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Dr Kathy Romer answers your questions about Physics! watch

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    Struggling with a particular theory for your exams? Wondering whether to study Physics at a higher level? Just got a question about the subject in general? :confused:

    We're pleased to welcome Dr Kathy Romer to the site for a Q&A session next Tuesday. Kathy is a reader in Astrophysics at Sussex University and a Public Engagement Fellow for the Science and Technology Research Council. She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in The Large Scale Distribution of X-ray Clusters of Galaxies, and is a world expert in the discovery and exploitation of X-Ray clusters of galaxies. :smartass:

    Dr Kathy Romer will be answering your questions up until Tuesday 21st June at 6pm.

    Post your questions below, and Kathy will try and answer as many as possible. :thumbsup:
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    Very Important Poster
    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Struggling with a particular theory for your exams? Wondering whether to study Physics at a higher level? Just got a question about the subject in general? :confused:

    We're pleased to welcome Dr Kathy Romer to the site for a Q&A session next Tuesday. Kathy is a reader in Astrophysics at Sussex University and a Public Engagement Fellow for the Science and Technology Research Council. She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in The Large Scale Distribution of X-ray Clusters of Galaxies, and is a world expert in the discovery and exploitation of X-Ray clusters of galaxies. :smartass:

    Dr Kathy Romer will be answering your questions on Tuesday 21st June (exact time TBC)

    Post your questions below, and Kathy will try and answer as many as possible. :thumbsup:
    aamirac - this may interest you. :borat:
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    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Struggling with a particular theory for your exams? Wondering whether to study Physics at a higher level? Just got a question about the subject in general? :confused:

    We're pleased to welcome Dr Kathy Romer to the site for a Q&A session next Tuesday. Kathy is a reader in Astrophysics at Sussex University and a Public Engagement Fellow for the Science and Technology Research Council. She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in The Large Scale Distribution of X-ray Clusters of Galaxies, and is a world expert in the discovery and exploitation of X-Ray clusters of galaxies. :smartass:

    Dr Kathy Romer will be answering your questions on Tuesday 21st June (exact time TBC)

    Post your questions below, and Kathy will try and answer as many as possible. :thumbsup:
    Hello Fox Corner
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    Thanks for doing this
    I'm interested in working in Physics academia and was wondering what steps you generally take after a PhD?
    Also this is a very tough, general question but how do you think more women can become interested in Physics at A Level and beyond?
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    XxKingSniprxX I'm sure you'll have a few questions?
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    What academic steps did you have to go through to become a reader of Physics at uni I.e Bachelor->Masters->PHD-> Post doc? :confused:

    Do you think PHD funded applicants should be given a higher amount £/year to help raise incentive into further education?

    Favorite/hated topics throughout your :work: time?
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    How in demand are physics graduates really? Are they able to find work and make good income?
    What's the most buzzing, exciting field in physics for a graduate in teh next couple of years?
    Did you always want to do physis as a young student? What were the steps you took to get where you are?
    Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
    I have manyt more but i do hope some can be answered. Thank you!
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    (Original post by TheBride)
    Thanks for doing this
    I'm interested in working in Physics academia and was wondering what steps you generally take after a PhD?
    Also this is a very tough, general question but how do you think more women can become interested in Physics at A Level and beyond?
    Hello.

    The normal route into an academic career in Physics is: PhD, then 2 or 3 postdocs, then a lecturership. If you can get an independent fellowship then you could go PhD to fellowship to lectureship, especially if it is a 5 year fellowship. But there are other routes that include detours via high school teaching, industry, entrepreneurship, parenting/caring etc. Physics is a very open minded discipline. Age; gender or sexual orientation; educational, ethic or economic background are not important. Indeed species is not relevant either: we'd be more than happy to welcome those from other worlds, if it helps us solve the mysteries of the Universe quicker!

    WRT: How do you think more women can become interested in Physics at A Level and beyond..... Taking the "beyond" first: in my experience (and having looked at some of the data available, e.g. from IoP), once a female sixth former is taking Physics then her chances of doing it at Uni (and beyond) are not much lower than her male counterparts. Indeed in my own case, I started my A'levels assuming I'd go into medicine, but exposure to A'level physics was enough to divert me from that path.
    How to get more Y11 girls interested in taking Physics at Alevel is harder. One thing I think is crucial is making sure that Y7 and Y8 girls are given lots of encouragement to take triple science at GCSE. One a child opts for double science, its pretty much game over for Physics A'level (more because of the "friends group" pressure than because double science doesn't provide a quality education).
    So IMHO the key is to ensure Y10 and Y11 girls (and boys of course) have the opportunity to see Physics as the coolest of the three sciences (and it won't be for "coolest" for everyone: it vital that some of our brightest kids to see Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Computing, or Drama, Art etc, as the coolest). And what makes a subject cool? Teachers.

    Teachers are the superheroes of our society. Let's pay them more, give them longer holidays, and give them more time to be creative and to undertake professional development. Hats off to the government for encouraging Physics graduates into teaching through their various bursary schemes: the money is nice but what is persuading our Physics students at Sussex to going into teaching in ever increasing numbers is the fact that the teaching profession is held in high esteem.
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    (Original post by NatoHeadshot)
    How in demand are physics graduates really? Are they able to find work and make good income?
    What's the most buzzing, exciting field in physics for a graduate in teh next couple of years?
    Did you always want to do physis as a young student? What were the steps you took to get where you are?
    Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
    I have manyt more but i do hope some can be answered. Thank you!

    Hello,

    * How in demand are physics graduates really?
    Hugely. Really! I am the careers tutor for the Physics Department at Sussex, so I am speaking from experience. In fact, the only barrier to our students getting a job to start right after graduation is applying for one: many of them just don't want to think about the "real world" until after they graduate! And that's fine, after all you are only an undergrad once, you should enjoy it! We provide support in the Department to our alumni for as long as they need it, and the University provides central Careers support for 5 years after graduation. I'm sure all other Uni's in the UK will do the same.

    * Are they able to find work and make good income?
    Yes to the first bit (see above). WRT the second bit: graduate jobs (i.e. those that require a degree for entry) have fairly standard starting salaries (in the mid to high 20k's), but salaries increase with experience and level of responsibility. Physics graduates are amongst the highest paid.

    * What's the most buzzing, exciting field in physics for a graduate in teh next couple of years?
    Do you mean in terms of research or jobs? I'll assume the latter, and the answer is data science.

    * Did you always want to do physis as a young student? What were the steps you took to get where you are? Who or what inspired you to do what you do?

    I can refer to you to a couple of articles:

    http://www.womanthology.co.uk/why-ph...ity-of-sussex/

    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/internal/bul...16-kathy-romer
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    Hello, and thank you for your time!

    I was wondering what career options are open after a PhD in Physics?
    Would you generally go for a professorship/lecturing position, research, consultancy or something else?
    What do you usually do in your day-to-day work?
    Also, roughly what is the salary like at a PhD level?

    (Sorry if this is vague, but I haven't decided on a specific field of interest yet!)
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    (Original post by XxKingSniprxX)
    What academic steps did you have to go through to become a reader of Physics at uni I.e Bachelor->Masters->PHD-> Post doc? :confused:

    Do you think PHD funded applicants should be given a higher amount £/year to help raise incentive into further education?

    Favorite/hated topics throughout your :work: time?
    * What academic steps did you have to go through to become a reader of Physics at uni I.e Bachelor->Masters->PHD-> Post doc?

    Yes that's about right, although these days most UK students do a 4 year undergraduate degree (an MPhys or MSci) rather than a BSc. This means that doing an MSc is not necessary. PhD definitely is necessary. If you see my answer to TheBride above, you'll see info about what happens after getting a docorate.

    * Do you think PHD funded applicants should be given a higher amount £/year to help raise incentive into further education?

    I'm not sure I've understood your question, but if you mean "should students studying for PhDs get a larger stipend?", then yes. Its not a bad stipend, and it is tax free, but it is still a struggle to make ends meet. PhD students in the USA and in Continental Europe are paid more than those in the UK.

    If the 2nd bit was asking if raising the stipend would mean more Physics graduates would go onto PhD study, then I'd say "no". I am the careers tutor for our department and roughly half of our students go onto PhD study. I can only recall one instance of someone asking me what the stipend was before they applied for a PhD. Physicists tend not to care about money to be honest! That said, I think it is great that the government is encouraging Physics graduates into teaching with large bursaries.
    * Favorite/hated topics throughout your :work: time?[/QUOTE]

    Favourite: an undergrad course on Stellar Astrophysics at Manchester University. Still make me smile to remember how wonderful it was to learn all that cool stuff from an incredible lecturer (whose name I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten).

    Hated: I don't remember hating any of my degree course, but I wasn't all that keen on a theory course about Continuous Matter. Too many equations.
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    (Original post by Kaedra)
    Hello, and thank you for your time!

    I was wondering what career options are open after a PhD in Physics?
    Would you generally go for a professorship/lecturing position, research, consultancy or something else?
    What do you usually do in your day-to-day work?
    Also, roughly what is the salary like at a PhD level?

    (Sorry if this is vague, but I haven't decided on a specific field of interest yet!)
    Q1) I was wondering what career options are open after a PhD in Physics?

    A1a) Every option that is open to those with a BSc or MPhys in Physics. Most graduate programmes don't give higher salaries to those with higher degrees (although some do). However, PhD graduates climb the career ladder faster because they already have a lot of relevant expertise (either specific technical, e.g. nano tech, or genetic transferable, e.g. project management).

    A1b) A few [non academic] options that are only open to people with PhDs in Astro/Physics (or closely related fields). These might require very specialised technical skills (e.g. nano tech, vacuum tech, remote sensing) that you'd continue to use in your job. Or they might require specialised transferable skills, such as anomaly detection in large data sets, that you learned while you were doing a PhD but would be applying in a different scenario, e.g. finding exploding stars in astronomy images might lead into finding subtle fluctuations in heart monitoring signals.

    Q2: Would you generally go for a professorship/lecturing position, research, consultancy or something else?

    A2a: Roughly half of PhD graduates in Physical Sciences do at least one postdoc. Although, in some areas, such as quantum technology, there is funding for 100% of them to get postdocs. Most postdocs do not get permanent academic positions, maybe 1 in 3, although that does vary a lot from subfield to subfield.

    A2b. Increasingly PhD students actively choose not to go down the postdoc route (and postdocs not down the permanent academic route). That is because there are so many exciting, and well paid, jobs on offer, especially in the booming area of Data Science.

    Q3: What do you usually do in your day-to-day work?

    A3: Every day is different, there is no "usually"! But over the course of a year I'd expect to spend 1/3rd of my time in each of these activities: teaching, administration, and research. Although, in all those activities, a large fraction of my time is spent on communication, via email, phone cons, skype meetings, face to face meetings, and more email. I typically send 100 emails per day.

    Q4: Also, roughly what is the salary like at a PhD level?

    A4a: If you mean the stipend for a PhD student. If you are a home student funded by one of the UK research councils then it is ~£14K tax free per year. Usually students are offered 3.5 years, but 3 and 4 are also common terms.

    A4b: If you mean an academic job after a PhD, i.e. into a postdoc, then the starting salaries are part of the national University pay scheme and are about £25k (at grade 7). You'd expect to double that by the time you get a senior academic post such as Reader (grade 9), and up to £90K for an established professor, and even as high as £300k for a Vice Chancellor.


    A4c: If you mean a non-academic job after PhD, then it'd range hugely from £25K if you start a normal, i.e. BSc level, graduate training scheme, and up to £100K in some financial sector positions.Q5: Sorry if this is vague, but I haven't decided on a specific field of interest yet! A5: No need to apologise. Only a small fraction of students I advise in our Physics Department (Sussex Uni) know what they want to do when they come to Sussex, and roughly a quarter are still feeling "vague" by the time they graduate.
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    Just tagging in a few people from the Physics forum - this will be helpful if you're taking the exam on the 20th or the 28th and have any physics-y questions, or are taking it at uni, or just have a question about physics that you've never heard a satisfactory answer for

    AQA Physics students

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    edexcel A level students

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    OCR A level students

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    What exactly is emf, and why does a change in flux induce emf? I've never quite got my head around the concept.
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    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Just tagging in a few people from the Physics forum - this will be helpful if you're taking the exam on the 20th or the 28th and have any physics-y questions, or are taking it at uni, or just have a question about physics that you've never heard a satisfactory answer for

    AQA Physics students




    edexcel A level students




    OCR A level students


    Thanks for tagging. Right now I study Physical NatSci at Cambridge and I (quite obviously) took Physics at A level (AQA). I'm Happy to answer any questions about Physics, Chemistry, Maths at A-Level and at University additionally I'm open to answer any questions specific to Science at Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by Protoxylic)
    Thanks for tagging. Right now I study Physical NatSci at Cambridge and I (quite obviously) took Physics at A level (AQA). I'm Happy to answer any questions about Physics, Chemistry, Maths at A-Level and at University additionally I'm open to answer any questions specific to Science at Oxbridge.
    Whoops - I was attempting to tag in students who were sitting their A-Levels this year to get involved with the Q & A with Dr Kathy Romer, a Physics prof at Sussex Uni
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    (Original post by Fox Corner)
    Just tagging in a few people from the Physics forum - this will be helpful if you're taking the exam on the 20th or the 28th and have any physics-y questions, or are taking it at uni, or just have a question about physics that you've never heard a satisfactory answer for

    AQA Physics students




    edexcel A level students




    OCR A level students


    Thank you for the tag!
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    (Original post by Mowerharvey)
    What exactly is emf, and why does a change in flux induce emf? I've never quite got my head around the concept.

    Hello. At what level are you studying, and with what exam board? That will help me answer at the right level.
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    (Original post by Dr Kathy Romer)
    Hello. At what level are you studying, and with what exam board? That will help me answer at the right level.
    I am studying for an A2 Unit 4 edexcel physics exam
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    Why is the discovery of gravitational waves considered to be so significant? What are the possible uses/applications of them in real life?
 
 
 

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