How do I study physics like Feynman

Are you studying physics or computer science?

Mark 123  📅 21.03.2020 21:53:58
Are you studying physics or computer science?
Hello everybody,
I've already read a little in this forum and I've actually come across one or the other post that deals with problems similar to mine. However, since I still have major problems deciding on a course of study, I wanted to try my luck in this forum.
In view of the fact that I will do my Abitur this year, it is slowly time for me to decide on a course of study. Here, however, I have great problems deciding whether I want to study physics or computer science, as both have certain advantages and disadvantages.
For years it had been clear to me that I wanted to study physics. The reason for this was not in my physics class (unfortunately I never really had physics at school), but rather in the subjects of biology and chemistry: whenever you asked "why, why and why" there, the answer was there ultimately in physics. As a result, I have increasingly dealt with popular science physics. I've always liked that because I think physics can simply give you a deeper understanding of how the universe works. I have always been particularly impressed by the fact that physics seems to know no boundaries: from the smallest elementary particles to entire galaxies, none of them can escape basic physical laws and hardly a question has to be asked, as is the case in biology or chemistry, for example is to be enclosed with a reference to "behind it there are physical forces". The idea of ​​understanding "the universe, its components and how they work" has always appealed to me. The career aspiration that other children had been a firefighter or astronaut, which is why I wanted to become a physicist, and best of all in basic research (everything in the field of quantum physics and astrophysics has always particularly fascinated me).
I actually kept this career aspiration as the only option for a very long time. However, when I took a philosophy course at my school last year - which was really excellent - and then increasingly dealt with topics such as radical skepticism and Rene Descartes, I realized that I was actually not compelled to study an empirical science would like to explain my purpose in life, because these findings could basically just be wrong. I know that probably sounds very strange, but my thinking - especially recently - has been very much shaped by unrealistic considerations of epistemology; I actually get up occasionally in the morning and let myself be captivated and irritated by questions like "what is reality" for hours. In short, the knowledge gained from empirical science is actually too little for me.
So study mathematics or philosophy! Would probably have been a more plausible conclusion than computer science, since pure mathematics is ironically too far removed from reality for me in the long run and I absolutely cannot imagine working in an area after my studies in which philosophers are not unemployed, this passed either option for me. Computer science as a science, which on the one hand is often referred to as structural science and on the other hand is very mathematical, then seemed to me to be more of a compromise. In addition, I have always had good experiences with IT. For example, we had a very great computer science and math teacher, where we learned the basics of C ++, Javascript, HTML, CSS, PHP and SQL, but also dealt with theoretical things such as algorithms (sorting algorithms in particular stuck in my head here ). In other words: I have always had great fun programming (and I know computer science and programming are not the same!).
Now it looks like my decision has already been made on computer science, but at least once a day there is a moment when I think how cool it would be to study physics now. This can be a look at the Feynman lectures on physics, a look at the starry sky or much more. I think I would just regret it later not to have chosen the path that gives me answers to questions about the universe that I have never asked before.
On the other hand, recently I've dared to look at a little more scientific literature on physics, just to see whether that might suit me too. I took a look at "Theoretical Physics 1: Mechanics" (by Mathhias Bartelmann, Björn Feuerbach and others) and "Mathematics for Physicists Volume 1" (by Helmut Fischer and Helmut Kaul), which then raised the question for me I am mathematically completely underexposed or just generally blessed with little intelligence. While I've always loved the popular science works, the math has just made it so difficult for me to access physics in these books - (in my opinion) not because the math was incredibly difficult, but because the spelling just completely deviates from what you know from school - so reading these books was absolutely no longer fun. This will probably change in the course of my studies, of course, but I've already watched one or the other lecture online and nowhere have I encountered as much misunderstanding on my part as in the books that were recommended to me as a gentle, easy introduction. Nevertheless, belief in physics has still not been lost.
So now I am faced with the decision to study computer science, which would probably make the hedonistic part in mine happier, or physics, which could satisfy the curious part in me. To study one of the subjects as a minor is definitely my plan, with a scope of (at my desired university) just> 10%, the decision is better considered but better.
However, a look at potential jobs in particular worries me a little and influences me a lot in my decision: Physicists have currently and in the past (had) optimal conditions on the job market, but especially here in the forum you can find many that are definitely bad Make predictions for physicists. In part, I can understand that, the "real physics industry" in business is very small and research is tough, but physicists have always had a good chance of finding work in IT or in interdisciplinary interfaces. In addition, an incredible number of people are currently studying computer science. But the economy doesn't have that many jobs for real computer scientists either: in many areas it would be enough to be able to program, which a physicist cannot necessarily be able to do.
It's just very difficult for me to get an idea of ​​the future job market and the reliability of potential sources is very questionable.
Roughly speaking, I would like to produce something new professionally. It doesn't really matter to me whether that is new knowledge in basic research, a new product or new software. At the end of the day I want to have created something that wasn't there before. I see the only alternatives to this for myself on the one hand in management consulting and on the other hand in founding my own company (which is of course still in the stars and not necessarily realistic), which would actually be a dream for me (I already worked as a Worked self-employed and would be reluctant to be a lifelong employee).
I don't care about the earnings, it shouldn't be well below 1000 euros net (inflation not taken into account), but the security of my job would definitely be more important to me.

I hope I was able to present my problem reasonably well and would be incredibly happy if someone could give me a tip, share an experience or otherwise help me with my decision-making.
With best regards,
Re: studying physics or computer science?
Computer science is the better choice. In fact, there aren't too many posts for pure physicists. Many of them are then "only" outside their field in the IT area.
The computer science sub-area simulation and scientific computing could be of interest to you. Find out which electives your dream university offers in this area. At my university (TUM) you can also choose physics as an application subject.

Edited 1 time. Last on 03/22/20 21:15.
Re: studying physics or computer science?
I would definitely say computer science; if necessary, you can still take a few physics modules as part of the free elective area.
Club go BONK  📅 27.04.2020 07:36:06
Re: studying physics or computer science?
Have the same problem, for me it will now amount to studying physics with information as a minor at KIT. For me it is the more interesting option and you are more quantitative + you should be able to familiarize yourself with everything more easily after graduation.
Re: studying physics or computer science?
Both physics and computer science are both very interesting subjects. Computer science is usually much broader in the course of study, while in a physics bachelor's degree you will essentially only have the three main subjects experimental physics, theoretical physics and mathematics.
From a purely economic point of view or in terms of cost-benefit expenditure, IT will do well. But you can always find a job as a physicist and not such a bad one.
If € 1,000 net is enough for you, it doesn't really matter economically what you study. You will always be able to do that. But I can only advise you: priorities change. If you are young and have not seen any blows of fate in yourself or in your circle of friends, you don't need a lot of money and think a lot of money is unnecessary, that was also the case with me.
But that changes later with family. Remember that you are mortal and not invulnerable. Your own time horizon / your own time perception changes as you get older and when your own responsibility towards others increases. Days no longer play such a big role and one thinks and feels more in years and looks at the world more and more in long-term perspectives. Job security will be rather difficult in the future. To compensate for this volatility, a good salary is required in order to be able to survive emergencies with financial security buffers. At the same time, it is important to build up a fortune - simply out of strategic caution.

From a purely intellectual point of view, both physics and computer science can be a pleasure. Since you are interested in philosophy, you will always be able to find enough "meta" points of contact for philosophical inspirations in both subjects. By the way: This also applies to mathematics, which is very important in both subjects. It is not without reason that the scholars of earlier centuries have always liked to deal with mathematics (since you mentioned Descartes), because in the end it really enriches the mind and - and I mean that without exaggeration - it expands consciousness if you deal with it long enough employed. Mathematics is also a very puzzling thing just like nature. Of course, mathematics is difficult - the ideas behind it are often simple and it often only looks difficult in terms of form and the didactics at German universities is just very bad. But you can find your way in there. Do not let this scare you if you have already leafed through study books and did not understand anything. It is completely normal.

I think it doesn't matter a little whether you choose physics or computer science. My advice: let your gut instinct guide you.

Edited 1 time. Last on 04/28/20 04:53.
Alexus  📅 07.01.2021 18:22:28
Re: studying physics or computer science?

no idea if you are still active. But I have exactly the same problem! And as you described it, I thought I was the only one. So how is it currently going and how does it feel?

I think you always have to look at what comes after you graduate, because that's the much longer time. Do I really want to dig into basic research in order to do my doctorate and then have a job in my mid-30s or maybe be in research then? Rather not.
There are conflicts and desires in one that concern each other in this choice, it seems. As you described, you dealt with radical doubt. Philosophy is a very good choice, but you have to remember that you don't necessarily have to study philosophy to practice it. Everything you learn in your studies can also be learned in self-study (which I plan and do).
Nietzsche tried to doubt the truth in itself, which in my opinion goes one step further. It not only questions your striving for empirical truth, but that for truth in general! When you think about it like that, the truth could result from a primitive need. Somehow there is nothing noble about that, so not philosophy? No, your analogue argument doesn't count in physics either.

The amazement when you look at the night sky is perhaps a need to think about it carefully and I think you can do that on the side. As has already been written, both computer science and physics are very inspiring for philosophical thoughts. Computer science may be even broader because there are more areas that you can go into. Perhaps this will do more justice to our creativity that we want to stimulate / use.

As a child I always wanted to be a scientist or a naturalist, I still have that need. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There is no fixed way to do this.

Perhaps it will also help one or the other who looks over here and feels the same way.

All the best.