Ph.D. in Physics – Theoretical Physics Vs Experimental Physics

Who doesn’t like gazing at the moon and stars at night or thinking about the various natural phenomenon that affects our life? We all have asked these questions since childhood, why the moon keeps walking with us, is it following us? Physics is related to our day-to-day life, making it an integral part of life without which we cannot answer even a single question. Even before physics evolved as a separate branch of science, it always existed. From an apple falling on the head of a sleeping man (Newton) to the concepts of drawing water from the well (pulley system), everything is physics.

If you are also a science geek and have always found your solace in the company of science, then Ph.D. in physics is the correct career choice for you. It is recommended that you pursue your Ph.D on completion of your Master’s degree in the same field. While conducting research in physics and doing experiments you surely will feel no less than standing in the shoes of Newton. After you complete your research, you can make tremendous contributions in the field of science because science never ceases to amaze us.

There are two categories in which you can pursue your career in Ph.D. in Physics.

  1. Theoretical Physics
  2. Experimental Physics
  • Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics:

Theoretical physics is the most popular field for all research scholars who are pursuing Ph.D. in Physics. Physics and mathematics go hand in hand, and nothing can separate these two. This is what excites most people to take up the subject. Due to a high demand among the physics research scholars, the competitions are high as well which results in more applications but less selection. The reason behind majority research students choosing theoretical over experimental physics is that it is important for the experimentalists to have a bit of theoretical knowledge, whereas, there is no compulsion for theorists to have any practical experience or they just enjoy crunching numbers more than performing experiments.

  • Ph.D. in Experimental Physics

If you are not very much into being stuck with a pen and paper and deriving or proving all laws on board, then experimental physics can prove to be a better future scope. You will get all the fancy apparatus that will help you solve all real life problems and the cherry on the cake is that you will have less competition, which means more options to research on.

Experimental Physics, as the name suggests, is more based on conducting experiments and recording data from those experiments. It involves data acquisition methods, conceptualization and realization of laboratory experiments.

In conclusion, Experimental Physics deals with providing data to the world which can later be analysed and understood, while Theoretical Physics deals provides explanation and thus providing insights on how to better acquire data through experiments.

Both these departments provide equally wide range of job opportunities like : Research Scientist, Product developer (Engineering/Materials/Physics),Materials Scientist, Higher Research scientist, Applications Engineer (Structural Mechanics, Physical sciences, Biomedical sciences, Nanomaterials).

These are a few points that can help you make your decision whether your interests lies in experimental physics or theoretical physics.

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