I'll save the tl;dr and just keep this to the point. I'm an undergraduate student working on two degrees: Physics and Chemical Engineering. I'm wrapping up my 3 year electives binge at a local community college and will be transferring to my state's flagship university in one year to do another 3 years, this time full of straight Physics, ChE, Chemistry, and Math (cannot WAIT!)
I've done some (miniscule) research already and hope to do an REU when I transfer. My question is more about what I'll be doing POST Graduate School. I'm interested in alternative energy research, and I have many questions, but I'll keep it down to three:
1. What specific research is making actual progress? I hear solar is doing well. Wind and hydro are basically tapped out, and although hot fusion is the holy grail, it would take decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to fund. I'm looking for something to focus in on which is reasonable.
2. Where is the best place to conduct this research? Any specific state? Any specific COUNTRY? Government has cool toys, but is prone to funding freezes; private industry giants such as Exxon throw lots of money around, but may have a vested interest in suppressing real progress in alt. energy (this is an assumption); private industry start ups that focus only on green tech. may have a pure vision, but insufficient funding to get things done. Thoughts?
3. The real killer for a grad school forum: At what point will I be overqualified? I will get my Master's degree(s?) first in case a PhD isn't in my best interest, and then go on if it seems right. I hear a PhD in Engineering over qualifies you for basically any industry job. Should I get a PhD in both my majors, one of my majors, or neither?
Dang it, it became a tl;dr anyway.