Physics

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Articles on Physics:
   Major in Physics
    A future in Physics
   Physics Major...A Closer Look
   Path to a Physics Degree

Major in Physics

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“I build molecules for a living… I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”  ~James M. Tour; nanoscientist

You may be an individual who is fascinated with understanding the laws that God has created to govern our universe. Perhaps you are intrigued by questions such as “What is the energy band of solid matter?” and “What are atoms made of?” and “How do we calculate the distance to the stars?” Physics is the study of matter, energy and their interactions. A major in this broad STEM-based field delves into the inner workings of time, space and the natural laws of energy and motion.

Succeeding in this rigorous major requires dedication and perseverance. On average, most physics students put in 50-60 hours of academic study per week. Physics majors focus on research, but also spend large amounts of time conducting lab exercises and experiments, working on collaborative projects, giving presentations, writing papers and working through complex and challenging questions. In addition to strong mathematical proficiency, some of the other necessary traits for this major include:

  • A natural curiosity; interest in how things work and the ability to formulate and test various scientific hypotheses
  • Problem-solving skills; the ability to think through questions systematically and critically and to produce logical, workable solutions
  • Communication skills; being able to read carefully, write clearly, debate effectively, teach understandably, as well as to listen and work well with others

Depending upon your chosen program, it is possible you may specialize in a particular area of physics or you may be required to undergo an internship in a particular area of specialization. Once your core classes are completed, including higher level math classes such as Multivariable Calculus, you will take a plethora of physics classes including nuclear, modern, particle and computational physics. Some of the other courses you might expect to take include:

  • Classical Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods for Scientists
  • Thermodynamics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Vibrations, Waves and Optics
  • Quantum Mechanics

Approximately 50% of physics majors go on to pursue a master’s degree in math, engineering, astronomy or physics, while the other half of graduates seek out a career in a wide-range of fields connected to their degree. Physics majors can be found working in education, research, the private sector, government agencies and NGOs. With our ever-expanding need for technologically-minded employees, the demand for those knowledgeable in programming and coding continues to grow. Careers in computer science/computer engineering are a popular fit for physics majors and include professions like IT consultant, web or software developer, tech specialist and systems analyst. There are also plenty of non-tech careers to consider:

  • Laser engineer
  • Optical engineer
  • High school physics teacher
  • Research physicist assistant
  • Lab technician
  • Data analyst

At the end of our lives we will give an account to God for what we did with what He gave us. If Einstein’s theory of relativity holds great intrigue for you and you thrill at the idea of complex scientific discovery and detailed mathematical equation, then perhaps God has wired you for a career in physics. 

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs