Questions for Physicists....

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posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 01:10 PM
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I am having a mid life crisis with my career....I am in my mid 30s and am looking for any physicist to comment on their profession....

I have a BA in Geography/Geology and was a good student back in the day.....how difficult would it be for me to transition into physics...

Do you guys/gals enjoy your jobs?

Science, especially physics has always interested me...I read books on it often, but feel I may be way behind the curve and too late to switch to such a dedicated career.....any advice would be appreciated.

Sorry if this shouldn't be in the S+T forum.




posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 


I'd take a wild stab in the dark and guess that you have to be ultra good at mathematics. How is your maths skills?



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by michael1983l
 


That's not fair. Stephen Hawkins himself said that you can be a good physicist without being a wild mathematician. Personally I visualize images instead of equations... As long as you get the concept, everything's fine.

Although I must add some concepts, like 11 dimensions, can only be described with mathematics, because they are un-imaginable as we never experienced it.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 01:22 PM
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reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 


Start off by reading Stephen Hawkins and Leonard Susskind. And Newton, is, of course, un-avoidable.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 01:28 PM
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I work in electronics.. I love it! I like it mostly because I love working with trig. I'd say, as long as there's something in the profession YOU enjoy, then do it. There's a wide range of jobs you can get with a degree in physics, so its just a matter of finding what fits you best.

Good Luck!

Robb


*edit - Oh ya... its worth remembering that you can never be too old to learn something new!
edit on 9-11-2012 by PollyPeptide because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 01:42 PM
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Originally posted by michael1983l
reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 


I'd take a wild stab in the dark and guess that you have to be ultra good at mathematics. How is your maths skills?



While true that you can be a physicist without major math skills that pretty much limits you to "thought experiments" But to go deeply into physics as a career you will need major skills in calculus and other high maths. If you have ever seen some of those blackboards in movies covered in squiggles and such they are no exaggeration. The so called formulas in the movies may not mean squat but the real life maths are just as complex.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 


Hm. Well.

Take 1: It depends on if you enjoy it. It's not a job you ought to do unless your daydreams often drift into things like "I wonder what happens to the equations that govern the performance of inertial navigation if I diddle the speed of C?" or "Can you couple a pair of radiative frequencies to unidimensional carbon by putting a couple of dye molecules in a buckyball or on a graphene sheet?"

If you don't have a lot of curiosity about why things work the way they do, physics will suck ass.

Take 2: It takes a LONG time to get that doctorate. And money. I've got a masters and haven't been able to justify quitting what I do to go the last step, even with the Navy occasionally pushing me to do it.

Take 3: Maybe you need a different job in the field you're in. Less transition.

Take 4: If you're just looking for money, go for something that you sort of like that has a non-outsourceable trade aspect to it - my youngest bro became a CRNA. If I were working as a salaried engineer, I would NEVER make the money Billy does.

Take 5: Parlay what you do into a non-whackable government career. NRO, DIA and a couple of the other TLAs hire geology/geography guys. If you had Pashto or Mandarin skillz you'd be a shoo-in unless you couldn't clear

Take 6: Go the engineer route. You can pick up a BS in physics at the same time as a BS in EE by choosing your electives since there's so much overlap. Engineers make money faster, and the PhD is often not needed, even to get into "fun" government projects, although it does help. If you decide you really want a doctorate in physics, it's all applicable - there's just a smidge of extra study to get that physics masters.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by Bedlam
reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 


Hm. Well.

Take 1: It depends on if you enjoy it. It's not a job you ought to do unless your daydreams often drift into things like "I wonder what happens to the equations that govern the performance of inertial navigation if I diddle the speed of C?" or "Can you couple a pair of radiative frequencies to unidimensional carbon by putting a couple of dye molecules in a buckyball or on a graphene sheet?"

If you don't have a lot of curiosity about why things work the way they do, physics will suck ass.

Take 2: It takes a LONG time to get that doctorate. And money. I've got a masters and haven't been able to justify quitting what I do to go the last step, even with the Navy occasionally pushing me to do it.

Take 3: Maybe you need a different job in the field you're in. Less transition.

Take 4: If you're just looking for money, go for something that you sort of like that has a non-outsourceable trade aspect to it - my youngest bro became a CRNA. If I were working as a salaried engineer, I would NEVER make the money Billy does.

Take 5: Parlay what you do into a non-whackable government career. NRO, DIA and a couple of the other TLAs hire geology/geography guys. If you had Pashto or Mandarin skillz you'd be a shoo-in unless you couldn't clear

Take 6: Go the engineer route. You can pick up a BS in physics at the same time as a BS in EE by choosing your electives since there's so much overlap. Engineers make money faster, and the PhD is often not needed, even to get into "fun" government projects, although it does help. If you decide you really want a doctorate in physics, it's all applicable - there's just a smidge of extra study to get that physics masters.


Thx for everyones replies.....I have considered Intel...one with the mapping agency, and of course the other alphabet groups...no call backs yet...my language skills are in german which....is pointless haha...maybe I should have lived in WWII! I still have four more free years of college after Enduring Freedom...I've considered trying to pick up a physics degree at my own pace but I know itll take me forever...bah so many choices...if I was rich I would just go to school full time forever.

Thanks for everyone's input.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:13 PM
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Here is a link I think you will enjoy.
Free online college level courses



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:20 PM
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You might try this site. There are lots of professionals that might give you some insight:

Physics Forum



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:32 PM
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nice links lads!

thx



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 03:36 PM
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reply to post by cosmicexplorer
 


I think the bigger question is the job market. If you're considering a mid-life career change, what type of job would a physicist be looking for? My brother has a degree in Physics, but there wasn't much of a job market, so he got his Masters in Economics, but once again, the job market wasn't what he hoped, and he ended up teaching high school mathematics.

I'd look for your dream job first, and then look into the education that applies to that dream job.



posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 05:30 PM
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You might also consider unassing the AO, as we used to say. Ex-patriate. Get thee hence to the land down under, where women glow and men with technical skills and military experience can often get a job. (flute riff)

I can't do that without taking the BIIIIIG irreversible step, but at one time I was eyeing it.



posted on Nov, 10 2012 @ 04:54 PM
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I'd just like to reiterate the math part of all this. You don't need wild mathematical ability, but you DO need an advanced understanding of high level math. DiffEq, Linear Algebra, Set theory, statistics and more. Expect it take a good 8-10 years to train up. Do not expect to find a good job afterwards.



posted on Nov, 13 2012 @ 04:17 PM
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I do physics, and i have to say that after having a doctorate in physics, it is relatively easy to get a good job. If you want to stay in academia, no you are not going to get rich... if you want to put your skills learned and developed through the course of your Masters and PhD to the normal world... then you can do almost anything.

Many many of the physicists i have worked with went on to work in a huge variety of sectors, often being hired more readily than people leaving university with specialist degrees in areas you might expect to be snapped up instantly.

I know at least 4 people who went into banking fairly high up due to the level of math competence and problem solving skills. I wouldn't say if you want to be the number 1 most employable person in existence then study physics... because such a thing doesn't exist, but if you want more options than say... doing a business degree, then you cannot go too wrong by doing physics if you enjoy it.



posted on Nov, 13 2012 @ 09:22 PM
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Hm... might your generalized intelligence score have something to do with how much time it will take you to "re-tool" yourself?

So if you have a lower g score, it might take you 10 years to learn the topics. Or you might be great at math but little else.

If you have a higher g score, you might suck at a topic, but be able to understand it in half the amount of time or less? Because... well, your brain just makes those connections way faster?

This is something that the Government has spent a bundle on researching; there might be some truth to it as it is now a major project that you can read about on the DoD webpage...

And, aren't thought experiments the most critical aspect of what we're talking about? If you can do the math, but can't come up with the idea.... well, let me put it this way. Do architects build their projects themselves? Usually, no. Which is why delegation of duties is such a critical part of our society. The process of discovery usually starts with an idea that everyone else thinks is crazy... good luck nameless person on the internet, I wish you luck.



posted on Nov, 16 2012 @ 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by Stunspot
I'd just like to reiterate the math part of all this. You don't need wild mathematical ability, but you DO need an advanced understanding of high level math. DiffEq, Linear Algebra, Set theory, statistics and more. Expect it take a good 8-10 years to train up. Do not expect to find a good job afterwards.


Set theory? Seriously?



posted on Nov, 16 2012 @ 11:42 PM
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Have you taken intermediate classical mechanics and electromagnetism as a geology major? Shouldn't be too hard. You might not even have to start an entire physics degree. Just taking the big three (quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, E&M) and doing well in them as well as some research experience should get you into some graduate schools, but probably not anywhere in the top 20.

If you have absolutely no background in physics, then I stress that you start from the ground up, mainly basic Newtonian mechanics and kinematics and work your way up. Fortunately, there's plenty of resources online to help you along the way.

As for mathematical ability, unless you want to get into quantum gravity and cosmology, you shouldn't worry about it. If you can understand what a rate of change is and what the area under the curve means, then you have more "mathematical ability" or whatever that means to be able to handle the required math for most physics disciplines.



posted on Nov, 17 2012 @ 12:00 AM
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The transition is easy.

Since I didn't take college in physics or any college at all, it all lies in the projects you do.

If you have a desire to learn more, go for it. The best way to learn something is by doing it by hand, in the field.





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