Thursday, June 24, 2010

Any Buyer's Remorse For Majoring In Physics? (Not Really.)

The graphic below says it all.  Nearly everyone who majored in physics would do it all over again if they could. (Even the unemployed).

I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts for why this is?  


  1. because knowledge is power. .. or knowing is half the battle. or..... more knowledge never = bad. Even if you end up unemployed and can't use it right away. It has changed fundamentally who you are and your perspective of the world and suddenly ignorance becomes painful and scary and unknown. We humans shy from what we don't know. Let's face it. Our existence without the knowledge we've changed and grown from over the years is an unknown to us. We prefer the status quo once we've gotten to it. ick. This comment is almost incomprehensible the way I wrote it. sorry.

  2. Theresa,

    Your comment made perfect sense. Yes, there is great satisfaction in having a wealth of knowledge. One day that knowledge is bound to pay off.

  3. I agree with Theresa - once you really understand forces and acceleration you can never look at life the same way again. Physics is a very intellectually satisfying field - it's challenging, applicable to real life, and provides clear, falsifiable answers (most of the time anyway). And it really does an excellent job building problem solving and logical analysis skills that are applicable to a wide range of fields.

    I would love to see that same graph for humanities majors. :)

  4. "falsifiable answers (most of the time anyway)"

    Ouch. I'm assuming your were referring to condensed matter physicists? :)

  5. Great post. I agree that understanding how things work is very satisfying to my life. The only problem I have is that I want to know how EVERYTHING works, not just my particular field. In that sense, sometimes I do have regrets. Sometimes I'm not sure how passionate I am about engineering anymore. Sometimes I'm bored with it. Sometimes I think, if I had to do it all over again, I might choose psychology (a kind of science).

    I waffle back and forth between wanting to know something about everything and wanting to know everything about something!


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