How To Become an Astrophysicist + Challenge Question!

How To Become an Astrophysicist + Challenge Question!


Want to become an astrophysicist? Hopefully
this video will seal the deal – either that you definitely should or DEFINITELY should
not. Today’s episode is a bit different. I’m
going to tell you how to become an astrophysicist. I have a slightly unique perspective on this
not because I did it myself, but because I spent the past several years sitting on and
tåhen running the physics PhD admissions committee for one of the largest universities
in the US. I have an idea of what it takes, so I thought I’d share some of the stuff
I’ve learned. Maybe some of this will be useful to anyone thinking of chasing this
silly path – but also to those of you just curious about the process. You might come
out of this even happier that you didn’t go down this rather unforgiving rabbit hole.
I’m going to end with some astrophysics that we can all try – a challenge question
for our recent episodes on the eternally inflating multiverse. Let me start by telling you about my own path.
It was typical enough. I started out with a deep fascination in physics – in understanding
the nuts and bolts of how the universe works. I knew I had to study physics at university
but honestly had no expectation of it becoming a career – I just needed to know. But I
caught the bug and decided to try my luck at the most fun field in physics – astrophysics,
of course. I sent out applications to grad school – all outside of Australia because
I had a major itch to travel. I got some rejections and got some offers – ultimately deciding
to head to NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Which is a great town,
by the way. Even in undergrad I was no longer the smartest person in the room – but in
grad school I sometimes wondered if I was the dumbest. Serious ego check, serious imposter
syndrome, which I still experience regularly. You’ll get used to that. But I tell myself
if I’m always the smartest person in the room then I’m probably in the wrong room. Grad school had massive ups and downs and
I thought of quitting plenty of times. But it was amazing – I was using the Hubble Space
Telescope to help unravel the connection between quasars and galaxies. As many others also
found, the two evolve hand in hand, each influencing the other. It was so cool to work on an unknown
problem like that. Finally I scratched together a thesis and
the university gave me a balloon. I had to rent the hat and robe. I was a newly minted
astrophysicist and through connections I made in grad school scored a nice job working with
the Gemini Observatories. This was a postdoctoral position – a postdoc – which means a short-term
job – typically 2-4 years. Most astrophysicists do a couple of postdocs before looking for
permanent jobs. As that first postdoc was winding down I had
more thoughts of quitting astrophysics. I was just feeling burned out. I needed change.
I applied for more astro postdocs, but also other jobs. I ended up having two offers – one
was still in Melbourne, but in bioinformatics – the information science of genetics – turns
out many, many other fields – science and otherwise – want the analytical skills of
all brands of physicist. The other offer was an astrophysics postdoc at Columbia University
in New York. So, do I switch careers or switch cities? That was a very tough decision – but
I’d always wanted to live in New York, so I set sail once again. The real career hurdle was still ahead – getting
that permanent job. This is where the numbers are against us. There are way more astro postdocs
than permanent positions, whether at universities, observatories, NASA, or private foundations.
In my case I got lucky – I scored a professorship at the City University of New York and that
was the first point in my entire career where I thought I might be able to stick with this
gig. Oh, and then I started making YouTube videos because god forbid I take it easy for
a bit. If you’re thinking about pursuing physics
or astrophysics, in fact many of the hard sciences – then your path might look similar
to mine. I’m going to focus on the first part of the process – getting into a PhD
program. Getting a PhD is pretty much non-negotiable. There are jobs for those with just undergraduate
or masters degrees, but prospects are relatively scarce. Let me also say right now that it’s
never too late to start. I know people who started in their 30s, 40s, 50s, even 60s.
Most are much more sure of their goals than a fresh college graduate, and so often have
much more focus and determination and they can do very well. Starting out, your focus is convincing some
folk on an admissions committee to actually pay you to come do a PhD at their university.
The first step is to take a ton of mathematics and physics at an undergraduate. Most astro
PhD programs require a good foundation in the fundamentals of modern physics – doesn’t
really matter what you major in, but by the time you’ve taken all that physics you probably
qualify for a physics major anyway. And while you’re at it, get good grades.
I’m afraid this also isn’t negotiable. Graduate admissions committees are looking
for As and Bs. A couple of lower grades won’t kill you, but don’t make a habit of it.
You’ll also want to put serious effort into whatever standardized test your country has
– the GRE in the US. Me saying “get good grades” might sound glib, but it’s important
to emphasize. For one thing admissions committee folk have to sift through up to hundreds of
applications each year. Most will filter by your grades before they read your nice personal
essay. But also, working your ass off as an undergraduate will help you learn whether
a life in science is really for you. You may end up finding that your talents lie elsewhere
– and that’s fine. At least you’ll know you gave it your best shot. The other thing to do as an undergrad it to
try to do some sort of research. Convince a prof at your university to give you a small
project. That looks good on your application, should get you a letter of recommendation
from the prof, and most importantly will help you figure out if you actually like research.
You should also look at various REU programs. These “research experience for undergraduate”
programs may actually pay you to do research between semesters. One absolutely critical
thing to do as an undergraduate is to find a mentor. This could be the prof who you’re
going research with, or just some faculty member or even postdoc who you can talk to.
Don’t proceed blindly. Get as much advice as you can. OK, so it’s time to apply to grad school.
Research different graduate programs – are they doing stuff you’re interested in at
that university? Would you be cool moving to that city or country? Don’t just apply
to top-tier schools – there are many truly excellent grad programs that don’t have
Ivy growing on the walls. Visit campuses and talk to profs and students there if you can.
There are a lot of resources online for how to craft a good application. Use them. Send out a bunch of applications – hopefully
you’ll get some bites. If not, don’t despair. You can bolster your application for next
year – do some more undergrad research, retake the GRE exam or equivalent. Look into
bridge and masters programs – these can help to prep you for grad school. However
I would NOT recommend paying lots of money out of pocket to do a masters just to improve
your chance at getting into a PhD program. At any point keep your mind open about other
career paths. There are so many cool things to do out there, especially if you have a
good science undergrad degree. Once you’re in a PhD program then you’ll
have access to many new mentors who can give you as good advice as I can, or better. Find
those mentors. It’s going to be a challenging time – but it will forge you into a scientist.
One piece of advice regarding grad school– find the straightest path to patching together
a thesis. Writing this tome may seem daunting, but you have much, much cooler work ahead
of you – just get it done. Because once you have that PhD your options open up massively,
both in the field and out of it. OK, this gets me to the big question: should
YOU pursue a PhD? The reasons to do it: you want to spend your life trying to answer the
biggest questions there are, you want to gaze upon the wonders of the universe and bring
this incredible perspective to enrich humanity, because you just have to know how it all works.
All good reasons to spend a decade in school for pretty average pay. The reasons NOT to do a PhD are many: don’t
do it because you’re ok at math and can’t think of anything else to do besides staying
in school. Don’t do it if you want to earn the big bucks. Don’t do it if you don’t
want to have to move city or country every few years until you get permanent job. Don’t
do it if you want to maintain the illusion that you’re the smartest in the room. Don’t
do it because you like the idea of yourself as a scientist more than you like doing science. The fact is, with the job situation as it
is, the odds are stacked against getting that permanent position. So you better love the
journey and all the awesome science you get to do along the way. The job includes as much
or more frustration and boring stuff as it does unlocking the mysteries of the universe.
You gotta love the latter enough to get through the former. Don’t do a PhD because you want
to be an astrophysicist, do it because you want to do astrophysics. At least for a while. OK, enough rambling. Myself and other poor
suckers on this path will answer specific questions in the comments. For now, let’s
get on with it and do some actual astrophysics. I have a challenge question
based on our recent episodes on cosmic inflation. You’ll definitely need to have watched those
to get this. In those episodes we saw how an inflating universe can produce bubbles
in which inflation stops, each a newly-born universe. In eternal inflation, this process
goes on forever. But inflation also had a beginning – so how many bubble universes
exist today? That’s not something we can easily calculate – but there’s something
we can at least estimate. Let’s assume that every second, there’s
a set chance of a new universe forming in any given volume of space. So every second,
many bubble universes are forming across the greater eternally inflating spacetime, and
more universes form than in the previous second because there’s more volume. My question
is this – compared to the number of universes that form this second, how many more universes
form in the following second? Twice as many, 1000 times as many? Less? More? To answer
this you’ll need to assume a rate for inflation – let’s assume the minimum rate needed
to explain the horizon and flatness problems – all distances increase by a factor of 10^26
every 10^-32 seconds. And an extra credit question: at that rate,
how close to our universe would a new bubble universe need to form in order for the two
bubbles to collide before inflation throws them too far apart? Write up your answer neatly, show all your
work and draw nice diagrams if you can. Submit answers within 2 weeks of release of this
episode to [email protected] with the subject line eternal inflation challenge.
Check your spelling because we filter by subject line. We’ll select 6 correct answers to
win your pick of space time merch from the merch store as well as conference of the degree
Doctor of Spacetime. Which won’t get you any professorships, but your parents will
be very proud. Or if you hate homework you can just buy that merch – link in the description.
We’ll announce the winners in an upcoming episode, where we’ll also learn some of
the crazier consequences of an eternally inflating spacetime.

100 thoughts on “How To Become an Astrophysicist + Challenge Question!

  1. What's the best step-by-step place to start with mathematics and physics on your own? Assuming you already have a high school level understanding of them. I'd love to be able to participate in the challenges and do some calculations on my own. Sadly, my current knowledge isn't sufficient.

  2. Thank you for hanging on until you finished. So many of us just didn't. I truly enjoy your channel. I am the "brute squad". I miss that feeling of imposter syndrome. I really miss feeling like the moron in the room. I get it in spades here. Thank you

  3. What.. Why would I want to be an astrophysicist?? I'd just love to see your take on, pair-instability supernove, like an almost perfect antimatter bomb. Perhaps a nice vid on Thorne-zytkow object creation possibilities. What I really want is some clarification on direct collapse… failed-supernove black hole creation, say in the 130 (M☉) range. Or hey all three in one system… You know… Easy stuff!!
    LOL… I would love to pursue astrophysics but I just can't get past the traveling requirement. Hehe
    Thanks for the inspiration, I can never stand the wait till you drop the next installment of…. PBS SPACETIME.

  4. I know ,it is perhaps a silly question but apart college and university’s, where are the physics laws ? I mean , « where «  are are the laws that force any single parts of the universe to behave accordingly to these laws ?
    Here a part of the true , each day prove me that we are always the moron of someone.

  5. That is some question. But i'm to lazy if it comes to math to calculate it myself (or even to try). Id rather wait for someone smarter than me to give me an answer. I hope you will answer when challenge ends.

  6. I have two questions about the vacuum energy in the universe and the negative and positive pressure in the fabric of the universe
    The first question
    What is the difference between negative and positive pressure in the fabric of the universe?
    The second question is about the vacuum energy in the universe
    What molecules are responsible for vacuum energy?
    I want to know the molecules generating vacuum energy in the universe
    We need an advanced surveillance camera to detect things smaller than quarks
    As well as the search for a new way to destroy the quarks
    In order to discover the gravitational particles responsible for the vacuum energy
    Please provide these questions and suggestions to the research team in Physics and Technology

  7. Great info!

    Oh, the Baltimore comment was counterproductive. The city has some of the worse zip codes in the country. Pretending it is a great city does a disservice to the people in this zip codes that need help.

  8. As an incoming undergraduate physics student, this video really helps! I'm unsure of the path that lies ahead of me, but with any luck I'll make it to where I want to go.

    Honestly, this channel (among many others) played a big role in my decision to pursue physics. I've always been awed by the universe and you've helped me come to realize that what I want to do in life is come to understand it.

    🙂

  9. > <…> I was no longer the smartest person in the room

    I have PhD myself and man, I can definitely relate to that "ego check" feeling of being surrounded by people so much smarter than myself.

  10. Well I will say this… The internet/technology/YouTube can make teachers obsolete… Or rather the need for them in a classroom setting … And I still think the entire system is kind of stupid…
    you have to work your ass off to get a sliver of dead tree, so you can go work your ass off to get more slivers of dead tree….
    Not to mention College just kind of feels like debt trap in itself. 😒

    Also everybody is a scientist they just don't know it…

    Essentially, life is like one giant (social) experiment…

    Everybody thinks, and after they think, they put thought into motion already having a hypothesis in mind… Just saying. 😏

  11. All those 'don'ts' – excellent. I have seen soooo many PhD students (not in astrophysics) in it for the wrong reasons and they either drop out or, if they manage to scrape a thesis together (with immense help from their peers and supervisors), end up in technical roles anyway because their hearts are just not in science and they don't have that yearning for knowledge. Great post.

  12. Dear PBS Space Time. Is Master O'Dowd still mentoring Jedi apprentices? I already own a laserpen and a bathrobe so all I need is training and guidance. May the four fundamental forces of nature be with you.

  13. 0:18 "How to become an astrophysicists" … umm, it's singular, sooo … one 's'
    1:06, 1:47, 1:57, I also felt exactly those things
    If I were looking at hiring someone with an undergrad in physics, I would look for the low GPA, and ask a few questions. A person with a high GPA may not have been challenged enough, and thus may not fully appreciate sticking with what may look like a hopeless situation. Basically, like a dog with a bone. It's a virtue many people lack. Sometimes, you have to do what you love, even if it's not a good idea
    If you know of any way of finding work based on having an undergrad in physics, let me know. Having this degree has made me less employable than a person with no degree at all.

  14. Right now i am doing engineering as my graduation program in India, but i am a lover of astronomy and i aspire to become an astrophysicist, what should be my next set of plans to get closer to my goals after i am done with engineering???

  15. Hi, i really want to study astrophysics. I hope you can link me some useful websites that could probably help me, please.

  16. I'm currently a high school math teacher. While I don't want to become an astrophysicist, I enjoy learning about astrophysics (and consider it to be my "intellectual hobby"). Thanks for making these videos so that I can have a better understanding of this fascinating field!

  17. I have a doubt regarding the fact that even light can not escape the gravitational field of blackhole
    Photons have 0 mass hence they shouldnt feel gravity
    Isn't it

  18. Dude why only antiparticle(AP) is generated inside event horizon and not particle. Like if particle happens to be inside EH and AP outside, then hawkings radiation may not be required and information is not lost..like whats stoping this to happen?

  19. This work hard and get your desired physics job idea is overrated. Look it up, even if you work hard and complete your phd, that doesn't mean you get your dream physics job. A large majority of the people applying to do physics research get rejected because there are so many phd graduates compared to the number of postdoctoral positions available. Keep in mind, I'm not even talking about a full time physics job, just getting a postdoctoral physics position is very difficult. After postdocs, getting a full time job is even harder. People need to think and not go for this ridiculous physics phd. Get a phd in engineering instead and focus of physics related engineering topics such as computational fluid dynamics, computational electromagnetics, multi physics simulations, control systems, signal processing, etc. This way you have a lot of job opportunities, many of which are cool and physics related. Just look up the statistics, most physics phds have to move to other industries anyways, so getting a head start and learning physics related engineering topics will qualify you for some of the coolest jobs in the planet. This sounds much better than a physics phd forcing themselves to learn coding or finance because they can't do physics as a job. Also, physicists that actually discover things and do physics research have proven to have a much higher IQ than the general public. This work hard idea might let you finish a phd but going farther in the field of physics is very luck based. If your grades slip a little, which happens to most people in such a difficult field, getting the physics job is even harder. People should learn extra physics in their own time if they're curious about it. The world we live in isn't the 1800s or 1900s and science isn't as open to anyone as it once might've been.

  20. I'm 14 years old, and i am so interested in physics, astrophysics looks really nice it's one of my dream job, i hope to become an astrophysicist in the future

  21. Currently in my second year of astrophysics undergrad taking astrophysics 1, EM physics and calculus 3…. watching this is making me rethink my life choices 😂🤦🏾‍♂️

  22. Why do I feel like there's insufficient information in the question…? Is there a written version of this question somewhere, like the website or something? I've watched the videos, done the math. I reached a number, but I'm not too confident I'm right.

  23. #10 years from now… Will edit this comment exactly 10 years later to update what I've accomplished…. Today I'm just a high school graduate about to join a University 3 months later for BSc Physics.

    Wish me luck!

  24. Ok, this bugs me as hell. Why do all the planets at 0:35 orbit at the same frequency? I think the illustrator needs a crash course in celestial mechanics. Or, spend some time with Kerbal Space Program 😉

  25. Great video, these are indeed very typical paths and dilemmas if you want to become a scientist in any field, not just astrophysics.

  26. I love learning and space, but don't picture myself being an AstroPhysicists or anything of the such. That being said, I do plan on getting multiple degrees in the sciences. For someone who just wants to learn, and isn't on the level of even knowing where to start solving the bonus questions you have, where should/could I go to keep learning about astro-physics or physics in general?

  27. A real prospective scientist loves the intellectual challenge, and feeds his/her intellectual curiosity. If you don't have these traits, you are not made to be a scientist, just not like everyone is meant to be just as good as lionel messi or Ronaldo. Be honest with yourself and find your passion and turn it in to a career.

  28. I'm 46 and a career welfare bum (no job since 2006). That's good enough for me. And even if it weren't switching career fields at my age just doesn't happen very often (though switching employers might). I think I'll keep physics on my list of hobbies.

  29. I'm a 3rd year physics undergrad in Pennsylvania. I had to stop out last semester to pursue treatment/diagnosis for (among other things) idiopathic hypersomnia and RLS. These sleep disorders have made life hell for many years and my grades have suffered. C's D's and even an F in Calc 3. If I am able to make a turn around and get my grades up, do I still have any chance at getting into a PhD program? I've been in love with science since day one and physics since the 4th grade. I don't want to give up but I worry that it's too late for me.

  30. This academia stuff is too much bullshit to contend with. It's counterproductive. It doesn't achieve anything. And for-profit universities are just that. I'm sorry.

    Now, I'm a real engineer and have been for over 50 years. Though… I have no college. I don't need to be told what to learn. That's why they have libraries. And today the entire world is at your fingertips. Online degrees are rife through the industry. But it doesn't mean anything. If ya don't have a brain. Most don't. Most need to be spoonfed. Like babies. That's a heap of bullshit. God helps those who help themselves. And I'm an atheist. So it's all up to me. To educate myself. But then, I think? That's what a high IQ does for you? It provides that need to know. It provides the intelligence to seek out the information. It allows one to see into the problems. And think out of the box. That's what real engineering is all about. And sure it's also about the math. The math in which I do not possess.. I have no mathematical aptitude. So how can I be an engineer? Because I am an artist engineer. And artists are different. We create things, differently. We don't go by the mathematical formulas or the textbooks. We go by feeling. By instinct. By knowing what we know. It's a strange thing. Being intelligent. Nothing makes any sense when you're intelligent. Because most people don't make any sense. As, too many believe in, fairy tales. Making up scenarios not based upon facts. But based upon ignorance. Where religion frequently clouds, thinking. As anybody who believes in religion has been thoroughly brainwashed. And their opinions mean nothing. Because they are based upon spooky untrue facts that aren't. And that causes grave problems. Where we need a lot of graves. And certainly not Peter. He's dead. He was good while he lasted. But I digress.

    Intelligence is as intelligence, does.
    RemyRAD

  31. What jobs can help with astrophysics that are not being an astrophysicist preferably? Specifically ones that don't require PHDs.

  32. Here's the math answer to the challenge question that I know can't be what you're looking for.

    It's exactly the same. You have an infinite expanse of universes. There's a certain density of universes formed every second. After one second, an infinite number of universes are formed. After two seconds, still an infinity. And so on. Since there's nothing about this process that would prevent a bijection in the sets of all universes (there's nothing that makes it go from say countable to uncountable), the number of universes has not increased.

  33. I thought about doing science university and high level studies. But I needed money so I chose an engineer job. I don't regret this choice, I have now a nice life and I still learn, study and spread science. Thanks to you 😉
    I will not be surprised if on my 60's I go back to university benches to use my retirement to help science and satisfy my own curiosity. And learn how to help to share eat and vulgarize it with your maestria 🙂

  34. I’m 17 and really have a passion to become a astrophysicist but feel like the opportunity won’t come to me no matter how hard/good I try

  35. Many people tell me that astrophysics is HARD AND IMPOSSIBLE TO GO ON TO JOBS…..and this video motivated me to keep going

  36. I learned a long time ago that I have no business doing anything in a high level academic field of any kind because, until medical science can increase learning speed and memory capability, I have no aptitude for any of it.  I can't memorize to save my life.  I always remember the method to help you remember something and not what it's supposed to help me remember, for example.

  37. I am 16 at the moment so I still have time, but way less than feel comfortable with. I have been interested in astronomy for quite a while, but I love Chemistry and I take max hours of all sciences (chem, physics and bio) but I am not the best in math , which makes this whole process of getting in to uni a lot harder. I am very sure that I want get a bachelor in chemistry at Groningen university in the Netherlands, they also have a option to combine it with astronomy. This does (just like other sciences) require math B (harder than A), but since I am not the best at math I was not even allowed to take math B (which I could not have kept up with anyway). the thing is: I took max hours bio to compensate for my lack of math B, this most likely would work for a chem bachelor because they 100% require chem and physics. this little switcheroo will probably not work for astronomy which sucks, its not that I have a problem with the maths in physics ( for now) and i’m even the best student in physics. Astronomy/ astrochemistry would be awesome but maths plays a big role… not sure if it would even make sense to attempt getting in to those courses. Very unfortunate to see how such little things I thought would not care (maths…) have such big effects on my future I really hate the decisions 12 year old me made…

    If anyone would share their opinion it would be greatly appreciated.

    -hopefully soon to be Chem/ astronomy student

    Thomas

  38. I've always been really interested in Engineering, mechanical and electrical, as well as Astrophysics and have always been somewhat worried of not having the time available to do both. Are there opportunities for these to cross over in the industry (by this I don't mean engineers and astrophysicists working together) and if so are these very niche positions or roles or is fairly common place? I find it incredibly difficult choosing between two areas of interest especially when I see them very closely linked.

  39. Thats a hard-pass from me! I want a PhD, and as long as I can make a decent subsistence, the pay isn’t important. But the theory and math in Astro are too much for me. I’ve done 1050-Calc 2, advanced Static systems and demographic statistics/ large data compilation methodologies. Thats quite enough mathematics for me, thank you very much.

  40. I'm doing Master of Science in theoretical particle physics and I'm sure I don't want to do the PhD. Or at least not at university, maybe at some company.. Because of the money 😛

  41. Very simply put did you know that 'particles' have something that could be considered as been a historical hierarchy? This is a very important concept in Render Mechanics that you know nothing about. It is the next science above Quantum Physics and you have never heard about it. Historical hierarchy allows the User to execute Particle Retrieval and you have no idea what I'm talking about. You have been taught lies my friend. Eventually, Aleph-Tav willing, you'll understand my ramblings.

  42. I do want to but I dont wanna live in poverty with that much intelligence. And if you try to say that's not true, please prove me wrong. Obviously this guy gets paid because of YouTube ads. Other astrophysicists eat pizza every night and live in tiny apartments.

  43. I love the feeling of being the dumbest in the room. The challenge to acquire and utilize knowledge is overwhelmingly intoxicating.

  44. This was a great video and have only made me more determined to apply for phd studies until I get a position! I’m in the field of Astrophysicist but in Machine learning/HPC/computational biology. But I really felt that the video resonated with me as well. I love the unraveling the deeper connections between gens and proteins and applying my knowledge in machine learning to help me with that. When I am working on problems I feel like I’m doing something important not necessarily to humanity but to my self and that’s what drives me to works towards the solution.

  45. In my opinion, “Reasons to become: 2nd clause” is the ultimate reason, if you have what it takes, to have a significant role on humanity getting past the great filter, which is the ultimate goal of our lives.

  46. Grad school for 6-8 years. Two post docs minimum 6-10 yrs.. Finally find a job at a community college or a university if you are REALLY lucky.. Tenure track?? HA ha ha ha ha ha.. Become a software coder to pay the bills. Or a rock star… Or go into public outreach as a couple friends did.

  47. Does that little solar system animation in the beginning really have all the planets orbiting with the same period regardless of distance from the star? 😝

  48. Great episode, very relatable. About to finish a PhD, at the “get it done stage” in the life sciences and deciding on my first post doc. Definitely relate to the burnt out feeling and wondering what the future holds 👍

  49. Could it be possible that inflaton field is stuck now on a much lower energy level than the big bang and produces the effects of dark energy.

  50. I've always held an interest in physics, the cosmos, and knowing how things work. Math is a subject I have enjoyed too, because I think using logic to solve various problems is quite fun (puzzle solving, that is). The before-mentioned reasons are only a few which had driven me to attend college at the ripe age of 35 in pursuit of an astrophysics degree (currently 37yo). Being older, I have felt out of place, and I was unsure of how to label that feeling. Now, I have identified that label as, "imposter syndrome", due to your video, and it helps affirm my abilities to achieve what I've set my mind to.

    I do not want to imagine myself doing anything else other than what I am doing now- pursing a field in astrophysics. I desire to be a part of a community contributing towards the frontier of humanity, because I feel I have much to offer it.

    My question is this for you- How does the pursuit of this field impact families (as witnessed) when an older individual (such as myself) enters it? The financial hardship of income, and displacement, is my greatest fear. Adding on to my question- Are (most, none or any of) the research positions mentioned in the climb able to offer an income sufficient enough to provide support for a family of two? (It's just me and my SO, with no desire for children). Asking my SO to give up their career, in light of my dream (especially if I cannot support them) is my second fear.

    Thank you for making a personal video about your experience. It was very informative.

  51. Some good information here for most Ph.D. programs.

    1. Research is important.
    2. Mathematic is extremely important in the STEM disciplines, but also various disciplines (geography, economics, business, etc etc)

    If I had the time, I would have answered the question using the standard model presented. I subscribe to a different model, and have even engaged in modeling the 'observation second'. Assuming observation is a force, the energy calculation changes. by adding two observation seconds, Kg * m/s^2 * m remains unchanged. Energy is the observation of the unobservable mass projected as a 2D 'time-distance' into a membrane above the surface of the unobservable mass. Decay is the point-break of mass returning to a single point on the surface of the unobservable mass's shell…. But no time rather be working on drones and bitcoin.

  52. Internet isn't working here….just the words are loading….
    So am trying to make sense out of what I see in comments ….
    Do grades in school matter
    Cause well here I never liked to study as no one taught to think
    They taught to cram
    And physics is my life…I don't care how hard it is
    If I become insane studying it
    But yes I want to be a cosmologist

    Hey I can post comments…..
    Weird….what is the challenge question?
    I really wanna get caught up And watch all the videos

  53. Thanks Matt.  Great video.  I will forward it to my physics grad son who looking where to go with his career (currently on temporary assignment at LANL).

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