By becoming one.

#5 Vindex

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 03:46 PM

Good luck, and read Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.


Thanks, will definitely read it :)

I think you're exactly right here. If you want to create the nanotechnology of the future, you probably have no use for the clubs and stones that "applied" academics teach today. Better learn what the rules are, and then bend and break them to your own best ability.


Still, should I pick a specialized course in my master's degree?
Also, wouldn't it be best to go with physics engineering or minoring in engineering for the engineering skills? I've read somewhere that a nanotech investigator should be both scientist and engineer. Do you agree with this?

Thank you.

#6 caliban

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 11:45 PM

They do some nifty bio-nanotech in Porto.

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#7 Warp_Splinter

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:47 AM

The "engineering physics" major at my school is just a modified electrical engineering program with some upper division physics courses in place of some of the upper division electrical engineering electives. I tend to agree with the other poster that for your undergraduate degree a straight physics major probably won't hurt and will give you a solid foundation for graduate studies in something like nanoengineering, but there may be other factors you should take into account, such as the relative quality of various programs and schools. Nanoengineering is a new and challenging field, and in my opinion you're going to want a solid, rigorous foundation if you want to work in this area. An engineering major may give you a more directly applicable education, so it's a hard call to make; I don't think you will go wrong either way.




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