FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

atheist
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FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby atheist » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:26 am

Hi,

I want to be a theoretical physicist. I am from India. I couldn't get a physics bachelors course due to various reasons. I am now stuck up with a mechanical engineering course. I want to give the physics GRE after completing my engineering degree, i.e. four years from now. I have the standard books on undergrad. physics.

What I want to ask is, that would it be practically possible for me to study physics alongwith engineering? Is it practically possible to bear the stress, with all the engineering lab work, and coursework and all? I mean is it possible without going insane?

And also, since I don't have the right course, I don't wanna waste much time in unecessary preparation. I would be using the following books for preparing for the physics GRE. Please tell if they are ok or not.


Halliday resnick


Mechanics: An intro. to mechanics - David Kleppner and Robert Kloenkow


Elelctrodynamics : Electrodynamics - D.J. Griffiths


Quantum Mechanics - D.J. Griffiths/ S. Gasiorowicz


Thermodynamics : Zemmansky and Dittman


Statistical mechanics: kerson huang



Is it possible practically? Please I need desperate help....thanks....any useful suggestions for the GRE would help.

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satyad18
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby satyad18 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:02 pm

atheist wrote:What I want to ask is, that would it be practically possible for me to study physics alongwith engineering? Is it practically possible to bear the stress, with all the engineering lab work, and coursework and all? I mean is it possible without going insane?

Impossible is nothing. :) I studied physics along with engineering!

atheist
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby atheist » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:40 pm

@satyad18

so are you studying physics at post graduate level now? please tell me how you did it in a slightly detailed way if you can!! my mail id is metalrose_03@yahoo.co.in

im w8ing for yr mail....

pqortic
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby pqortic » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:00 pm

atheist, you will learn part of the Halliday book in general physics courses. and I think part of thermo due t your major. your main concerns should be quantum mechanics and electromagnetics. you should be able to take some classes in those areas or just join the classes as a free audience.

blackcat007
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby blackcat007 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:04 am

atheist wrote:Hi,

I want to be a theoretical physicist. I am from India. I couldn't get a physics bachelors course due to various reasons. I am now stuck up with a mechanical engineering course. I want to give the physics GRE after completing my engineering degree, i.e. four years from now. I have the standard books on undergrad. physics.

What I want to ask is, that would it be practically possible for me to study physics alongwith engineering? Is it practically possible to bear the stress, with all the engineering lab work, and coursework and all? I mean is it possible without going insane?

And also, since I don't have the right course, I don't wanna waste much time in unecessary preparation. I would be using the following books for preparing for the physics GRE. Please tell if they are ok or not.


Halliday resnick


Mechanics: An intro. to mechanics - David Kleppner and Robert Kloenkow


Elelctrodynamics : Electrodynamics - D.J. Griffiths


Quantum Mechanics - D.J. Griffiths/ S. Gasiorowicz


Thermodynamics : Zemmansky and Dittman


Statistical mechanics: kerson huang



Is it possible practically? Please I need desperate help....thanks....any useful suggestions for the GRE would help.


YES IT IS POSSIBLE! I am a mechanical engg (just completed my bachelors this May) and now I am going to do PhD in Physics in University of Florida this August.
you have to do more than just preparing for Physics GRE. you have to gain some undergraduate research experience to have a decent profile. Also for PGRE, you don't have to belabor on Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics as pointed out by pqortic. you should Resnick holistically, QM and EM from Griffiths (mostly the image method for the latter) and a bit of Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism may be from Marion or Goldstein. And one most important thing is modern physics from Beiser or Serway.
Browse through this year's profiles to get an idea of trends.
Best of luck

CKtalon
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby CKtalon » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:45 am

Kerson Huang for stat mech is overkill as it is around the graduate level course.
An undergrad book like Thermal Physics by Kittel and Schroeder's (An Intro to Thermal Physics) will include both thermal and statistical physics that you need to know.

diabolicswati
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby diabolicswati » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:20 am

I too have the same issue.I'm from India and had to take up mechanical engineering but i am and have always been interested in theoretical phyiscs.If i gp forward with giving the physics gre,how much of preparation does it require?and also how do i go about studying topics that i am not even remotely familiar with?(since there are no classes available in India for physics gre as not many people give it from here.

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satyad18
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby satyad18 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:00 pm

diabolicswati wrote:I too have the same issue.I'm from India and had to take up mechanical engineering but i am and have always been interested in theoretical phyiscs.If i gp forward with giving the physics gre,how much of preparation does it require?and also how do i go about studying topics that i am not even remotely familiar with?(since there are no classes available in India for physics gre as not many people give it from here.

If you want to go forward, you can give physics gre in November 2011 or you can go to Nepal or to Sri Lanka to give the April test. IMO, you don't need to go for any classes to prepare well. Intense self study for about 3-4 months would suffice. For books and other preparatory materials, search this website.

schwiss
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby schwiss » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:32 pm

satyad18 wrote:
diabolicswati wrote:I too have the same issue.I'm from India and had to take up mechanical engineering but i am and have always been interested in theoretical phyiscs.If i gp forward with giving the physics gre,how much of preparation does it require?and also how do i go about studying topics that i am not even remotely familiar with?(since there are no classes available in India for physics gre as not many people give it from here.

If you want to go forward, you can give physics gre in November 2011 or you can go to Nepal or to Sri Lanka to give the April test. IMO, you don't need to go for any classes to prepare well. Intense self study for about 3-4 months would suffice. For books and other preparatory materials, search this website.


By the way, why do you people say "give an exam". I have never ever seen a native English-speaker use the word give there. I understand it probably comes from your language, but I would guess that someone, somewhere used the correct word. But no, I have never ever seen an Indian/Pakistani (I apologize if this applies only to either group) say "take an exam".

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satyad18
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby satyad18 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:04 pm

8)
Last edited by satyad18 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

CarlBrannen
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby CarlBrannen » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:53 am

schwiss wrote:By the way, why do you people say "give an exam".


Because the students "give the answers".

From what I can see, it's an idiom standard to India; it seems that the rest of the world uses the opposite sense (i.e. the instructor gives the exam and the students take it).

I can see that the Indian version makes a certain sense. One gives "gifts". Is an exam a gift? No.

schwiss
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby schwiss » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:33 am

CarlBrannen wrote:
schwiss wrote:By the way, why do you people say "give an exam".


Because the students "give the answers".

From what I can see, it's an idiom standard to India; it seems that the rest of the world uses the opposite sense (i.e. the instructor gives the exam and the students take it).

I can see that the Indian version makes a certain sense. One gives "gifts". Is an exam a gift? No.


One can also give a beating.

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HappyQuark
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:54 pm

schwiss wrote:One can also give a beating.


In the United States we have a similar phrase that goes, "Kick his ass, seabass!"

CarlBrannen
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby CarlBrannen » Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:59 am

schwiss wrote:One can also give a beating.


Yes. And here's the closest to the Indian usage at freedictionary:

"To perform for an audience: give a recital."
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/give

dushyanth
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby dushyanth » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:18 pm

These are the major ways in India for doing Msc or integrated Ph.D.(or direct Ph.D. in some cases) in physics after engineering.

    JAM
    Opportunities abroad (Physics GRE, General GRE, IELTS and TOFEL etc)
    JEST
    TIFR GS(Integrated Ph.D. paper)
    University entrance tests.
    MS by research programs
    TIFR Hyderabad
    GATE
    CSIR NET
    Distance Programs
The three exams JEST, GATE, and NET have syllabus of Msc+Bsc. All other mentioned above are conducted on Bsc level syllabus and are easier for us Engineers(B.Tech or B.E) with less physics background to crack.

JAM exam: This is conducted by IITs as an entrance test to Msc and integrated Ph.D. in IITs and IISC. Also, some IISERs take jam rankers to integrated Ph.D. This is the best of all options for slow learners. For those who can't spend a year preparing for entrance tests, this will be a boon. Even if you prepare perfectly only up to 12th class level physics, you can get a rank under 500 easily. So, even if you are preparing for JEST, I strongly recommend keeping this as a backup option at least.
To know in detail about the other exams read the full post in this blog exclusive for engineers trying to become physicists
http://physicsafterengineering.blogspot.in/2018/03/physics-after-engineering.html?m=1

http://physicsafterengineering.blogspot.in

vaibhav.sharma
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Re: FROM ENGINEERING TO THEORETICAL PHYSICS, IS IT POSSIBLE?

Postby vaibhav.sharma » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:52 pm

Yes, it is certainly possible. I have exactly been in this situation and I have seen the struggle, especially when your engineering college’s rigid policies give you no freedom of taking physics courses outside your engineering branch and next to nil research opportunities in physics and a research reputation abroad.

I have been fortunate enough to be offered admission to a few top PhD programs in physics in US and consequently, I will be joining the physics department at Cornell University for my PhD. I can advise on how a transition can be made even when your undergrad engineering college has no resources to offer in physics. Clear information was not available in my time and I hope can change that thing.

I had already lost most of my interest in mechanical engineering near the end of my second year at Delhi Technological University. I instead enjoyed learning physics and continued doing so, when at the end of my third year, I realized that I wanted to become a physicist instead of an engineer. (You can definitely take out time and study some physics on your own) I had two options in front of me, one was to apply for PhD programs straight-away and the other was to instead do a master’s degree In physics and then apply for PhD. I chose the former though ended up doing the latter.

I decided to get some research experience in physics. Since my college wasn’t the right place for getting physics research experience, I started applying to internship programs for the summer, both via official portals and by mailing professors. I was rejected by almost all places (lack of physics coursework maybe or not enough marks?). Finally, some luck landed my way when I was accepted by a professor at IISER, Bhopal to work during the summer. I ended up spending my summer there and came back even more excited to pursue physics.

Now, my college had no provision of taking any electives outside my department and thus I had no official physics coursework. (A hat tip: If you are from a college where you are allowed to take courses in any department (like IIT), definitely take physics courses and build up a physics profile) I then took the general GRE, the physics GRE and the TOEFL, and did pretty well on them. Since US allows you to apply directly after bachelor’s for a PhD, I naively thought my credentials are probably good enough to get into a good program directly (mostly on the back of my GRE scores).

Requiring three letters of recommendation (LOR), I managed to get two from physics profs at IISER, Bhopal and one from my engineering prof under whom I did a project. I applied to 8 places. The LOR from my college prof turned out to be the weakest and he did not even send it to most places, and as a result, I got rejected from every place. In hindsight, even without this fiasco, any top place would have rejected since I really had zero physics coursework and PhD admissions are much more stringent.

Lesson learnt: Physics coursework is important, choose LOR profs carefully)

I had already made a back-up plan of pursuing a master’s degree in physics from India, in case things do not work out. I gave the IIT JAM exam and was able to do well enough to be accepted to IIT Bombay’s MSc physics program.

(Common Misconception – B.Tech students are not allowed to take JAM or offered MSc physics admission. Well, IIT Bombay certainly allows B>tech students in their MSc Physics program)

This in my opinion, turned out to be the best decision I took. The academic experience at IIT Bombay was polar opposite to what I experienced in DTU. Not only were the physics professors awesome, but there was plenty of opportunity to get involved in good research. I took a variety of courses in physics, was allowed to freely choose courses, gained research experience in both experimental and theoretical physics (astrophysics, condensed matter, particle physics), collaborated and interacted with professors both from India and abroad of different institutions, and learnt more physics than I could imagine. It was here I realized how less physics I knew and how entrance exams are a terrible way to gauge your knowledge of physics.

This time I applied to the top PhD programs in US again. Not only did I know more physics, I was better prepared, had actual real physics coursework (good GPA) and research experience in hand, and amazing LORs from IIT profs. Needless to say, I was accepted to several places with fellowship (Cornell, UCLA, Penn, John Hopkins, Bristol (UK) ) among which I accepted Cornell’s offer for doing a PhD in physics.

PhD in India: India is also a great option to do a PhD, especially in theoretical physics. I was going to apply to Indian programs as well. TIFR, IISc, IUCAA, ICTS and HRI are among many top institutes where you can try for a PhD. For Indian PhD admissions, you need to clear entrance examinations. There are multiple exams to do that including the CSIR NET, JEST, and the GATE exam in physics. TIFR has its own entrance exam too. A good rank in these exams gets you an interview call from these institutes. One has to then clear the interviews to get admission.

My advice would to be gain sufficient experience in physics before going for a PhD. This includes quality coursework and research experience. PhD admissions are tougher and at top places, GRE scores do not even matter much. It’s all about coursework and research.

I feel that doing a master’s degree put me in a better position to pursue a PhD. However, if your institute allows physics courses to be taken along with engineering courses, and you can gain valuable research experience in physics, then you can apply for a PhD directly too after B. Tech. And for Indian PhD programs, prepare well for the entrance exams and study physics to be able to clear the grueling physics interviews.

For further help, you can contact me on my quora account. Here is the link to my profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Vaibhav-Sharma-18




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