Tuesday, August 24, 2004

So You Want To Be A Physicist

One of the most frequent questions we get (besides the annoying "can anything travel faster than c?" or "shouldn't light have mass since E=mc^2?") is the process and background of being a physics major. Often, we have students asking what are the requirements of obtaining a physics degree, and what can one do with such accomplishments.

I am hoping that, in a series of postings on this topic, we get to go over and demystefied the whole process of what one can expect as a physics major in college, all the way to going through a Ph.D program, and even beyond that in the land of postdoctoral work and employment. This is not as easy as it sounds, especially considering the wide-ranging educational systems we have throughout the world. So in most cases, the perspective I will tend to have the most understanding with is the US educational system. This is where someone from another country can come in and contribute their experiences and wisdom.

What I hope to impart is not only what is known, as described in various brochures and guidelines from many schools, but also what is never told to the students. Most of these come from personal experience, things that I found myself saying "Boy, I wish someone would have told me that earlier!".

As usual, feedback and questions are welcomed as this series progresses. Who knows, maybe after this, I may finally be inclined to compile all this into the book that I've always wanted to write! :)



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