Physics major?

<p>Should I major in physics?</p>

<p>I've never taken a class on it before but I was watching some college lectures online, and I really really enjoyed it. However, from what I hear you must be excellent in math in order to succeed in physics.</p>

<p>But what if I don't like math? </p>

<p>What would be the benefits of this major?</p>

<p>Does it involve a lot of memorization, like biology?</p>

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Does it involve a lot of memorization, like biology?

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<p>It is more problem-solving oriented than biology.</p>

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What would be the benefits of this major?

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<p>What career path are you considering?</p>

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But what if I don't like math?

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<p>If you aren't at least somewhat strong at math, majoring in physics would be difficult.</p>

<p>If you don't like math, don't major in physics or engineering.</p>

<p>Why have you not taken Physics in high school? You'd be in a better position to know about your interest and ability.</p>

<p>You should consider an engineering major. You'll take the same physics courses as a physics major in your first and probably second year and can decide after that. But you have to be good at higher math for either.</p>

<p>Physics courses cover a broad range of topics - that's why many of us choose it. But I enjoyed some classes lots more than others. As an engineering major you can pick and choose the physics emphasis you prefer (mechanics, electricity/magnetism, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, etc.). It's easier to get a job w/an engineering degree. But nothing prepares the mind like a physics degree.</p>

<p>I would like to know which engineering has a physics emphasis in quantum mechanics at the undergrad level.</p>

<p>^ No engineering discipline has its main physics focus in quantum mechanics. The only relevant thing I can think of is quantum computing, but I assume that it is mostly physicists, not engineers, who are working on that at the moment.</p>

<p>^exactly my point. Treetopleaf listed it in his post. Quantum Mechanics is strictly related to physics with very little presence in engineering.</p>

<p>^ Oh, woops. I misinterpreted your sentence.</p>

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No engineering discipline has its main physics focus in quantum mechanics.

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<p>if you are an electrical engineer interested in designing electronic & optical devices (transistors & lasers), then quantum mechanics is a good thing to know.</p>

<p>I said main focus for a reason. I'm sure there are small areas that may need some knowledge of it, but quantum mechanics is not the physics emphasis of EE.</p>

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I said main focus for a reason.

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<p>That was actually my quote. :)</p>

<p>In a large amount of materials science you need to know some level of quantum mechanics or solid state physics. For my undergrad program we had the choice of taking organic chem or quantum mechanics. Most of us went with quantum, though some of the people doing biomedical engineering as a double major went with organic.</p>

<p>A physics major isn't something you embark upon without knowing for certain that that's what you want to do. You have to love physics going into it or it will eat you alive.</p>

<p>What math courses have you taken and how did you do in them? Physics is an extremely demanding major and good math skills are essential for success. For a BS in Physics the minimum math course requirements are going to be 3 semesters of calculus for science and engineering majors, a semester of differential equations and a semester of linear algebra. You will also have to take courses in classical mechanics and electricity and magnetism that are going to be very mathematical and will include mathematical techniques beyond what you learn in your math classes such Fourier Analysis. Most careers in physics require a graduate degree where the math becomes much harder. To get a PhD in math you will need to learn tensor calculus which was a subject that even Einstein found difficult. </p>

<p>There are many interesting topics in Physics that you can read about in popular journals like Scientific American. However, if you plan to major in it be certain that you can do mathematics at a very high level.</p>

<p>Actually higher level of physics are required for engineering fields such as electrical engineering, computer engineering, and biomedical engineering. </p>

<p>Physics major is very difficult in my opinon. You can't just remember formulas and theorems and then graduate. As a physics and computer engineering major, last semester I had a professor who kept giving me tonks of classical mechanics problems to work with. Those aren't textbook problems. They were pretty difficult, and have to apply a lot of different laws and theorems.</p>

<p>What killed some of my classmates was the part to derivate equations from other equations. Even if you are not theoretical physic major, you should be able to derivative the basic one.</p>

<p>As a computer engineer, my prospective career is lending toward hardware division. A stronger understanding in physics will help a lot.</p>

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As a computer engineer, my prospective career is lending toward hardware division. A stronger understanding in physics will help a lot.

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<p>no it won't. the emphasis in computer engineering is to design hardware at an architectural level, not at a circuit level (i.e. worrying about currents and voltages), and definitely not at a device level (i.e. worrying about how to design and fabricate each transistor). the task is split up in that way because there's so much involved in making a microprocessor or whatever, and to try to specialize in all areas would require a ton of knowledge and expertise.</p>

<p>only at design at that last level, the device level, is having a good understanding of physics relevant. this sort of thing is an electrical engineering/physics/material science problem.</p>

<p>if you are designing a microprocessor at the architectural level and are worrying about the physics behind each individual transistor, you aren't going to get anything done. the complexity would be overwhelming.</p>

<p>@ silence
It is true from that perspective. You know more than I do. But I hold a different view. Maybe I wasn't clear with that statement.</p>

<p>To take CpE undergraduate program will allow me to explore computer science and electrical engineering. I am interested in both areas (and my school wouldn't allow double major in CS and EE), I am forced to choose CpE. In fact, I find CpE more interesting, because you are dealing with two things in one compact program.</p>

<p>So from that prospective, I am not looking at computer engineering as an ultimate career. When I move on to graduate study, I will do physics (but also at undergraduate level, I am planning to do Cpe and Physics). This allows me to fuse my knowledge in computer engineering with physics (toward quantum disciplines). </p>

<p>It really depends on what you want to do in future. This is why I said physics can help a lot, because physics is THE science of nature. If one chooses to become a physics graduate, it is very easy to collaborate with engineers from other fields.</p>

<p>Intel co-founders:
Moore was a chemistry and physics major.
Andrew Groove was a chemical engineer.
Noyce was also a physics and mathematics major.</p>

<p>So I am not satisfied working with computer engineering only :) </p>

<p>I really find chemistry and physics are really big in science and engineering.</p>

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^ No engineering discipline has its main physics focus in quantum mechanics. The only relevant thing I can think of is quantum computing, but I assume that it is mostly physicists, not engineers, who are working on that at the moment.

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<p>That's funny that is what I'm planning on doing. I'm thinking for undergrad do Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a focus on Quantum Computing, and minor in Physics. Then in grad school I can do Applied Physics.</p>

<p>jwxie,</p>

<p>you aren't going to learn about quantum computers as a computer engineering student. what you'll learn in your computer engineering classes will be pretty far divorced from physics. it's great that you are interested in both, but there will be no overlap in the two areas. just letting you know.</p>

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Intel co-founders:
Moore was a chemistry and physics major.
Andrew Groove was a chemical engineer.
Noyce was also a physics and mathematics major.</p>

<p>So I am not satisfied working with computer engineering only

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<p>well, there was no computer engineering major back then. : ) but yeah, manufacturing and designing microprocessors is a multidisciplinary ordeal. it involves sciences of all sorts.</p>