General Question

Daniel011's avatar

Is it hard to become a Nuclear Physicist?

Asked by Daniel011 (77 points ) February 11th, 2013

Which one is more difficult to learn, Particle Physics or Nuclear Physics?

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15 Answers

chyna's avatar

Do you have a school counselor you can discuss these career questions you keep asking?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Coloma's avatar

^^^ LOL
I am sure there are scads of articles online about the requirements for becoming a physicist.
Obviously you must be very strong in advanced mathematics such as Calculus.
I’d probably start with an IQ test and maybe even a personality test to see what areas your strengths lie in.
Newton, Einstein, and many other scientists are of the NTP personality, the intuitive, thinking, perceiving types known for their inventive and unrelenting pursuit of knowledge.
Personality and IQ will have much to do with what professions you are attracted to and certainly the areas you are most likely to excel in.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
jerv's avatar

NNPTC (the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program) can teach you the basics of nuclear physics in mere months… or drive you nuts trying. I managed a fairly decent GPA there, but find particle physics a bit hard to grasp. Then again, I have always been better at applied science than theoretical, so I think which one is easier is subjective.

jerv's avatar

@Coloma Not entirely true. NNPTC will teach you math from 2+2 up to calculus in the first 8 weeks; you just need the intelligence to keep up. However, you need to get 80+ on the ASVAB to even be offered the entrance test for the nuke program, and a similar level of performance is required to pass the required classes in the civilian equivalent programs. In other words, you don’t need the skills going in, just the brains to learn them.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I second @jerv‘s answer. Apply for the Navy’s nuke program, if you have an aptitude you will know in short order. You could also go with the Air Force’s program, but the Navy uses a lot of nuclear propulsion while the Air Force’s is mostly concerned with warheads and bombs.

And if you go Navy, you will get paid to learn instead of selling your soul to pay some university to teach you.

gailcalled's avatar

No harder than becoming an Astrophysicist, Biophysicist, Geophysicist, Pharmacologist, PhD in Cryptography, Particle Physicist, Particle Physicist (you asked twice), See answers here

ETpro's avatar

I second @gailcalled‘s answer that getting a PhD in any area of physics is tough. Getting into the advanced degree program at a top school like MIT or Stanford is dauntingly difficult. Forget about which is more difficult. Pick the discipline you find most interesting.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Piece of cake!

I became a nuclear physicist during a Big Bang Theory commercial break once.

…I’m just kidding! I hate that show. It was Law and Order SVU.

JLeslie's avatar

Hate Big Bang Theory? Do you hate Star Trek also?

I’m with @gailcalled as far as the actual question at hand.

pleiades's avatar

Are you more or less interested in actions and reactions as it relates to the nuclear realm?

Or are you more or less interested in the actions and reactions as it relates to multiple particles in multiple situations?

When it comes to science, I believe, it’s not about what’s harder to learn, it’s about what’s more or less interesting to learn.

(For the record I hate the phrase, “More or Less” and hate is a strong word! Haha I’m cheesing it so hard right now. My point is with science we can teach a 3rd grader pretty much all there is to know right now if we were patient enough, now until we start explaining the 4th dimension, I’d say my answer rings true)

jerv's avatar

@pleiades Agreed; it’s easier to learn stuff that interests you.

LuckyGuy's avatar

At this point it is not critical to pick one over the other. What you learn today will be the base of your knowledge when you are ready for your specialization and career. One of my school mate was a particle physicist at Brookhaven National Labs. His research was entirely dependent upon funding opportunities and the technology of the day. You can be certain that the field will be different in 5 years. Learn the basics, learn the math, lean how to write grants and stay flexible.

mattbrowne's avatar

Equally difficult, but not so difficult if you truly love math and love working with your head far more than with your hands.

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