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Careers: Physics/career in physics


QUESTION: sir, i have been asking you questions from quite a long now. so thanks for your valuable suggestions ,

sir my family recommends me to do btech instead of bsc as they consider btech as a sure path for job and a settled future though my views are different, still i am trying to make up their mind that i will do better in bsc , but the problem is that they think that they have to support me financially for long time (which are not considered good for bright students in india ) so i would like to know from you a path in which i can pursue sciences without being a financial burden on my parents . i am also ready to continue my science(physics)  study being in a job like that of a professor or teacher or something other suitable.

please guide me in detail.(i have less time as admissions to courses is starting )
my main concern is a financial support . if possible a scholarship  would do .please tell me if you know of some scholarship or science attached job after my 4 year bsc(hons) degree.

ANSWER: Hi akshit:

It is clear that a BTech has a more specific outcome as far as careers are concerned.  After that the the goal of the degree, to prepare someone for a very specific job.  Science is more general and therefore it is harder to identify a specific career outcome.  I am sure that nothing I can say will convince your family if they are already in that frame of mind.

All I can say is that outstanding students in science can always find scholarships to continue their studies and those who are not quite as strong can find careers in the same areas as those who have a BTech.  Many companies understand the value of someone with a science background and if that individual additionally has some practical skills gained from courses or internships, then a job is much easier to come by.

Ultimately, if you are dependent on your family for support, you will have to listen to their views and try to find a compromise.

Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: sir still please can you give a path after my 4 year undergraduate bsc ,to follow . so that i can study with a good frame in my mind and sir please give the the details of the suggested path.

whatever the case be i am going to study bsc with patience i promise and if i eliminate my fear (which come sometime in the middle) then may be i extract the joy and content of science .

just one more favor sir  please tell me a suitable book that you would have opted in bsc for MAKING my base for science . A MAGAZINE      RECOMMENDATION  WOULD BE THE BEST.

thank you for all your time and i hope we meet one day.

ANSWER: Hi akshit:

Your path will depend on which field of science you want to study.  So far you have not specified.  This makes your questions quite vague and impossible to answer.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: the path i am talking about is physics. for the purpose of opting research inspired career

hi akshit:

After you complete the B.Sc. you have several options.  One is to look for a position in industry.  In the U.S. physicists are quite employable as they have many of the same skills as engineers.  I am not sure if it is quite the same in your country but if you develop some side skills during studies, such as programming or electronics both of which are part of a normal physics curriculum), you can compete for positions in those areas.  The second way is to pursue an advanced degree, either a professional Masters degree in physics or engineering or a doctorate if you are interested in a research career.

The last path is very rewarding but you should not do it if you are specifically interested in earning a lot of money.  Doctoral studies take about 6 years and while you can live on the stipend, you won't get rich.  in order to get into a good graduate program, you will need to really work hard on your coursework and get top marks.  You will also need to get meaningful research experience.  If you plan to study in the U.S., make sure you prepare for the Graduate Record Examinations, bot the general ones as well as the physics exam.  There are books to help you practice and since I assume that you are not in the U.S. now, you will have to learn some test taking skills and make sure you can do well on the verbal portion of the GRE.

Good luck!

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Carlo Segre


I can answer most questions about studying physics in college and graduate school; questions about condensed matter physics; x-ray physics; synchrotron radiation; and general and modern physics. I can also answer questions about careers in academia.


Professor of physics for 30 years at Illinois Institute of Technology. Academic adviser for undergraduates and graduate students. I have served on university promotion and tenure committees, search committees for Deans and Department Chairs. I have also been an Associate Department Chair and an Associate Dean. I have 34 years experience in materials science research and I have been responsible for building and now managing a User facility at the Advanced Photon Source.

American Physical Society
Sigma Xi
American Chemical Society
American Associate for the Advancement of Science
International Centre for Diffraction Data (Fellow)
International X-ray Absorption Society

Nature; Physical Review Letters; Physical Review; Applied Physics Letters; Journal of Physical Chemistry; Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials; Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics; Solid State Communications; Physics Letters; Journal of Low Temperature Physics; Journal of Crystal Growth and Design; Physics Letters; Journal of Applied Physics; Journal of Archaeological Science; Physica C; Corrosion Science; Electrochimica Acta; Journal of Nuclear Materials

Ph.D. Physics, 1981 - University of California, San Diego
M.S. Physics, 1977 - University of California, San Diego
B.S. Physics, 1976 - University of illinois, Champaign-Urbana
B.S. Chemistry 1976 - University of illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Awards and Honors
Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics, IIT Fellow, International Center for Diffraction Data

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