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Q & A: Physics career?

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
i would like to take up a career in physics when i am older but i dont know what subjects i need to take to take physics up as a profession and what types of physics professions there are. please help!
- Lisa Parker (age 16)
North London, England
Since you're interested in physics, it's a good idea to take lots of math early on. That opens up many physics courses for you later. Certainly you should take several semesters of calculus as soon as you can, then probably linear algebra and complex analysis. It also helps to take an introductory physics course in secondary school. In college, the actual physics courses will not be hard to find, with the beginning sequence usually laid out in an organized way.
Having a chance to try actual research is especially important, and may take more effort to set up. To get ready for it, you should look for lab courses, especially in electronics, and also learn some computer programming. If you have a chance, try to pick a college where there are opportunities for undergraduates to do research.
Careers in physics include research at government or industrial labs, teaching at college or secondary school, combined research and teaching at universities, and physics applications in industry. For example, many physicists are employed developing new types of magnetic disk drives for computers. Since physics is so generally applicable, lots of people start with some pure physics training then branch out into biological or engineering fields.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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