I want to be a future physicist. But how?

February 15, 2018  1759 words 9 mins read  Comments

You want to be a physicist in near future. Right? That’s why you are studying Physics in your bachelor. But you may encounter an interesting question that is, “But, how?”.

After that you will go on searching for the people who are very expert in their field of physics and then, you ask questions to them. They will give you the best possible answer they can have. Now, here is a time you need to be aware of! I mean, statistically, if you take those answers as grant then, your career is biased by them. So, what you need to do is: you’ll need to take a lot of sample answers from different people. Then, you will need to analyze by yourself on how you can have straight possible career paths in your interested field.

Stopped! Right?

Don’t worry. Listen I’m here! So that I can give you some strategies that I have followed in the duration of my Bachelor studies.

Find your passion in Physics! But how?

First thing first, find your passion in physics! Again, you may encounter the same question but with a different sense. Right?

So, what you need to do is “Question yourself on what field of physics that you are very interested in?”. Not just because of media or promoters but because with a concrete reason why you are really interested in this field.

To me, it was because I’m very interested in the field of the concept of the field due to Sir. Micheal Faraday to explain Electro-magnetism. I mean when I was in high school, I was very fascinated by the chapter Magnetism and I even try to give a theory about how repulsion and attraction work in magnets. And this trigger to me further and very eager to know, whether is it a mathematical trick to solve physics problem or is it a physical thing that we can see in magnets, gravity and soon.

Let’s not go there!

Okay, if you have this! I suggest you not read until you arrive in the next section.😄

But, if you still don’t know? Okay! Let’s try this out!

Find out what things make you ask questions a lot to your teachers or your friends or even to you?

For example, let’s start with this:

You may have a question like: why apple always fall towards the earth but not earth towards an apple? Then, you find that this is due to gravity. And you’ll go on reading a lot more about Newton’s law of gravitation. Now, you satisfied with the answer by Sir. Issac Newton. Because you learned how gravity works. And you know small bodies are pulled by heavenly bodies. But you still don’t know why gravity behaves like this? Now, your quest for searching the answer may arrive at General Theory of Relativity that was formulated by Prof. Einstein. Now, you will understand the gravity in-terms of the geometry of spacetime. And you know that you can derive Newton’s law of gravitation in a very weak gravitational field from General Relativity. Now, you may have a question like, if there is a strong gravitational field i.e. Blackhole somewhere in our universe, will general relativity work? You may find the answer, obviously! Now, you will question what about in the singularity of that black hole where there is a fluctuating strong gravitational field? Now, you may surprise that you need to account for another theory that can explain the very small things i.e. Quantum theory. Then, you clearly see you need to be a quantum gravitist to understand this thing.

What I want to say is, from a very simple question you find yourself to be a physicist of Quantum gravity.

But I want to aware you, it takes a lot of time and effort to figure it out! And in the meanwhile you will get depressed, have frustrating hours, and at last, you will lose your hope. But I strongly recommend, you need to keep in mind that it’s common to every researcher and when you didn’t give up for a long time, everything you stuck at will be normal (Credit: Dr. Jonah M. Miller, for this motivating words). So, the inspiration you should force yourself is, never stop questioning, maybe one day, you will find your passion. And I suggest, your passion/field need not seem to sound great. But the main thing is, you need to be passionate about your interested field of Physics.

If you found your passion then, we are ready for the next section.

Why not I built some basic skills from today which I surely needed when I’ll be a physicist in my interested field?

Most of the people that I have seen ( or even me) entered in Physics are because they have some particular field of interest, they want to see themselves in the near future. Okay! Everything is cool up to this point. But the trouble comes when they did not grow themselves in their interest fields. And it’s not because they cannot and not either their university did not furnish the syllabus. I think this is because they get desperate on what to do! And during my Bachelor’s, I understand what to do, and questioned on: why not I built some basic skills from today which I surely needed when I’ll be a physicist in my interested field?

When you enter graduate school (most probably for Ph.D.) then, you’ll need to train yourself with the necessary skills before you start your own research. That means you will be investing more time in your t

But the question is, how can I know what are the basic skills needed?

Don’t worry! There is one social site that may help us!

Guess what?

LinkedIn (I’m not advertising it!). Now, but how?

So, let’s sign up there and complete your profile. Now, we are ready to do some research for yourself.

Suppose you are very interested in Astrophysics. Let’s find out what are the basic skills for it?

After you created your LinkedIn account, you can see a search box in the topmost left part of its website. Now, let’s type astrophysicist. And hit enter. You can see organizations, people and etc related to this keyword. Then, click the “People” tab. This is the thing that we’ll need! This means we have a long list of astrophysicists.  And on the right side, you can see filter option which you definitely like to use, if you knew which location has more experts in this field. But for our case, let’s make our proposal simple by ignoring this option.

Open every profile in a new tab. And ignore all their professional details (like organizations, achievements, etc.) and directly jump into “Featured Skills & Endorsement” heading.

Let’s define what I mean about “basic skills” in this context. If there are any skills common in between the astrophysicists then, we call these skills as basic skills. Suppose, every people has spectroscopy as a common skill then, we need to know this belongs to the basic skills category. In the above image, the same color between three different people refers to the skill that is common.

Let’s see further

Sometimes you see a skill that is not common to any profile that you are sampling. Then, you need to warn yourself it does not belong to the category. If you are very eager to know, search for it. If not, just ignore it. Again, you can see something like “Social media” and the same sort of skills then, you need to think I need to ignore it. If you put it in this category then, you will get into trouble. 😄

And I want to note here, there is also an endorsement number that other people endorse them. One way you can neglect skills by seeing the endorsements for those skills on every profile.

Let’s put all in spreadsheets

Suppose 23 astrophysicists, know about “Image processing” then, you need to think this is a basic skill.

Hurray, you know how you can find what are the basic skills. Best of luck!

Commit yourself at-least try to learn some basic skills.

After you know what are the basic skills for your interested field then, why not you learn some of them. I don’t suggest you will need to learn all of them but strongly recommend know at least what they are! A quick tutorial is also a good start. But do not try to be an expert in the first learning stage rather go for searching some research projects that are finished with these skills which you have just learned its basics. You can find it on arXiv or researcher personal websites. And try to reproduce their projects. This is one way you can build up your skills level from basics to intermediate. If you got stuck then, email to the respective authors about your question.

Wow! You know what actually the research be like!

Find a supervisor who can understand/matches your interest?

This is a time where you especially want to do your own research and you need to have a mentor to supervise/track your research. And it’s really the hardest part everyone will ever meet in their scientific career. So, here is the list of the points I would suggest:

  1. Find the list of people who are working in your field of interest.
  2. Email them mentioning that you have done this, …, this research works till now with your CV. And read their papers and give a concrete reason why you really wanted to work with him/her. Because they might think that there are other people why him/her!
  3. If they appreciate your effort then maybe they will happily accept your proposal.
  4. If yes! Best of luck with your research.
  5. But most of the time, they don’t! Because of that do not stop. Have faith and continue building up your skills.

Again, Best of luck! May your wishes be fulfilled soon!

Want to build an app under my concept?

From the search box of LinkedIn to spreadsheets and sort out the basic skills is actually a tedious job. Right? Let me share here a list of things that one will need if they want to build an app under this concept.

  1. Learn how to use the LinkedIn API.
  2. Make a statistical model. We need it because how can you give 23 a threshold number to say that “Image processing” belongs to basic skills. So this job will be done by your model.
  3. Design the flowchart to in-cooperate all tasks from extracting data, analyzing it and give results.

Any feedback?

If you guys have some questions, comments, or insults then, please don’t hesitate to shot me an email at damodar[At]physicslog.com or comment below.

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  • Damodar Rajbhandari
    Written by Damodar Rajbhandari, a PhD student in Theoretical Physics at the Jagiellonian University, Poland, working in the Causal Dynamical Triangulations group at the Institute of Theoretical Physics.
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