Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

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bestbearblackbear
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Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby bestbearblackbear » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:08 pm

I realize this is a complicated, muddled, if not impossibly subjective request, BUT, all things considered (everything involved – brains, determination, potential funding and future job issues) what is the overall difficulty of “traveling through” the main sub-disciplines in physics? Suggestions on how to better describe the fields should be included, but off the top of my head…

astronomy
astrophysics
atomic/molecular/optical
biophysics
condensed matter
cosmology
nuclear
particle physics
plasma
string theory

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby butsurigakusha » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:32 pm

Maybe it's just me, but I have no idea what you're talking about.

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:39 pm

I think the question is.. in which field do i not have to live out of cardboard box?

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will
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby will » Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:58 pm

Helio wrote:I think the question is.. in which field do i not have to live out of cardboard box?


The field in which you build a house.

Which I also think answers the question I think he was asking.

gatr1126
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby gatr1126 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:18 pm

Condensed matter's always better the consistently highest funded subfield. If you're looking for decent money, that's probably the safest field. AMO is also dependable and biophysics is starting to explode onto the scene. The better fields (with little real world application) are the ones that get shanked, high energy, cosmology, and the like.

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:49 pm

It is rough times being in observational astrophysics-helioseismology-with only 4 true programs... i guess i will have to switch.... lets hope neutrino physics gets some more funding... really starting to consider to move back to europe if they cut more astrophysics/astronomy/cosmology funding. dumbass manned space missions

bestbearblackbear
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby bestbearblackbear » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:11 am

So, something like...

condensed matter
amo
biophysics
nuclear
particle physics
astronomy
astrophysics
cosmology
plasma
string theory

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:17 am

Plasma is more funding, since it has some real world application-plasma thrusters. In all honesty, choose what you like not according to funding. I like astrophysics and Low temperature (can you call that condensed matter). I choose astrophysics of my path because i had very bad experience in condensed matter. You might want to shop around and see what interests you. some schools even require that you do so. I am doing that now cause i want to save the hassle, i.e. astrophysics during the year and 1 summer, 1 summer condensed matter, and this summer neutrino physics from what i can tell right now.

bestbearblackbear
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby bestbearblackbear » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:33 am

I already know what I want to do and I have a good idea of where it fits into the scheme of things, but I just wanted to hear some discussion about it (I think I know...about as confidently I what appears to be the standard for "knowing what I want to do") . I constantly hear "Oh, I am interested in this" and "I am going to do that", but for some reason it rubs me the wrong way. Should not the importance of choosing a sub-discipline be equally matched by thought of whether or not it is realistic? - Does anyone else feel like many decisions regarding this topic go unqualified?

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:09 am

define realistic. i mean when you look at HEP theory-string theory, quantum gravity, etc.-these people do not really that much funding.. hell most of them are happy with a copy of mathematica/maple, a computer and a white board. condensed matter is so funded cause a lot it is experiment and theory also deals with simulation which needs processing power that has to be bought.

I dunno if money = happy. I mean as long as you are happy with your choice why do you need a S-class. when i see all these people studying business, etc. with a certain lack of passion just cause it is supposed to make money, why even bother studying it at all. if there is no passion what is the point dedicating some 40 odd years of your life to it

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fermiboy
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby fermiboy » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:23 am

gatr1126 wrote:The better fields (with little real world application) are the ones that get shanked, high energy, cosmology, and the like.


Excuse me? How are these fields better? We wouldn't have any of our technology today if it wasn't for the advances in the "worse" fields like condensed matter and AMO. Where do think the technology comes from to do experiments in HEP and observations in cosmology? Answer: from so called "lesser" fields like condensed matter and AMO.

Why don't you go back to watching the Elegant Universe ten more times while the rest of try to do real physics?

I'm all for research in HEP and cosmology, but this attitude that they are more "fundamental" or "better" or what have you, is *** ridiculous. Do you even know where the idea for the Higgs boson came from? Do you know what types of experiments are done to determine the values of the fundamental constants? Get a *** clue.

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:07 am

fermiboy wrote:
gatr1126 wrote:The better fields (with little real world application) are the ones that get shanked, high energy, cosmology, and the like.


Excuse me? How are these fields better? We wouldn't have any of our technology today if it wasn't for the advances in the "worse" fields like condensed matter and AMO. Where do think the technology comes from to do experiments in HEP and observations in cosmology? Answer: from so called "lesser" fields like condensed matter and AMO.

Why don't you go back to watching the Elegant Universe ten more times while the rest of try to do real physics?

I'm all for research in HEP and cosmology, but this attitude that they are more "fundamental" or "better" or what have you, is *** ridiculous. Do you even know where the idea for the Higgs boson came from? Do you know what types of experiments are done to determine the values of the fundamental constants? Get a *** clue.


As the bickering begins... i was waiting for this one.

There is the world of more real-world research area-condensed matter, AMO-and then there is the "WTF are you doing" research areas-Cosmology, HEP, etc. Each and everyone has their own contribution to the science and everyday life. If you think condensed matter is a lesser field cause it does not deal with the most intrinsic properties at hand or just seems to be focused on creating new materials, so be it. You have to live with the fact that you might miss something that interests you.

I think HEP theory is way much out there at some point. Francis Bacon has a point with his ideas. On the other hand, condensed matter has not really been my thing in all respects. I can work with low temp. labs, but stuff like nanowires has been turned off for me. Astrophysics has always been something i like to do, so why not. Certainly also reflects course choice: GR vs. solid state and i took GR. at the moment i am contemplating auditing solid state just for the hell of it

excel
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby excel » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:54 am

"The better fields (with little real world application)...":

gatr, do you actually mean that there are some good fields that may not have real-world applications? Or, do you mean that these fields are actually better because "they are more fundamental" and dont have a lot of real world applications? If you mean the latter, then I completely agree with fermiboy when he says that:

I'm all for research in HEP and cosmology, but this attitude that they are more "fundamental" or "better" or what have you, is *** ridiculous. Do you even know where the idea for the Higgs boson came from? Do you know what types of experiments are done to determine the values of the fundamental constants? Get a *** clue.

bestbearblackbear
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby bestbearblackbear » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:22 pm

The main issue I meant to bring to the table by establishing this thread was far from characterizing the “best” or “worst” sub-field in physics. Each of us frequent this site because at some point in the recent past or recent future we have or will have some interest in the Physics GRE. The primary reason for this is because we are interested in graduate school and obviously many of us hope to become physicists.

Ok, that being said, my point – as I tried to illustrate earlier – is that as we approach the decisions involved in this process, I feel like many people (including myself) fail to truly take into consideration all aspects of the decisions. I realize this may sound naïve, but from listening to and talking with many people in our situations, the concern is far from trivial.

For example, do our research “interests” (in some physics sub-discipline) at this point in our lives necessarily reflect the type of career which will fit best into the lives we hope to lead? Just taking one extreme: I my humble experiences, I feel like it would be difficult to be involved in string theory or cosmology research in academia and to additionally have a family, friends unrelated to physics, and a real interest in beer and football.

Does anyone else think about this?

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:42 pm

So you are trying to say that people with "academia-heavy" fields are completely dedicated to what they do?

I mean do you really think a guy/girl in a condensed matter lab working with a dilution fridge can explain to his/her drinking buddies/shopping partners what the hell he/she is doing? (Stereotypes 101 here)

Science in general is a hard to really get people interested in the details, every where you can just give the top layer and leave it at that, pretty straight forward.

On another note, I know professors who do enjoy football, etc. there are human beings too, with normal friends outside there academic world. it is just getting up the old stereotype of the guy sitting in his office for 40 years straight with nobody to talk to. These do still exist, but they are more open now. I know a HEP professors who lives for it really lives for the sense of that maybe one day unification will come along, but he is still very outgoing with other people when he is outside the university. do not underestimate these people at times.

i sometimes do believe that you cannot consider everything in your decision what to specialize is, maybe be connection to the real world, money, interest, dating chances, etc, etc, etc.

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fermiboy
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby fermiboy » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:30 pm

I was pretty drunk when I posted that. Perhaps I should have been more friendly, but I just thought that was another example of the HEP/Cosmo people thinking their work is more important. All of physics is important, and it is all connected.

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Helio
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Re: Difficulty of "traveling through" sub-disciplines in physics

Postby Helio » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:23 pm

fermiboy wrote:I was pretty drunk when I posted that. Perhaps I should have been more friendly, but I just thought that was another example of the HEP/Cosmo people thinking their work is more important. All of physics is important, and it is all connected.


True as odd as seems... just need that stupid unification




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