Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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twistor
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Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby twistor » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:24 am

This is in response to the daily posts about someone with some non-physics degree wanting to switch to physics.

Please stop posting your *** questions.

Your question has already been answered several times. It doesn't matter what field you come from, how much you like math, or what your interests are. If you want to do a Ph.d. in physics the same requirements exist for you as for everyone else.

Frequently asked questions:

1.) Will a good PGRE score get me in?
Not necessarily.

2.) Will writing a paper get me in?
Not necessarily.

3.) Will my lack of background in physics hurt my chances?
Yes.

4.) What will get me in?
There are no sure bets, but being a strong overall candidate will give you the best chance of being accepted.

No, you can't be an armchair theorist and write a paper to get in. That simply doesn't happen. No, you cannot design a novel experiment in your garage and write a paper to get in. It doesn't matter how bad you want it, how much you hate your current job, or what research you want to do.

Your case is not a special case. Having your particular non-physics degree won't grant you any special privileges. Your case is just a variation on a theme.

To the rest of you, now that their questions have all been answered, please stop responding to these *** trolls.

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razor
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby razor » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:33 am

I agree. These posts are starting to bug me as well. :P

username1
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby username1 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:34 pm

agreed

kushraghav
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby kushraghav » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:46 am

@TS

do you sit on the admission committee of some university. i asked because you are acting like one.
if you do not want to answer such questions, plz dont
Last edited by kushraghav on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

cato88
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby cato88 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:27 am

@ kushraghav
kushraghav wrote: i do not think that you can tell ppl what to post or not to post.

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quizivex
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby quizivex » Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:48 am

hhahahahha cato88!! An "inherent contradiction"! (twistor knows all about those) :wink:

It's funny how often the same/very similar/related questions keep popping up. I think I can subsume all of them into one dramatic post.

Subject: Please Help!!!!!
"
Hello. I came across this forum and I see prospective physics students can ask questions here. I work as an investment banker in Miami, Florida. However, it was always my dream as a kid to be an astronaut or invent the first light saber or get a Nobel Prize. Since I've already made enough money to retire off of, I decided to end my banking career and pursue my childhood dream. Most of you probably began your physics education right after high school and the process was so easy. But I desperately need some advice in order to transition to physics from such a unique and bizarre background. I doubt anyone even began physics grad school after 30, yet I'm 34!!! What are the various formalities? Can I be admitted directly to graduate programs without getting an undergrad major in physics? Back in college I had a 3.9 GPA in business and I took 2 elective physics classes and got A's in both of them!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D Is that enough to prove my aptitude for physics? I had extensive research experience in the lab section of my astronomy class. We used telescopes and I found patterns in the stars that nobody has identified before. I once made models of the solar system using edible fruit as planets. I sold them at a local supermarket for charity. Does this independent work count for anything? A friend told me I'd have to take the Graduate Record Examination. But I don't see why cuz by the name it's clearly an exam for current grad students. Is this true? Can I get recommendations from my current employer (before I quit, obviously), or do I need to track down my college professors (most of which were old when I had them and probably dead now)? Another serious problem here is I want to go to a top 10 school, but all of those are far away from Florida and I'd be far away from my wife, who has a successful dermatology office here. The possibility of me moving away is getting under her skin :roll: .I don't know what I'd do about our kids either. What can I do? Please help.
"

kushraghav
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby kushraghav » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:07 am

@above

NICE ONE ...but i was saying that it is naive to suggest that the new members are not going to post their queries just because they read this post.

blackcat007
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby blackcat007 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:04 am

I once made models of the solar system using edible fruit as planets. I sold them at a local supermarket for charity. Does this independent work count for anything?

:lol: the best query of the forum..

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twistor
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby twistor » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:34 am

kushraghav wrote:@TS

do you sit on the admission committee of some university. i asked because you are acting like one.
if you do not want to answer such questions, plz dont


You're obviously looking for a specific answer to your question. Let me give it to you so you can go on your merry way.

Writing a paper will definitely get you into the best schools. Don't bother doing original research with a well-known scientist, it's better to simply summarize the work of others. And don't bother trying to get it published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal because that simply takes too long. It's much better to publish it on your own (perhaps on your blog) than it is to go through the usual channels. This shows initiative and demonstrates your expertise with blogspot.com. Makes sure your bags are packed because once you publish your paper admissions notices will start rolling in, even before you have actually applied as schools will be eager to obtain such an outstanding student. And don't bother perfecting your English, that simply takes to long. Just publish whatever you can in broken English and let the lowly peons translate your masterwork. Having a B.E. will make you far more qualified than any physics applicants. While their talking their strange talk about "Lagrangians" and "symmetry" you'll be zooming ahead with your Ph.d. research because they simply won't know anything about "creep and strain" or the "Hilbert transform", two ideas that form the bedrock of modern theoretical physics. I don't see any chance that you won't get in, so why aren't you buying plane tickets instead of reading this?

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razor
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby razor » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:47 am

twistor wrote:This is in response to the daily posts about someone with some non-physics degree wanting to switch to physics.

...

Your question has already been answered several times. It doesn't matter what field you come from, how much you like math, or what your interests are. If you want to do a Ph.d. in physics the same requirements exist for you as for everyone else.



emphasis mine.

It's not bad to ask questions. When questions are asked repeatedly though, they kinda get annoying especially when they are already answered in the past.

@twistor: :lol: chill :D

kushraghav
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby kushraghav » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:22 pm

@twistor

why did not i thought of it first. thanks a lot dude. :D

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xudis149
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby xudis149 » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:46 pm

If someone can post a sticky message in the prospective students thread (above the profiles) with subject like "NEWBIES::READ THIS BEFORE POSTING". And all the conventional wisdom about physics applications, PGRE, changing fields etc..can be posted there. Even something like --> "search the forum thoroughly before asking generic stuffs...."

Discouraging to post, oft repeated similar queries doesn't seem like a good idea. I remember myself posting something like that long back and it helped me in the long run.

Newbies should also proactively search for information instead of wanting to be spoon fed. This forum has tons of informations, advices...

pqortic
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby pqortic » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:12 pm

New changes will appear in the forum soon.

ali8
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby ali8 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 6:10 pm

I , personally , has written a post with my profile as a non-physics major in one of the threads out there. Although it's just a post , not a new thread , but I think this ("stop posting") thread interests me, nevertheless.

I agree with the main idea of 'stop posting' , but I don't think it's kind to say something like that that quizivex wrote. We are not small kids dreaming of becoming physicists , most of the people who post such threads are engineers who has the ability to understand physics , so please show additional respect next time before posting such insulting posts.

theoretical_phys
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby theoretical_phys » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:12 pm

Hi ali8,

I think most (if not all) people on this forum are not children. Whether a person is a 22 year old recent graduate or a 35 year old engineer, it is extremely annoying to post a thread regarding a person's chances on changing fields. Why? Well, most of the people on this forum are either applying to graduate school or currently in graduate school. Unless they have served on an acceptance committee, no one has a definite idea if someone else will be accepted into a program. Most of us have a vague idea of what is good/bad on an application, but we aren't able to answer extremely specific questions.

I think the message of this thread is to actually look around at gradschoolshopper.com college profiles and other threads in this forum before asking "What are my chances?" or "Will I be accepted?". We honestly have NO IDEA of your chances. Hell, we are just hoping to get into graduate schools ourselves.


theoretical_phys (who is actually an experimentalist)
Last edited by theoretical_phys on Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grae313
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby grae313 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:12 pm

^ yes

physics_auth
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby physics_auth » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:14 am

theoretical_phys wrote:theoretical_phys (who is actually an experimentalist)


Then the choice of your nickname is a joke ... :D

physics_auth
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby physics_auth » Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:23 am

ali8 wrote:... most of the people who post such threads are engineers who has the ability to understand physics ...


An underlying message out of all these answers is that ... to be able to understand physics doesn't say a lot (I also know of many people who can understand physics) one must be able to prove somehow that they understand and can master physics. Today physics has become such complex in all its fields that physics-community doesn't require physics "consumers" (i.e. people who are able to grasp, learn and read physics) but physics "producers" (i.e. people who can offer sth pioneering in their field). Pure engineers usually provide technical support to physicists but their contribution -more often than not- stops there ... !
Last edited by physics_auth on Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

theoretical_phys
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby theoretical_phys » Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:13 pm

physics_auth wrote:
Then the choice of your nickname is a joke ... :D


Yeah. When I first joined this forum, I was dead set on becoming a theorist. Within the past two years, I have completed or am in the process of completing 2-3 experimental research projects. Haha. Now, I love experimental physics/astrophysics.


theoretical_phys (who actually wants to be an experimentalist)

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quizivex
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby quizivex » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:35 am

BUMP!

This thread has been SO FREAKING RELEVANT lately that I just had to bring it back!

Failnaught
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby Failnaught » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:00 pm

quizivex wrote:Subject: Please Help!!!!!
Hello.... I work as an investment banker in Miami, Florida... Since I've already made enough money to retire off of, I decided to end my banking career and pursue my childhood dream... What can I do? Please help.


I would forget about applications and the GREs. Just contact professors individually, and offer them infinite funding : ) It's usually hard to turn down money.

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quizivex
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Re: Please stop posting your BS questions on changing fields

Postby quizivex » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:35 am

Actually on a serious note, that's a good point. A prospective student can make himself more desirable to schools by not needing to be funded.

When I wrote that sarcastic post, I was thinking of this thread.
tomtom wrote:I've turned 38 a few months ago.
I'm well established financially, been working as an IT consultant. I'm also a weekend
pastor for a small local church (got my M.Div. degree from a theological school).

But recently, I've been wanting to finish up what I've always dreamed of;
becoming a real physicist...
And this one:
justwondering wrote:I've been working at a hedge fund (DE Shaw) for the past eight years and have no formal academic experience (research, publication, etc). I'm 29 now, looking to apply in a couple years. Could you all offer some insight into what I might expect when that time comes? And also, if you could suggest how I might consider spending the next 1-1.5 years to immerse myself into the physics community?...

Considering how long it takes to become a real physicist with a real semi-permanent research job and considering that most people who initially plan to become physicists don't even get there, it's just surprising to me why innumerable people try to dive into this 10+ years out of school...
twistor on 7/22/08 wrote:for fanciful dreams of science.




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