Engineering and Theoretical Physics

<p>Hi,</p>

<p>I love physics, everything about it.
I got into circuitry but now I love theoretical physics.
However, I want to take engineering so that I might want to take some jobs sometimes.</p>

<p>What is the best solution?</p>

<p>Take Physics at undergrad and theoretical physics later? or take theoretical physics for undergrad and take engineering later?
Is it possible?</p>

<p>If you want to be in theoretical physics, you want to go to MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley, Stanford, or the like. Then you want to get a PhD from,one of those programs and become a professor at one of those schools.</p>

<p>Make up your mind. Do you want to be an engineer or do you want to be a theoretical physicist?</p>

<p>Is taking engineering for Ugrad and going for theoretical physics for graduate a bad idea.</p>

<p>^ Most likely... Unless you're careful to take the recommended theoretical physics courses as an undergraduate. That could be possible.</p>

<p>You have got to decide now what you want to do with your life. If you want to become a Theoretical Physicist I recommend going to a decent college and majoring in Physics. Work your ass off and get into a top tier graduate program like MITs or Stanfords. Then start focusing your research and studies on space physics and such. Go on to earn a Masters degree. Theoretical Physicists get a PhD and then teach at a well known science focused university. The university in turn also funds their research.</p>

<p>If you really love physics and this is your passion or dream, I say go for it. But you will need to decide whether you truly want to devote the next 10 years of your life to studying incredibly hard and spending most of your career not getting paid what you deserve. People do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard and they want to be at the forefront of discovery.</p>

<p>If you go to grad school for theoretical physics, they will expect you to have completed the coursework of an undergrad physics major. Basically, you would have a double major, i.e. physics and engineering. That seems like quite an endeavor.</p>

<p>alchemist said it pretty well. The only place I might disagree with alchemist is that schools may want to get you right into the PhD program (I looked at Princeton and MIT) after undergrad.</p>

<p>So, what's the typical course difference between Electrical engineering and theoretical physics. QM is common. Many should be common. I guess.
I generally found that QFT, QCD, String theory are offered.</p>

<p>What about in mathematics.</p>

<p>If I were to take a shot in the dark, I would hazard that an aspiring theoretical physicist should take most or all of the following courses as an undergraduate:</p>

<p>Physics Intro
Classical Mechanics
Electricity and Magnetism
Statistical Mechanics / Thermo
Quantum Mechanics
Physics Laboratory
Elective(s) in intended area of graduate study</p>

<p>Calculus Intro
Differential Equations Intro
Linear Algebra Intro
Real Analysis
Complex Analysis
Linear Algebra
Partial Differential Equations
Ordinary Differential Equations</p>

<p>Where sequences are available, I would recommend taking entire sequences. The list of math and/or physics courses is probably a mostly-minimal list in the sense that taking additional courses in physics/mathematics could only be good for you (particularly in math, courses in abstract algebra and/or topology could be very useful). </p>

<p>One way or the other, before you graduate, you should know how to program in C, C++ or Fortran and be familiar with a variety of numerical tools and approaches to solving classes of physics problems.</p>

<p>Of paramount importance is getting as much undergraduate research experience as possible. Look into the Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Look into programs at your school. Talk to professors whose work interests you. Help out with some of the legwork and get your names on a few papers. Being a theoretical physicist isn't easy, and it will take a lot of work to get a tenured professorship somewhere. But if you have the drive and the aptitude, why not go for it? You only live once.</p>

<p>so, are QFT, QCD, string theories offered for ugrads in hypsmc.
If not when do people study them if they go for phd after ugrads.</p>

<p>They may be offered as regular courses to undergrads; if there are professors doing research in or who have interest in these topics, it might be possible for willing and able undergrads to get directed study in these subjects, as well. Same at the graduate level. It really comes down to this: are there professors at your university who study QFT/QCD/etc. and do they teach courses and/or do directed studies? I do not have direct experience with this, but somebody around here might.</p>

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<p>Actually, the first two to four semesters of engineering majors typically include the first two years of the physics major (introductory physics for scientists and engineers, calculus, multivariable calculus, introductory linear algebra, introductory differential equations). A student could delay the decision between engineering and physics until sophomore year, although it may be necessary to start in engineering at some schools because switching engineering to physics is administratively easier than switching physics to engineering.</p>

<p>As a junior and senior physics major, the typical physics courses would include more advanced and in-depth courses in:</p>

<p>electromagnetism
Newtonian and relativistic mechanics
statistical and thermal physics
quantum mechanics
physics lab
physics electives
math courses such as real and complex analysis, differential equations, abstract algebra</p>

<p>An EE major may take an EE course similar to the electromagnetism course, but if you really want to go to graduate school in physics, doing so from a physics major background would be best.</p>

<p>I don't remember which math course introduces group theory - but for lots of theoretical physics its incredibly important to understand this.</p>

<p>Abstract algebra is typically the math course that introduces group theory.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Theoretical Physicists get a PhD and then teach at a well known science focused university. The university in turn also funds their research.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Just want to say that, in the US at least, the university doesn't fund the research. The professors are expected to bring in grants from outside organizations and fund themselves. For that opportunity, the university takes a cut of the funding brought in by the professor (up to 60% or so).</p>