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AcademicGround >> Rate Sciences- difficulty/ employ


12/9/07 3:36 PM
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Gortiz
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Edited: 09-Dec-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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I happen to be speaking with an undergrad at NYU, who was showing me her astronomy notes. I asked her why she didn't take earth science or chemistry for her science requirement (she's a film student), and she said "This was supposed to be the easiest." Interesting. How would you guys rate the sciences by difficulty, and why? Also, which science degrees would make you the most attractive and give you the most options re: employment? I know someone who was a double major in both astronomy and astrophysics, and seems to be having difficulty finding a job in her field (in NJ).
12/12/07 12:26 PM
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Ted Bennett
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Edited: 12-Dec-07
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Also, which science degrees would make you the most attractive and give you the most options re: employment?

Not sure if this would be better classified as a science or as engineering, but at most universities I've been associated with, chemical engineers who scraped by and graduated with a meager 2.0 had more job offers than they could handle, and at salary levels higher than anything I've ever seen for a simple undergrad degree.

Joke on a T-shirt worn by one of my old patients who happened to be a chem. engineer:

"Question: Why are there always people in Smith Hall (the chem. E building)?"

"Answer: Hell is currently full, Smith Hall is handling the backlog."  :-P

12/12/07 10:02 PM
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Gortiz
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Edited: 12-Dec-07
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AAGGHH!!!! I got the wrong Bachelor's Degree! (Also in the wrong Grad. program, LOL!)
2/5/08 10:48 AM
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rls99
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Edited: 05-Feb-08
Member Since: 07/19/2005
Posts: 27
Sounds like this astronomy course is like Physics 100, aka Physics for poets. I'm sure NYU has upper division Astronomy, which would actually be a astrophysics course, and a stone-cold bitch. Science degrees for employment? Any of the engineering, esp chemical (if they offer a sub in petroleum even better). Physics is great too, you'll be working for engineering companies. Most of the others will require grad work to be marketable. At the bottom, biology. For you bio majors, don't get pissed, I was a bio/cs major.
2/12/08 4:06 AM
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P.V.Jena
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Edited: 12-Feb-08
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Physics undergrad isn't very useful though. Engineering undergrad on the other hand is a great way to get into the job market. Almost all the top physics undergrads I know are now toiling away in grad school, I'm in my third year myself.
2/12/08 8:12 PM
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P.V.Jena
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Edited: 12-Feb-08
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http://www.aip.org/statistics/ Starting bachelors salaries are at 45k for private STEM, 30 k for private non STEM, 25k for College or University
2/13/08 1:41 AM
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Revolver of Reason
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Edited: 13-Feb-08
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mathematics, physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology. that's rating based on the mathiness of the course.
2/13/08 9:25 AM
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ChangoBravo
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Edited: 13-Feb-08
Member Since: 01/14/2008
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I received a dual degree in Bio-Chemistry and Physics. Even with a less than stellar GPA(3.45) I was highly recruited by research firms, Government agencys, military, and was accepted into Medical School. Many non-science majors often take Geology(Rocks for Jocks) or Astronomy(Stargazing 101). These are often far easier at the 100 level than Chem or Bio Or Physics. However I am convinced that they become as difficult at the 400 level as any other science. Chango
2/13/08 7:48 PM
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Gortiz
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Edited: 13-Feb-08
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The astronomy I took didn't even deal much with constellations; mostly basic physics.
2/16/08 1:09 PM
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asdf
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Edited: 16-Feb-08
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They're all hard. Physics and Math have the reputation for hardest. EE/CS and ChemE have the reputation for next up. Materials Science Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Geology, and Civil engineering have the reputation for being softest. An old joke I saw in school Limit ChemE major as GPA -> 2.0 = Industrial engineering major
2/18/08 10:17 PM
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BMHavu
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Edited: 18-Feb-08
Member Since: 04/18/2007
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What that list doesnt tell you is how rapidly pay increases over time, really ought to look into that too. Chemical engineering may have the largest starting pay but it doesnt have quite the increase over time that other areas do.
2/21/08 5:08 PM
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Alabama Man
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Edited: 21-Feb-08
Member Since: 05/04/2006
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i have a math m.s. physics m.s. and math undergrad. i'm interview with a bank in a few days around 40k
2/22/08 11:04 AM
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rls99
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Edited: 22-Feb-08
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mathematics, physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology. that's rating based on the mathiness of the course. Biology: The last refuge of the mathematically incompetent scientist.
2/23/08 12:16 AM
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Revolver of Reason
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Edited: 23-Feb-08
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depends on what subfield. Animal population study, etc. is statistics city. Same with genetics.
2/24/08 7:32 PM
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asdf
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Edited: 24-Feb-08
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^^^ Yes, but so are some branches of sociology or other social sciences. They're not as hard as physics. Statistics are way easier to do than math proofs or complex numbers.
2/24/08 7:40 PM
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BMHavu
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Edited: 24-Feb-08
Member Since: 04/18/2007
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^I've never even heard my physics professors say physics is the hardest science. The nice thing about physics is there are a minimal amount of equations to use for the same type of problems. Physics is really tier 1 of the pyramid when it comes to science. Tier 2 being chemistry, and 3 biology. In order to be a good physicist you need to know physics. In order to be a good chemist you need to know physics, and chemistry, and for bio you need physics, chem, and bio. That being said, theres not really a huge correlation between mathematics and science in general. Mathematics and engineering however, thats another story.
2/24/08 10:36 PM
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Revolver of Reason
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Edited: 24-Feb-08
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"That being said, theres not really a huge correlation between mathematics and science in general." the irony of a physicist saying this boggles my mind.
2/24/08 10:55 PM
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asdf
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Edited: 24-Feb-08
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^^ profile says Civil engineering student. Must not be a grad student. Physics is a ton of math. And physicists routinely think of themselves of top of the food chain, just maybe not your physicist profs. I have a chem undergrad major. We had to take a quarter of quantum mechanics. The physics version was way harder. Take the "particle in a box" problem. The physicist version starts with the exp(ikx) general solution. Our (chem) version dumbed it down to a sine function because the book was afraid we would get lost with complex numbers. And our book author was right.
2/25/08 12:10 AM
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BMHavu
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Edited: 25-Feb-08
Member Since: 04/18/2007
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The level of mathematics used in the sciences is not really what I would consider extremely difficult. Granted I am a civil engineering major, and only needed 2 semesters of physics and a semester of chemistry I would have to say chemistry is the harder of the two. Perhaps quantum physics is a different story. There is very little other than basic differentiation and integration that is required for the fundamentals of most sciences. Maybe you could let me know what beyond that is required for physics? Linear algebra? Differential Equations? I guess if you get far enough into it, as with any of the sciences, it will get more complicated. Saying anyone is more difficult than the other is fairly subjective. You think physics is harder than chemistry, I think chemistry is terrible. Every individual has things they're better at than others. Balancing chemical equations is a lot more of a pain in the ass to me than resolving forces or ohms law. To each his own.
2/25/08 1:49 AM
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P.V.Jena
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Edited: 25-Feb-08
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"Saying anyone is more difficult than the other is fairly subjective." I don't know how true that is. For example, at a large undergraduate school: 1) What do undergrads have a harder time with, physics, chemistry or biology? 2) Which courses need the TA's the most? 3) Which courses need the most number of hours put in?
2/25/08 7:06 AM
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BMHavu
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Edited: 25-Feb-08
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Most undergraduates I know will say chemistry is the hardest, but maybe thats because were civil engineers and more of what we do uses physics and not chemistry. If I remember correctly there were roughly 20 TA's for chemistry, and I only know of 7 or 8 that are physics TA's. Again, physics never took me long, I took statics courses before I took physics, which made it fairly easy to get through. Ask anyone in any respective one of those majors and most of them will likely tell you they think their major makes more sense than the others. It's all what clicks with you personally. For me chemistry is way to small scale, and I have little to no interest in it, and thats what makes it difficult to learn.
2/25/08 5:33 PM
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asdf
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Edited: 25-Feb-08
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"Saying anyone is more difficult than the other is fairly subjective." I agree w/PV Jena that this isn't true. Maybe on a one person scale, but not on a scale of a college. "Maybe you could let me know what beyond that is required for physics? Linear algebra? Differential Equations?" Quantum mechanics uses a lot of linear algebra and some complex variables. Stat mech uses probability . Classical mechanics uses diff eq. Then there's some deriving equations, which you don't do as much in engineering. "Again, physics never took me long, I took statics courses before I took physics," What is the highest level of physics you've taken? Are you really comparing statics to the rest of physics? If you were taking graduate quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics (or even undergrad versions of these classes), I don't think you'd say physics is that easy. And if you did, you'd be unique.
2/25/08 7:04 PM
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BMHavu
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Edited: 25-Feb-08
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As I said, my major requires only 2 semesters of fundamental physics, which is all that I have taken. I have no need to know any quantum mechanics. My comment: The fundamentals of physics are much simpler than the fundamentals of chemistry or biology. That's my opinion, and the prevailing opinion at my University. I have not gone in depth in any of the sciences, what I am saying is at the intermediate undergraduate level physics is much easier to visualize and understand. In the end it doesn't really matter much to me. The only thing I have a use for physics in is primarily transportation engineering, which primarily uses only basic physics equations (acceleration and so on). In structural analysis, statics, mechanics of materials and so on all you'll use from physics is the basic idea of resolving force/torsion and using free body diagrams (albeit at a much more intense level). The application of chemistry in civil engineering lies in the environmental aspect, which in all honesty I know little about and will not be pursuing. So no I am not the foremost expert in the sciences, but from the general exposure I have had in each of them I will always consider physics the easiest to comprehend. I will continue to say that for each individual certain things are much easier to understand than others, and that trend in individuals does correlate to the university as a whole.
2/26/08 8:16 AM
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asdf
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Edited: 26-Feb-08
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"intermediate undergraduate level physics is much easier to visualize and understand." Intermediate undergrad physics isn't statics and E+M. Intermediate undergrad physics is stat. mech and quantum mechanics. Do an experiment: find a chem friend and a physics friend who are juniors. Look at their quantum mechanics textbooks (chem will be part of physical chemistry). See for yourself as to which is harder. "The fundamentals of physics are much simpler than the fundamentals of chemistry or biology...from the general exposure I have had in each of them I will always consider physics the easiest to comprehend." I think the real fundamentals of physics are a crapload of math. That's why it's hard. Maybe you mean 'physics 101 and 102 are easier than chem 101 and 102'. That might be true.
2/26/08 8:19 AM
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asdf
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Edited: 26-Feb-08 08:25 AM
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I cut+paste below the requirements for a physics major at MIT, which is as good a school as any http://web.mit.edu/physics/undergrad/majors/degreereqs.html. As you can (hopefully) see, it does not have a lot to do with F=ma or E+M. 8.03 Physics III (vibrations and waves) 18.03 or 18.034 Differential Equations 8.033 Relativity 8.04 Quantum Mechanics I 8.044 Statistical Physics I 8.05 Quantum Mechanics II 8.06* CI-M Quantum Mechanics III 8.13* CI-M Experimental Physics I 8.14 Experimental Physics II 8.ThU Thesis (12 units) + 3 physics electives

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