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Why Study Physics?

The universe is filled with beauty, mystery and unexpected delights. From the puzzling quantum world of the very small to the majestic motion of galaxies; from the wonderland world of the very fast to the almost motionless world of the very cold; from a single atom trapped in a well to the uncountable number of stars in the universe; from our every day world to the the beginning of time -- all of the physical universe is the realm of physicists.

Physics is primarily about asking questions. And then finding answers to those questions.

Physics students are expected to master the mathematical language of physics; and they are expected to achieve a deep understanding of the conceptual framework which describes the universe so well.


Doing well in physics requires students to practice thinking in disciplined, analytical patterns but also they must be able to make thoughtful, intuitive leaps that defy logic. Students must learn to communicate in mathematics, with the written word, and in oral presentations. Furthermore, they must also become as familiar with a computer as they are with a screwdriver, and in general they must become as able in lab as at the blackboard. Physics majors must learn to work cooperatively in groups -- yet they are expected to become capable as independent researchers.

But physics isn't just for physicists any more. The training you receive in asking questions, finding answers, and communicating your results are useful everywhere.

Though many of our majors do choose to go on for advanced study in physics, others enter industry with a BA in physics and become engineers, computer analysts, and technical staff. And yet others go into teaching, medicine, real estate, investments, design, or open their own business.

So why should you commit yourself to a discipline which will greedily take your time and energy, and constantly challenge you to greater effort?

For some, physics is also fascinating ... satisfying ... and fun.

For similar advice from the American Physical Society check out the Why Study Physics page from the APS and also the Physics in Action and the Writer's Gallery from Physics Central.

Also see if your physics teacher can get the Physics is for You brochure from the American Institute of Physics. Part of the brochure is on the web.

For more information on careers in physics check here for the Physics Career page.

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