larry burns wrote:how are the job opportunities for one with a phD in condensed matter theory? do government and research labs want to hire them? do people in industry want them? or are they just as doomed in terms of career opportunities as physicists working only on string theory?
i've been looking into condensed matter because i heard it uses stat mech alot, which is my favorite area of physics as i didnt enjoy E&M or quantum as much. i dont know too much about it as i havent taken any electives, such as Solid State physics. Based on my undergrad research experiences, i'm certain that i want to avoid experimental work and work on computational simulations of physical systems. one of my projects was materials modeling, which was pretty interesting. i also want to do something more on the applied side, such as working on CM or lasers or whatever, not something too theoretical like QM. i've also been looking into computational fluid dynamics
larry burns wrote:by 'applied' CMP, do you mean only those who are condensed matter experimentalists can find plenty of job opportunities? or can those who work on computations/simulations on the applications of CMP find jobs as well?
physics_auth wrote:larry burns wrote:by 'applied' CMP, do you mean only those who are condensed matter experimentalists can find plenty of job opportunities? or can those who work on computations/simulations on the applications of CMP find jobs as well?
I do not know if there is a separate branch of computational condensed matter physics. I haven't seen sth like that ... yet. For example, people who work in theory usually construct any simulation they want to use on their own. And probably (I am not absolutely sure) the same is the situation with experimentalists. However, in other branches of physics like particle physics the work is partitioned into 3 parts: those who conduct experiments at accelerators or sth, those who handle the data and thereafter the theorists who try to interpret the data and produce new knoledge.
dlenmn wrote:I don't know much about job opportunities (kind of willful ignorance really), but it's my understanding that, in general, experimental people are more in demand. Industry doesn't spend all that much doing basic science, and when they do, they generally want results (meaning experimental stuff -- maybe a couple theorists are needed for support).
You should test the waters by taking a solid state class.
If you like computer simulations, it's a great way to go. The CM theorists I know spend all day in front of their computers... Pretty much all the low hanging fruit in CM (the stuff that can be done by hand) has already been picked. Simulations are all that's left.
I'm not sure what you mean by "applied". Compared to say, string theory, all CM theory is "applied".
noojens wrote:As an aside, material science departments tend to do a lot of condensed matter research that's generally very applications-focused. MatSci PhDs from solid universities never seem to have problems finding jobs, in my vague and anecdotal experience.
Food for thought
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