Preferably for people who then specialised in astrophysics, what's your job now? On a day to day basis?
Sincerely, a confused student considering studying physics..
I didn't study astrophysics - I done regular applied physics - then a PhD in Optics and I'm now working for an R&D company were I help design/make the optical parts for prototypes.
I do know a number of people who studied Physics and Astronomy. They are scattered about like everybody else.
One guy did a similar PhD to myself - now working as a postdoc in Oxford on fancy microscopes. Another girl did a masters in medical physics and works as a medical physicist in a hospital. Another is doing a post-doc in Astronomy research in Germany. Another person is working for an IT company doing coding and the like.
These would be the guys I'd still be in touch with. Others have done a good bit of coding and a lot seem to have gone into academia more than industry. However most have done some sort of a post-grad in the area they really found interesting.
I graduated this year with a B.Sc in Physics and Astronomy. I just got a job as a TA for Physics and Maths in my old Secondary school. Can't see myself teaching forever, but it's just something to do until I figure out what I really want to do.
did a maths undergrad but finishing up my masters in tp at the minute think im gonna go do a phd in cosmology
My friend did astro in college. He ended up doing a course in financial maths and now he works in financial services
Thanks for all the responses, keep 'em comin'
I wish I did Physics instead of Philosophy at Uni. Such a shame they don't do both together like some courses in the UK. Or even part-time. Physics of Society seems an interesting area.
Wasn't me personally but I work with a ton of guys who did physics in college who are now all computer programmers, mostly working on statistics and data storage, so I'm assuming the mathematical skills you learn in physics helps in these areas as well (I did a general computer science degree)
Nothing to stop you getting a few books and learning it yourself. You'll only have a mangled idea of it as those who've studied it formally.
Great physics books are actually difficult to come by.
Ya see, no ....no .. no ... no... no. It's ideas like this lead to something like the Sokal hoax.
One if you have ideas like "The physics of society", then you don't understand what physics is. And there may be a deep problem in your philosophy or your understanding of the philosophy you've learned.
Lots of philosophy from ever era has been tripe. Whereas physics through history has been mostly wrong - then right, then back to wrong again.
The problem in philosophy is an inconsistency in the belief or what truth is. People split into two groups, those who believe something is true because by logic or some other proof, it has been shown to be true. And then others who believe power is truth. If an academic with some fame and reputation says something - it is true be the virtue of their social power.
2 + 2 = 4, just because they say it does not because it has a deeper level of truth. They could say 2 + 2 = 5, or 6, or whatever other number they want it to be.
The world of science has been infected by the same disease. Not just recently it's always been like that. It can take decades for the scientific community to accept a new idea. Though I've heard medicine is worse. There were doctors still clinging to the idea of humours up to the 50s. And I've heard you'll occasionally still find one who won't let go of the idea.
To become a professional astrophysicist it's a really long haul. Primary degree - masters degree - then PhD. Lots of ass kissing and social connections to get you in the right place.
I have studied myself anything I know about Physics is self taught. I love Physics. You're right good physics books are hard to come by.
My interest in Physics of Society more comes from Thomas Hobbes Leviathan and the recent book by Philip Ball and Critical Mass.
Probably beyond my laymans understanding of Physics but thats the great thing about it, can explore yourself and get lost. Best thing about physics compared to medicine is it's not as structured.
I think the books may be there, finding them is something else.
That's not really physics though. It's more of an applied maths. Taking equations and maths used in thermodynamics and then applying them to financial markets, isn't physics. Atoms are simple, people are not.
It's a really bad idea to think of society in terms of it being some kind of physical system. And just because there's instances where you can apply the maths, doesn't mean that whatever function you're looking at is obeying the laws of physics - it just isn't. You can apply thermodynamics to something like traffic. But no model will ever predict for you whether a bunch of terrorists are going to crash a plane into a skyscraper.
There can be really bad applications of "science". In the 90s for a while there was a popularity of Bayesian statistics in psychology. It fell out of popularity when people realised it was a load of rubbish. The believers would make outrageous predictions based on small data sets. Statistics have their uses everywhere, but they can be very limited in the social sciences. And with their abuse you end up with pseudoscience.
It's like this, every single electron in the universe is the same as the next one. Whereas, every human brain, may be the most unique and complex instrument in the entire universe. People milling around a city will seem to appear like little particles following a random walk, then something happens like terrorists crashing a plane into the World Trade Centre and the randomness vanishes.
I hate the term layman. Scientists are not priests.
Obscurantism was introduced into medicine to freeze out the kranks. The use of Latin and Greek terminology. The benefit was to stop fraudsters learning garbled medical word salad and setting themselves up in business as doctors. The Catholic church used a similar approach (The use of Latin), to make the religion semi-gnostic. Obscurantism is great for protecting turf. The pompous priest thing is more tied to a base materialism than anything to do with knowledge.
The way people in any field come to have an understanding of what they're studying, is by translating the obscure language into layman's terms for themselves. If they don't, they never understand it.
A degree in English does not confer on its' recipient a deeper understanding of literature. No. English degrees exist to give a certain kind of person a secure teaching job.
Medicine saves lives. Something like String Theory probably isn't even physics.
For a decent idea about what the life of top Astronomers/Physicists/Astrophysicists is like I'd suggest reading "The 4 percent Universe" by Richard Panek.
It also gives a good idea as to what a lot of TP/Physics/Astrophysics graduates and postdocs are doing as well. I think they were refered to as Cannon Fodder in the book for various reasons that wouldnt inspire a lot of people to go into that area.
You can do Astrophysics/Physics and TP and still be able to enter any area of physics you really want to if you get the top grades II-1 or I. And in terms of research career after your degree, well you wont be rich but the opportunities are there for any student who is willing to endure the lifestyle and pressure. There is definitely a level of research for anyone that wants it.
Take a look at the Trinity Astrophysics website to get a better idea of what research is going on in Ireland.
The higher end research is going on places like America, UK, Australia which the most ambitious students would have to consider.