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What's a career field that incorporates physics and computer science?

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I'm a rising senior in high school and I am interested in physics, calculus, and computer science. I don't know what I want to do in college but I do want to double major. What are some careers that incorporate this? Is it a good idea to double major in physics and computer science? Or is there something else I should major in?
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Frank’s Answer

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CS & Physics sounds like an awesome combo to me! You can combine them in so many ways, depending on your specific interest and abilities. For example, did you know that there are rocket launches occurring nearly weekly over dozens of countries across the globe? You can combine the two to assist in the design, launch process, navigation, and sustainability of launches and space exploration, how exciting is that?! You can also work in structural design, using computers to simulate load-bearing structures, force vector distribution, and best materials for construction at effective costs. Our world now runs on electricity, how that gets generated in cost-effective quantities, delivered, and produced without excessive carbon footprint or emission again requires physics and computer analysis / simulations. Water hydrology and providing clean and ecologically sound water supplies. These are just a few ideas that come to mind, there are many more that will make an impact on everyday life and our ability to do so much more! Even within CS there are various disciplines: Product / Program Manager, Software Architect, Developer, Quality / Test Engineer, Usability Designers. The key is to take the courses required, see which you enjoy the most and do best at, and look for internship or job opportunities that will allow you to apply those skills in practice. And "no worries" about making "wrong choices," as it's often a discovery process - where you will learn what works for you and what doesn't! Be patient and stick with it, you'll do great!

Frank recommends the following next steps:

  • Meet with a course advisor at your school or college to understand the education path necessary.
  • Participate in programming or physics "meet ups" on-line or in person, check out meetup.com for local groups.
  • Code a personal project and make it available as open source software on GitHub, Bitbucket, or sourceforge.net.
  • Apply for CS or Physics Internships. Companies often start taking applications in February for Spring or Summer opportunities.
  • Join a Physics or Computer Club at school - or start one!
Thank you so much for your advice! This was extremely helpful!! Dilara S. Translate
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Justin’s Answer

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A hot field that will always need more work is radio frequency related, that definitely incorporates both physics and computer science. Cell communication (5G is the current being deployed), the next generation of wifi, the next version of bluetooth, the thing that replaces bluetooth. People will always want better, stronger, more reliable wireless connections for their devices. Before CS was a thing many of the classic computer scientists had degrees in physics, so you're not far off the mark here. Material sciences might also be another option, though the downside of that one is probably fewer jobs available.
Hi Dilara, A more general view on Justin's answer: computer science will always have an area related to physical devices. With miniaturisation staying strong those physical devices will more and more rely on smaller components, which require deeper knowledge of physics / material sciences. Also more and more physical devices will software controlled (e.g. antennas). You write that you are interested in physics, calculus, and computer science. What precisely is it that interests you? Is it more the abstract / theoretical parts, or hand-on parts/physical phenomena, or? Michiel Hamberg Translate
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Sydney’s Answer

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I'm majoring in Computer Engineering and I would say Electrical Engineers are closely related to us.
In both fields at my college, you must learn how to code, thus the CS aspect of what you were desiring.
But, you must also know physics and have good skills in mathematics. I don't know if this fully answered your question but I know I used my content and passion for CS to help determine that I wanted to be a Computer Engineer.
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Emily’s Answer

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As a lab tech we use both of these in our day to day work. Instruments all use physics to measure some sort of quality of the sample. Then computer science is used to interface with a computer program or within the actual instrument to give a reportable number. I have always told myself I will go take more physics courses so one day I can invent one of the lab instruments we use daily.

If someone were to invent a new measuring capability, the potential for monetary reward is very big.

Physics is a very exciting field I believe 3D printing also lines up with computer science and physics. 3D printing is not going to go away. That is a growing field at my job (Dow Chemical) and many other companies as well. Seimens is one company that uses physics and computer science. They give scholarships also so check into that.
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Emily’s Answer

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As a lab tech we use both of these in our day to day work. Instruments all use physics to measure some sort of quality of the sample. Then computer science is used to interface with a computer program or within the actual instrument to give a reportable number. I have always told myself I will go take more physics courses so one day I can invent one of the lab instruments we use daily.

If someone were to invent a new measuring capability, the potential for monetary reward is very big.

Physics is a very exciting field I believe 3D printing also lines up with computer science and physics. 3D printing is not going to go away. That is a growing field at my job (Dow Chemical) and many other companies as well. Seimens is one company that uses physics and computer science. They give scholarships also so check into that.
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