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How can I find internships in astrophysics research i am a CSE engineering student?

I want to become an astrophysicist and would like to find internships to pursue during summers while out of college. Also any other kinds of physics research would be nice as well. I am presently enrolled into Engineering (CSE) 2nd year but I always wanted to be an astrophysist , due to various pressures I am in that cource , but i seroiusly want to be an astrophysict and and want to pursue my passion , is there any possibility ..? please do help...#physics #astrophysics #science #astronomy https://www.careervillage.org/questions/83278/how-can-i-find-internships-to-get-ahead-in-astrophysics-research Can you help? #desperate#guidence

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George’s Answer

Does the institution you attend have a physics or astrophysics department? If so I would head over that way and talk to someone in that department. They may be able to provide advice and suggest courses to see if you will enjoy it. They would also be the best resource to know where the internships are and the requirements needed to qualify. If this really is your passion and second year you may be able to switch directions with minimal changes.

Personally I changes from Computer Engineering to Computer Science in my 2nd or 3rd year. It required taking a step back, but also gave a different set of choices needed to graduate. If you find you are not enjoying what you are doing now, it may be easier in the long run to switch early. A lot of the general courses will be the same regardless of track.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer Mr George , I see that the institute does not have the astrophysics department , though it has a physics department an undergrad in physics does not exists here, I do really want to make the call early but Iam not able to take any step forward for this means , I accept that it was late to understand my calling I sincerely owe myself an apology for making things go out of hand , can you please get me directed in the right way possible . If you require me mentioning about my college and other related details I surely will M K.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer Mr George , I see that the institute does not have the astrophysics department , though it has a physics department an undergrad in physics does not exists here, I do really want to make the call early but Iam not able to take any step forward for this means , I accept that it was late to understand my calling I sincerely owe myself an apology for making things go out of hand , can you please get me directed in the right way possible . If you require me mentioning about my college and other related details I surely will M K.
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Pankaj’s Answer

Sorry to resurrect this question after a year, but I thought I could add a useful answer. As someone who's been in the same boat, I can certainly understand how you're feeling. A lot of the advice below is based on my own experience of finding something in astronomy that makes me happy, but it might serve as a starting point to help you find other options. Sorry also that this has turned into an essay, but I hope it gives you some useful advice. Finally sorry that it doesn't directly answer your question of getting internships in astrophysics, but it answers the broader question of how to get into astrophysics with degree in computer engineering.

First of all, I would like you to know that switching fields during and after an undergraduate is completely normal, and there is no need to feel sorry for "not figuring things out in time" if there is ever such a thing. However, also know that the switch would require effort on your part. In particular, it would require a lot of self-study, self-motivation, and independent effort. You would need to catch up on some basic physics and math background so you can understand the really cool things that are happening in astronomy. Being able to independently study and work towards one's goal is a skill that takes time and effort to master, but its a key requirement for working as a researcher, so if that's your aim then this would help you go a long way. If not, then know that working independently is useful as a general life skill too.

I would suggest aiming to get into a Master's program in astronomy/astrophysics. Since you're from India, I would suggest considering the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), and other institutes. All of these universities accept a bachelor's in engineering (including CSE). You might also be able to pursue a distance learning Masters in Astrophysics, IGNOU might have some options, be sure to check them out. If you can afford to spend more towards the degree, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in the UK has a distance learning Masters program where they accept students from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds, and provide opportunities to learn astrophysics and also get research experience. I am currently enrolled in this degree and highly recommend it. It does cost a lot more than IGNOU though. Swinburne University in Australia also offers a distance learning astronomy Masters. In general, pursuing a 1-2 year Master's degree in Astrophysics will expose you to the field, and help you decide whether you want to continue with a Ph.D. A Ph.D. is required for most jobs in astrophysics, but a Masters's will give you other opportunities, for instance, to work as a telescope operator, or work at a planetarium or a museum in the science communication and outreach department. A degree in astronomy will also open you up to roles in instrumentation, programming, data science, etc, all of which are in huge demand these days. For more information, see https://aas.org/careers/career-in-astronomy

To help you prepare for the master's degree, and also for any entrance exams that you might need to clear, it would be helpful to get a background in basic physics as I mentioned. There is A LOT of online content that you can use for this. I would suggest a couple of resources - 1) Walter Lewin's courses on physics, see https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiEHVhv0SBMpP75JbzJShqw 2) Leonard Susskind’s "Theoretical Minimum" is a set of courses designed for people wanting to do physics but don’t have the background http://theoreticalminimum.com/ . You might find others that suit you, including, for instance, NPTEL lectures. Whichever content you choose, make sure to grab a textbook to read along with it, and more importantly SOLVE THE PROBLEMS at the end of the chapter. This is the only way to really drill the content in your head and make you appreciate the topic. Walter Lewin’s courses also have an exam associated with them. You pretty much only need the basic physics courses for astronomy (classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, special relativity (usually included with electromagnetism) and a little bit of quantum mechanics) but you are of course free to learn the more advanced fun topics if they invoke your curiosity. Just know that you should set yourself a deadline if your aim to pursue a degree so that you can clear the entrance exams required to get into the universities. Give yourself enough time to prepare, depending on your skills and motivation. A 1-year may work for you, or it may be too tight. A 2-year timespan would generally work for many people.

You can also get a flavor of how it is like to work with an astrophysicist before starting a Master’s. If you have time, I would highly recommend volunteering to work with a researcher in astronomy. I did this and it has helped me immensely. Its a win for them because they get a helping hand for free. Its also a win for you because you get to experience what its like to do research, what are some real problems that astronomers are interested in working. You will also form connections and get to know other people in the field, and find even more interesting opportunities that way. Finally, if you can establish a good rapport with the researcher you work for, he/she will likely write you a letter of recommendation which will greatly increase your chances of getting into a Master’s program. Try to find some researchers at universities/organizations whose work you find interesting. Shoot them an email, introducing yourself, talking about your interests, and offering your services. Send emails to as many professors as you want so you have a higher chance of getting a positive reply, and don’t feel dejected if professors say no. There are also communities out there that welcome volunteers, you can look into them. For instance, if you have programming experience, check out astropy (https://www.astropy.org/). I know someone who had a computer engineering background who worked with astropy and is now doing a Ph.D. in astrophysics. If you are interested in machine learning, Deep Skies is a community I am currently involved with that uses machine learning and AI to solve problems in astrophysics (https://deepskieslab.com/).

Finally, know that there are definitely ways to get involved in astronomy without a degree. Amateur astronomy and astrophotography are a huge hobbies and you’ll find A LOT of passionate people just like you. Try and find an amateur astronomy association in your local area or region. I know that Jaipur has one called Amateur Astronomers’ Society (https://www.facebook.com/AASJaipur/) and Pune has one called Akashmitra (https://astronomerswithoutborders.org/my-awb/our-current-affiliates/network.html?id=500). These organizations will also help you connect with other astronomers, both amateur and professional, and would help fulfill your interest while also honing your skills.

I hope this answer was helpful at least in some way. If a lot of this sounds like real hard work, try to find something that keeps you motivated. For me, it was the self-realization that I would rather do a little bit of this every day than spend all my time on mindless activities like Netflix and social media. I also realized that if make bit by bit progress, I would eventually achieve a lot of and one day reach my goals. These were the things that worked for me. You might find something else to work for you, so go find it and use that as a starting point for your journey. Good luck!!

Pankaj recommends the following next steps:

Look for Master's degree options
Brush up on your physics background (using the Internet)
Consider volunteering with researchers
Get involved with amateur astronomy organizations
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