Particle Physicist Watch

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john !!
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#1
Report Thread starter 15 years ago
#1
What is a better university degree to have from Oxford if you want to be:

(i) a particle physicist
(ii) a theoretical physicist?

Out of maths and physics. I'm debating which one to chose. I am finding maths at A level easier but something tells me degree maths will be very different.
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Barny
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(Original post by mik1a)
What is a better university degree to have from Oxford if you want to be:

(i) a particle physicist
(ii) a theoretical physicist?

Out of maths and physics. I'm debating which one to chose. I am finding maths at A level easier but something tells me degree maths will be very different.
(i) Physics
(ii) Theoretical Physics
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john !!
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#3
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Ok. I'd have thought that for theoretical physics on the "event horizon" (sorry for that) of technology you'd need to be insanely good at maths to be analysing all the stuff (tensor analysis etc.). Does theoretical physics teach you this? Because I really want to be this but Oxford or Cambridge don't do them!
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Greybadger
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Basically, to be any kind of physicist you need a physics degree. There are those who transfer from, say, Maths and vice-versa, but the general idea is as read.

Any physics you do at uni will be mathematically based. Most courses will be close to 1/2 Maths 1/2 Physics teaching, with the physics using the maths you've just learnt.

So, go for a physics degree. A plain maths degree will teach you nothing of physics, but a physics degree will teach you loads of maths too.
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john !!
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Ok thankyou that has been helpful in making up my mind.
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Greybadger
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A little subtext as well.

Most particle physics isn't done 'in the field'. Depending on what area you specialise in, you may end up helping design detectors and working on theory and what have you, but that is just the groundwork.

Most particle physics is done behind a computer, sorting data, analysing data sets and so on.

I'm just reading into my final year project where I will be investigating rare B Meson decay. Whilst there is lots of physics there, the majority of the stuff I'm doing is writing software to work through 250 million sets of data, with a one in 10 million hit rate, to get some basic figures on energy distribution. Lots of particle physics is like this!
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marabara
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(Original post by Greybadger)
Basically, to be any kind of physicist you need a physics degree. There are those who transfer from, say, Maths and vice-versa, but the general idea is as read.

Any physics you do at uni will be mathematically based. Most courses will be close to 1/2 Maths 1/2 Physics teaching, with the physics using the maths you've just learnt.

So, go for a physics degree. A plain maths degree will teach you nothing of physics, but a physics degree will teach you loads of maths too.
Most of the applied side of maths is physics so don't read too much into the above comment.

However, to do particle physics, a physics degree is advisable.
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