Should I continue with physics...

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#1 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Should I continue with physics...

Posted 30 August 2012 - 11:45 PM

I started out as a computer science and physics major and ended up liking CS a lot more. I don't think I will ever use physics. In fact I am getting pretty bored of it. So should I continue studying it, at the expense of not fully focusing on CS (and even possibly hurting my GPA), or should I just forget about it? Is it worth all the pain I will have to go through? :butbut:

I only need 4 more courses for a BA... 8 more courses for a BS (original plan)... CS will definitely be a BS. This semester I am signed up for mechanics and thermodynamics, and I am thinking of dropping the latter in favor of another CS course. I heard thermodynamics is extremely hard.

If I complete a CS B.S + a physics B.A, can I go back to school after graduating to make the B.A a B.S? Do big corporations (who are willing to train recent grads) like physics majors?

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 30 August 2012 - 11:50 PM


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#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 05:29 AM

If you don't like Physics, why fight it out? That being said, if you're almost there, why waste all the hard work? Do you have enough credits for a Physics minor? Perhaps you could do that.
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#3 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:03 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 31 August 2012 - 05:29 AM, said:

If you don't like Physics, why fight it out? That being said, if you're almost there, why waste all the hard work? Do you have enough credits for a Physics minor? Perhaps you could do that.


There is no difference between a minor and a BA for me. A BA is just a minor + math, which the CS major already covers. I really wanted a BS though, but that might be too much.

So is it possible to go back to school and turn a BA into a BS after I graduate?

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 31 August 2012 - 08:08 AM

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#4 mojo666  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:16 AM

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So is it possible to go back to school and turn a BA into a BS after I graduate?


I don't see why you couldn't. It would be best to ask the school.
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#5 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:43 PM

Okay. I should have a better idea after I finish this semester. I'm worried I'll do badly on both physics courses, but I think I can manage at least a B.

Any physics majors here?

I heard a lot of physics majors become programmers - how can that be, if they never take any courses on algorithms and theory?

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 31 August 2012 - 12:45 PM

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#6 mojo666  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 02:57 PM

I'd say only about half the people I know in the field earned some kind of IT degree. A major part of programming is being able to figure things out on your own. Thus, it doesn't matter if you went to college for medicine, business, art, or whatever. As long as you are capable of learning, you can pick up programming. Algorithms and theory are used everywhere, not just programming, so many people are already comfortable with the concepts.
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#7 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:48 PM

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I heard a lot of physics majors become programmers - how can that be, if they never take any courses on algorithms and theory?

A lot of people in the hard sciences and math do a lot of programming. There is a difference between working well on large codebases and cranking out a simulation. Those who excel in these fields usually have a lot of the skills required of programmers, though this isn't always the case. Physics doesn't make one a good programmer. Rather, physicists become programmers out of necessity. It is one more tool in their toolbox.
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#8 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 31 August 2012 - 10:03 PM

Only studying Comp Sci will make for an incredibly weak programmer. I've seen far more strong hybrids than I've ever seen in purists. Without endeavoring multiple schools of thought, you're stuck to a very static and rigid method of thinking. This is a large handicap.

Some of the hybrids may seem completely out of the ordinary to a layman, but bear with me.

Computer Science + Music: Music teaches rhythm, creativity, flow, and improvisation in the case of Jazz. I've seen some insane Jazz/CIS hybrids out there, they make it up as they go if they're not sure of something and are some of the most inventive people you'll ever meet. Just as in soloing, you can put something that sounds completely wrong in a piece and make it come off amazingly with enough skill. Music isn't about not making mistakes, but being able to stick the landing and make it all work together no matter how much of a mess you make.

Computer Science + Art/Design: Design principles are some of the most sage advice you can give any programmer. Bad design will stick out like a sore thumb, good design will be noticed, but truly great design is transparent. Programmers who master a transparent design pattern can seamlessly integrate things without the need for flash and flair. It makes them take things into perspective of what flows well with other elements. Programs become compositions in a grander exhibit of collections and curiosities. An artist will also have an odd tendency upon occasion to do something that by all reasonable thinking would never come to the front, but works brilliantly.

Computer Science + Biology/Chemistry: So many things these days are modeled after nature, and by really understanding nature you can have a finer grasp on the beauties of the world. I've seen several biochems that try and integrate the fluidity of life into their programming ideals, and it produces some insane results. Think cell structure, DNA, and etc. So much can be emulated if you know where to draw the inspiration from.

Computer Science + Philosphy/Psychology/Sociology: By understanding the motives behind human behavior you can model things more efficiently to handle situations and edge cases. Since the primary focus of programs and scripts are to make human life easier, what better way than to get to really know what makes humans tick? Philosophies on human thought can be enlightening as well, schools of thought of Plato and Socrates can bring enlightenment.

Computer Science + History/World Culture: Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Knowing our history and the history of the world can help to put you in positions to improve upon the mistakes of our past. You become more aware of the world issues and cultures and how they impact everything you do. This should almost be a requirement for Americans, because so often we don't understand world issues.

What it really comes down to is you need to seek enlightenment in more than one source, technology will only take you so far. The world has provided you with so many different ways of thinking that it would be rather insulting to only choose one, now wouldn't it?

Mind you I've mostly covered outliers that you really wouldn't expect to be on the list.

That being said, I'm a polymath. I study art, music, philosophy, history, and anything else I can get my hands on. So many of my ideas come from influences far and outside of Computer Science. CS only gives me the ground and framework upon which to built my admittedly insane creations and monstrosities.

Hey, no one ever said you get it right the first time, or the 15th time for that matter. Ideas are ideas, keep a notebook and write. Sketch religiously and make sure every thought is put down. You'd be surprised at how many brilliant things you let slip.
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#9 alias120  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 08 September 2012 - 11:55 AM

I am currently majoring in Mathematical Physics, but have been facing my own dilemma with respect studying Computer Science. I enjoy programming, and often find myself thinking of interesting programs to write for something I have learned in either a mathematics or physics course. Interest in writing code =! Programmer, though. This was really the greatest deciding factor for me, when faced with which field I wanted to dedicate myself to. I just have far more interest in Physics then in CS. From what you have said, about being bored with Physics, this is not necessarily your situation. Did you plan on pursuing graduate studies in Physics? If not, CS might be the better option. While there are jobs available to Physics undergraduates, it is simply expected that if one wishes to be a physicist they will have completed graduate studies. Now, I should point out, as others already have, that physicists do write code. In fact, many of the theoreticians at my university will only take on undergraduates as assistants it they know how to write code. So, if you do decide to stick to physics don't be dismayed by the thought of never being able to do any programming. And besides, nothing is stopping you from programming on your own time. I believe that ultimately you will just have to decide what type of work you would prefer to be spending your life with.
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#10 leontd  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:43 AM

What do you wish to do after you get your bachelor? A physics bachelor degree would only be good to prepare you for the gre test to get into grads school for a phd. Other than going for a phd, a undergrad physics major wouldn't give you much opportunity as compared to CS.
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#11 murume  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:58 PM

Thank you guys for all this.
I come from Zimbabwe where universities are scarce. As you would expect many courses will not be available for averyone who applies for them so when I applied for Computer Science at the nation's best university I ended up getting Physics. I have always loved Physics but never thought of taking it as a career because the general belief is "do Physics, go to teach". When I took time to research about careers in Physics I was thrilled to know that x.com and paypall.com where created by a Physicist. I also learnt that Physicists are usually needed not for their knowledge but for their skills. The chairman of the Computer Science department at our uni is a Physicist. I gathered many fact that convinced me that I can do my Physics and still do whatever I wanted to do with computers later. All I wanted to learn from CS was coding after all
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#12 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:04 PM

Should I stick with the physics even if it lowers my GPA?

I think I might get a B- or C on my classical mechanics course - the lowest grade I ever got in my majors. :o

The weird part is that I'm studying physics for fun. I like physics and love reading about it. I think it's the most fascinating subject.

I really want to go to grad school for CS, though, and I'm afraid physics will hurt my chances.

I do however have an internship at IBM (surprisingly at least half of the people I met were physics majors) which makes me confident about my future in CS. I heard that experience, projects and recommendations are more important than GPA. What do you think?
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#13 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:09 AM

And yet another reason I think the institutional educational system is ass backwards. Easily allows one to be harmed academically for only investigating or learning for enjoyment.

Cause you know, you're NEVER allowed to fail. Failure is weakness. Weakness is bad. You don't learn from mistakes, you're supposed to NEVER make mistakes.
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#14 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:23 AM

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And yet another reason I think the institutional educational system is ass backwards. Easily allows one to be harmed academically for only investigating or learning for enjoyment.

... and that's why there are community colleges to attend.


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Cause you know, you're NEVER allowed to fail.

I take it as you are required to show competency in the field you are trying to obtain the piece of paper for.
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#15 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Should I continue with physics...

Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:41 AM

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I take it as you are required to show competency in the field you are trying to obtain the piece of paper for.

I agree with this. In certain fields that require a higher degree of competency, I think the curriculum should be actively trying to weed out people that shouldn't be there. Mathematics, the sciences, and engineering are such fields. Do we really want people blowing through physics if they can't explain certain fundamental natural phenomenon? Do we want computer scientists that can't do algorithm proofs?

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And yet another reason I think the institutional educational system is ass backwards. Easily allows one to be harmed academically for only investigating or learning for enjoyment.

One can generally take a certain number of (elective) courses under the Pass/Fail option, which doesn't harm one's GPA.
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