Transcript A Career in Physics and Astronomy
A Career in Physics and Astronomy Steven R. Spangler University of Iowa What is Physics? • Greek for “The Nature of Things” • An attempt to discover the fundamental laws of nature, and their mathematical basis • Examples: motion of planets, the organization of electrons in atoms, the flow of electricity through matter • Carried out through experiment, theory, and computer simulation What is astronomy? • The study of properties of astronomical objects and the laws that govern them • Objects range from meteors (40 miles above your heads) to the first stars in the universe. • Astronomy draws on physics, but also chemistry, geology, and (in future) biology. Why study physics and do physics research? Reason #1: The desire to understand nature (“Natural Philosophy”) Why study physics and do physics research? Reason #2: Physics as the basis for technology Carbon nanotubes in “Field Effect Transistors” Physics and Useful Technology: Controlled Fusion The next (very) large step in controlled fusion: ITER Careers in physics • Research scientist • Engineer • Scientific manager (aerospace, electronics) • Medicine • Law • Education (high school, community college, college) Education for a career in physics (Part I: high school) • Take all the mathematics and science courses available to you • Minimum: 4 years of HS math, science through chemistry • Optimum: HS math through some calculus, science through physics • Take the humanities seriously too! • Don’t take a vacation your senior year Education for a career in physics (Part II: college and beyond) • Undergraduate education: (4 years of physics and mathematics) • Graduate education (Master’s or PhD): About 5 years (PhD) of advanced courses and research. PhD necessary for research or college teaching, not other career paths How much will I make? Conclusion The sciences represent the exciting intellectual frontier of the future. By participating in them, you can be a part of new discoveries and the development of new technologies for the world of tomorrow Study physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa offers degrees in physics, astronomy, and applied physics. Come visit us!