Which Graduate Program Should I Apply for?!!

ZeusWillis
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:02 am

Which Graduate Program Should I Apply for?!!

Postby ZeusWillis » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:31 pm

I am currently in my last year of my Physics undergraduate degree. I haven't taken any Engineering courses specifically but I am starting to really think about applying for EE programs at a graduate level as opposed to physics. I am VERY interested in a practical hands on experience working more with the technical side of the nuclear/particle field. I have no interest in a program which is heavy coding or computer software, although this seems to be ubiquitous in any physics at this level. This summer I did an internship in which I worked with the instrumentation and I've decided that is the type of work I would like to pursue.
WAT DO? :shock:

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Which Graduate Program Should I Apply for?!!

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:38 pm


ZeusWillis
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:02 am

Re: Which Graduate Program Should I Apply for?!!

Postby ZeusWillis » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:24 pm

My internship this summer was at an accelerator. I feel the majority of people who had a graduate degree in physics and were working at this accelerator were not involved in instrumentation, but in theoretical projects. I don't know if you have any experience in the accelerator physics, but would you say that a degree in that particular field would lead to these types of positions which focus mostly on theory?

TheBeast
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:06 am

Re: Which Graduate Program Should I Apply for?!!

Postby TheBeast » Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:41 pm

In my experience, the majority of people at an accelerator don't work on instrumentation. But that's because the majority are not accelerator physicists. There's usually one or several departments/divisions whose task is to develop, maintain and do the R&D work for the next generation of accelerator work. I've spent a lot of time at Fermilab over the years and the people who do this kind of work are those in the Accelerator Division (AD). Most students (summer or otherwise) aren't affiliated to the AD, but to a specific experiment or theory group and thus don't do actual accelerator physics. But, that doesn't mean that no one does instrumentation and accelerator work.

If you're interested in working on the machines needed for particle or nuclear experiments, I'm guessing that you could study EE with something related to resonance cavities, for instance. But if you know that you want to work on particle instrumentation, your best bet would be to apply to an accelerator physics department. Most places don't have an accelerator physics program (they have high energy experiment programs where people analyze data from the experiments at the accelerators, they don't actually design the accelerator), so you need to do the necessary research to find the schools that do. bfollinprm has given some good starting points.

TL;DR
Most people at accelerator complexes aren't accelerator physicists. Those that are tend to do the hands-on accelerator R&D.




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