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20

Obviously things vary from subfield to subfield, so canonical advice is probably to much to hope for. With that in mind, let me try to give you something of an answer. In principle when a person finishes a PhD, if they remain in academia, there are a number of ways this might happen. They might end up with: a teaching job with little or no research ...


15

Short answer: Yes. Slightly longer answer: Yes, but you will have to prove your chops. Discussion: This is the physics "career path" of many garden variety crackpots, so you may meet some initial skepticism. Take care to understand and speak the language. Don't overstate your preparation or competence; nor the significance of any particular findings. Be ...


14

Most probably, no. This opinion is based on two considerations. 1)Being unable to join the academic stream means that other work decisions have been taken. Inevitably this leads to inability to focus 16/24 on a physics problem ( I put some time in for sleep). People who have left their mark in the history of physics were very focused on it, and focusing I ...


13

Probably it would be good to try to get people at other universities to know you. One way is by trying to give as many talks as possible, not only at big conferences but also at smaller colloquia. Many departments run a staff colloquium, you could try if you can give a talk there. If they don't know you yet, perhaps your advisor can suggest this to people ...


11

During my stint as a scientist working in industry I interviewed many job applicants. My experience is that it is extraordinarily hard to get good people, and that when I did meet good people it was obvious within the first few minutes of the interview that they were something special. With those people I didn't really care what they'd done at college ...


8

In Germany the average age of a professor when he/she gets tenure is 42. A professor retires at the age of 65. If you add that the average professor will have one or two students per year finishing a PhD, you can figure out the percentage of physics PhD that can get a tenured position yourself :-) As a physicist you are trained to do basic research, and ...


7

There is no reason why you should not publish papers between postdocs. Journals do not require authors to have affiliations. However, not having an affiliation may mean that your work is given more scrutiny under peer-review. If the work is in any way speculative or outside current areas of research, then not having an affiliation or a strong publication ...


6

Eric Betzig did this... kinda. He was a trained physicist who worked in academia, but produced some significant results during a break from professional science. Notice, though, that when Betzig got finished dreaming in isolation, he motivated a team of excellent scientists to help make his dream reality. Very few papers in Science and Nature have an author ...


6

Depends on what you mean by "sense" for technology. Condensed matter physics is the obvious answer, but that's partly because there are more condensed matter physicists than any other sort (particle physics gets all the press, but the condensed matter division of the APS is the largest). A great many of those people are employed in industry, so it's an area ...


6

Talks, talks talks. If you're near graduation, you need as much publicity as possible. Give as many talks as possible. Give talks at conferences, especially. Ask your advisor to have his friends invite you to give talks at other universities. Consider even cold-calling other physics research programs asking if they're looking for a speaker. During your ...


6

http://www.cccblog.org/2011/07/13/an-alternative-to-science-funding/#more-3846 As research budgets tighten at universities and federal financing agencies, a new crop of Web-savvy scientists is hoping the wisdom — and generosity — of the crowds will come to the rescue. While nonprofit science organizations and medical research centers commonly ...


6

There are usually no formal restrictions on who can publish in a journal. But, for a paper to be published, it has to be read, reviewed, and edited. The reason journals usually expect some sort of creditation is to avoid having to dredge through the work of people who don't know what they're talking about. It is true that most people have no desire to be ...


5

As an experimental physicist, I'm not perfectly placed to answer. However, the only job as a theoretical physicist, that is, doing theoretical physics, at least as far as I'm aware, is in a research/invited/appointed post at a university, special institution (Institute for Advanced Study, etc.), or (maybe) a national lab. That said, there are more Ph.D. ...


5

Although I haven't researched it, you can learn some physics and try to get into computational physics. There is some industry for it out there (e.g the materials sector, though I would doubt they hire anything but Phds). However, if you're a really great programmer and bring in your ideas and experience creating software, with the additional knowledge of ...


5

Remarkably everyone has so far commented on the theory of condensed matter -- but the article specifies that only 32% of PhDs awarded were theoretical! (Unfortunately that's overall, so there is no indication of the breakdown for condensed matter. It probably doesn't deviate too strongly from the overall number though, I imagine.) As much as I personally ...


5

Before this question gets closed, let me quickly post an answer. First of all, I must warn you, "Learn it in order.". You know those popular - science, math - free books? Stay away from them. They give you the wrong impression that physics is math-free, and that by reading that, you'll already know a lot, etc., BUT THAT'S FALSE/. ...


5

No, I do not regret getting my (forthcoming) PhD. I do sometimes regret changing subject areas from my MS to my PhD (MS is on theoretical condensed matter, PhD is on computational astrophysics) but only because it's added 2 or 3 years to my academic career. I have never had anyone ask me any of those questions, but Likely not going to happen in our ...


4

There should not be a problem in submitting a paper for publication without a current affiliation. The problem would be at the level of how seriously it would be taken by the journal and the peer review if it is not under a the auspices of a formal institution. So collaborating with somebody in an institute may help the process of approval. In this internet ...


4

Not pursuing an academic career does not necessarily mean 'leaving physics'. There are loads of physics PhDs working in industrial R&D. True, their careers don't focus on finding the Higgs boson, but there is a lot of interesting and rewarding work to be done in applied physics. And yes, occasionally industrial scientist scoop up a Nobel.


4

If you are in nuclear or particle physics or a related field you use Job Search page on Spires (and not just for postdocs either). And of course Physics Today and network like crazy. People who already know your work are likely to believe in you. People who know you adviser or current boss are also good marks.


4

I think Shor is in part right about nano-scaled technology. This was something Feynman wrote about in 1960! This is a fascinating talk he have http://www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html The future of technology probably follows three rules. The first rule I call the stone-tool rule. The second is historical continuity, and the third is what I call the ...


4

It's getting to the point where building nanoscale devices is commercially practical, so maybe nanophotonics, nanomaterials, nanofluid dynamics, nanoengineering, nanomechanics (?), etc. This area may be very important for practical quantum computing, but there are many much nearer applications. And some of these are being studied in engineering departments ...


4

Researcher and lecturer at university are top jobs for those with degree in physics. However, you can also teach at high schools, many work as programmers or making financial simulations for banks... Physics is a universal knowledge, and you can apply it to many different disciplines (much easier than vice-versa). Of course in these cases you do not use ...


4

Condensed matter is a pretty large field in physics. Just as an example it includes the whole area of semiconductor physics, so any electronic device. From a more theoretical view it there are still a lot of open questions that are at the same time hard to solve and can have a wide area of applications. High temperature superconductivity is one of these ...


4

If you want some idea of what's going on in string theory right now, have a look at the talks given at summer conferences: Strings 2012 and the upcoming Simons summer workshop, for example. (Note also that the Aspen Center, Les Houches, & TASI, which have often focused heavily on strings in the past, don't seem to be doing so this year.)


4

I will complete @AdamRedwine 's good advice by: Try to be close to a large laboratory which supports particle physics. Every week there will be lectures on various subjects, experimental, phenomenological, theoretical. These are open to all , so try to attend as many as you can. This will accomplish two things: if you ask intelligent questions people will ...


4

You should consider theoretical physics when you have a strong math intuition, if you like thinking in abstract terms about physical systems, if you get thrilled when you find a new mathematical approach to describe a physical problem, and if you like the unknown, get motivated by intellectual challenges, and want to understand 'god's mind'. A lot of your ...


3

Go with biophysics. The next big revolution in industry is going to biology related; genomes and all that. There will be lots of high dollar applications in just about everything. Medicine, agriculture, silviculture, animal husbandry (or whatever fancy thing they call it nowadays), fishing, construction, biofuels, eventually even stuff like consumer goods. ...



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