Skip to main content
2 answers
2
Asked 342 views Translate

what do you have to do to be an astrophysicist

I am #any interested in #astrophysics and #visualarts

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

2

2 answers


1
Updated Translate

Demitri’s Answer

Be ready to go all in and go to grad school to get your PhD if your passion is science or space travel. You will need more than a BSc because there are almost no career options in astrophysics apart from teaching if all you have is a Bachelor's degree. Make plenty of connections to professors and grad students while working for your BSc and learn about what it took them to get on the path they are taking in life, because they can offer some of the best advice.

If you dip your feet in and are not 100% confident in your path, then it helps to have dabbled in technical skills that are used in astrophysics during your undergraduate training. For example, machine learning and data science are used in processing and analyzing data collected from instruments, e.g. using k-means clustering to classify stars or galaxies, and data science / ML are becoming far more common in the tech industry as well.

If your passion isn't so much tied to the study or exploration of space but in how the universe works, applied physics or pure physics as a major will expose you to laboratory skills and technologies that are also useful in non-academic careers.
1
0
Updated Translate

Joseph’s Answer

Demitri's is a great answer. The vast majority of astrophysics jobs require the full academic progression through undergraduate physics (eg BSc) into a PhD; so you need to focus on your science and mathematics studies to get good grades, and start researching where you might want to study that has interesting sounding programs for physics with an astro specialism.

He's also spot on that a physics major is great for transferable skills even if your plan changes as you learn more. I personally started off wanting to go into astrophysics, but by the 3rd year of my Physics with Astrophysics BSc, I was finding the astrophysics-specific courses to be a little too abstract to get a good understanding of them, so didn't feel up to going onto PhD studies. There were a few astro-related jobs I looked at that only needed the BSc (things like telescope technicians and satellite systems engineers), but they were very hotly competed for.
However, I found I had enjoyed some of the nuclear physics I'd learned about, and found things I'd learned about sensors and instrumentation for astrophysical measurements could be applied to other fields, so ended up moving into industry working on nuclear instrumentation instead.

The question also mentions visual arts. That's an interesting combination. There's probably not a great deal of overlap - now we have better real images, it's a lot less common to need "artists impression of" kind of images in astrophysics. However, learning some of the technical details of digital image manipulation from visual arts likely has some uses for processing astronomical image data.
0