I am Ace
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#1
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#1
What are the differences?
The pros and cons of each?
Can you still study space in a post-doc Theoretical Physics degree?
Say I'm really interested in the space aspects of physics but I don't want to exclusively do Astronomy and I also enjoy other parts of the Theoretical Physics such as the maths.
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Jippet
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#2
Report 9 years ago
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I'm very similar to you but I've ended up doing physics with astrophysics but what I've found out from all the interviews and visiting days I had is that you can do a straight physics course and just do all the astrophysics modules to do exactly the same course as me so you could actually choose a straight physics course and mix and match some astro and some theoretical in there . Double check though because obviously different universities have slightly different course structures


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michael09_93
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#3
Report 9 years ago
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They are both equally merited courses

Famous astrophysicists/astronomers
Hubble
Neils de grass Tyson
Gallileo
Copernicus

Famous theoretical physicists
Einstein
Newton
Hawkins
(hundreds more cba naming)

Tbh you can do theoretical astrophysics

And also theoretical physics is the general term, there is so many different aspects to it. You could do string theory or nanotechnology or cosmology etc. the 'theoretical' bites just untested hypothesis. Astrophysics physics relies on found and tested theories whilst TP requires original imaginative and new Mathematics to create new theorems


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heyimbored
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#4
Report 9 years ago
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Astrophysics isn't exclusively astronomy; generally speaking the first year between all physics degrees is the same, so you do have a year to switch if you change your mind, but the two degree generally differ from a straight physics degree in a few ways.

With astrophysics, the lab component may be taken out of the straight physics degree, but will be replaced with an astronomy based lab module. These vary between unis and may involve using telescopes, or it may involve using the equipment or techniques used in astronomy (CCDs, spectroscopy, photometry, image reduction software etc...), and some astrophysics related computer programming/modelling is often brought in at some point as well. Mostly though, all electronics modules from a straight physics degree will be taken out (as that's the only area of physics that doesn't really appear in astrophysics), and some of the optional modules will be filled, and will be replaced with astrophysics modules; these modules are the theoretical ones and can be mathematical or conceptual, and will test your quantum theory, chemistry, material science, thermodynamics, and pretty much every straight physics module you will have done.

Theoretical physics courses follow a similar structure; generally labs will be taken out after first year and will often be replaced by computer programming/modelling modules. And again, optional modules and some of the more applied physics based modules will be replaced with theoretical physics, or further maths modules where you do more complex maths and stuff, and you may take some modules taken by the maths department. Sometimes maths modules run by the physics department will be taken out as well, and maths modules run by the maths department will be taken in their place. The maths you do in a theoretical degree goes a bit further into the more abstract maths found in a maths degree, there is a lot of maths in both straight physics and astrophysics of course, and if it's A level maths or further maths that you like then that's the kind of maths in a straight physics/astrophysics degree, the further maths found in theoretical physics may be a bit more abstract.

What Jippet said about taking the astrophysics modules and doing the same degree is right to an extent, but not quite, the modules that are in astro/theoretical subjects which are put into the degree as compulsory modules are the gateway to the more advanced modules. The core astro/theoretical modules are generally open as optional modules to students on straight physics, but the ones you do in the later years aren't because the 'core' ones are needed and are only available until later in straight physics. For example; I'm doing astrophysics and did a 'stellar astrophysics' module in 2nd year, and that module is an optional module in 3rd and 4th year on the straight physics course, but I do a 'further stellar astrophysics' module in 3rd year which isn't available at all on straight physics. There are a few more like that as well.

There are courses in theoretical astrophysics though, which may be good for you, on those courses you'll do an astrophysics degree with more of a focus on theoretical astrophysics instead of the lab parts probably; it'll no doubt include more computer programming and maybe some more maths. And of course, you can do a straight physics degree and take some astro and theoretical modules from the optional modules, you just need to be aware of which modules you can/can't take if you do/don't take certain modules earlier on.

If you do theoretical physics then you could go on to do a postgrad course focusing on astrophysics in some way (maybe theoretical astrophysics), and likewise if you did astro you could go on to do a postgrad which at least crosses into the theoretical physics world, but it wont necessarily be in the same depth as if you were to go from astro undergrad to astro postgrad or theoretical undergrad to theoretical postgrad if that makes sense.
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parkerkane
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#5
Report 7 years ago
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What is beyond the known universe
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