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Careers: Physics/career orientation in physics


hello Segre,
i have a question relating career in physics- what to do will become clear as you proceed below.

currently i am pursuing in civil engineering.

i love physics since high school but due to family constrain i opted civil engg. to earn money but later on i realized that it is not a cup of tea for me.

now , i want to study physics. what should i do .
should i leave civil engg. for my sake or not.

if i do so , can i get something or any resource for earning money after the completion of research in physics(MSc or Phd).

moreover i want to learn mechanics greater than anything else. which exam should i have to give so that i can pursue research in mechanics.
lastly , i want to take advice from you about my dream...
i want to invent or propose something new in mechanics ...but i doubt that i really can do that....this fear sometimes haunts me when i sit alone thinking what should i do in my life so that i will be satisfied and remembered long after i have what to do next...

i will greatly thankful to you if answers these questions.

You say that you re interested in mechanics.  In that case, I would suggest that you change to Mechanical Engineering and the Mechanics sub-specialization.  Physics is more about E&M and quantum mechanics these days.  It might also be easier for you to move toward another engineering discipline.

In any case, should you still wish to move in the direction of physics, then you need to find your way to get into a Masters program in physics after your B-tech.  You don't say if your intent is to study in the United States but generally most U.S. universities want to see a 4-year undergraduate degree or a 3-year plus at least one year of Masters courses from India.

To answer your final question.  Yes there are jobs of physics degree holders but unless you are planning to have a research career, you will need to look for jobs in industry that are engineering-related.

Good luck!

Careers: Physics

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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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