[amsat-bb] Re: educational inquiry re: astrophysics

Jeff Mock jeff at mock.com
Sun Jan 6 11:45:31 PST 2008

I'm an electrical engineer, for the last couple of years I've been 
designing spectrometers for radio telescopes, mostly working on the 
radio telescope in Arecibo.  As a result I've worked with a lot of 
astronomers and astrophysicists.

I think it's a great subject to study and gives you fantastic training 
for problem solving and approaching problems from first principles. 
Unless you wind up with an academic position or a staff position at some 
facility, it seems like astrophysics is a stepping stone to figuring out 
what you really want to do, there's nothing wrong with that.  I'm 
sometimes a bit jealous that I didn't study astrophysics when I was younger.

The downside is that if you do experimental work you need to be patient. 
Some experiments are expensive and are subject to the whims of politics. 
  Arecibo has suffered cutbacks and uncertain funding largely due to the 
current administration deemphasizing investment in basic science [long 
rant removed].

If you have more specific questions you can email me off-list if you like.


Scott Townley wrote:
> My oldest daughter has expressed an interest in majoring in 
> astrophysics...and it occurred to me that perhaps there are some on the 
> list either actively or peripherally involved in this field who might be 
> able to provide some insight on, well, what exactly that is, career-wise.
> So if anyone on the list would be willing to provide some input to an 
> aspiring astrophysicist (off-list) that would be most appreciated.
> Scott Townley NX7U
> Gilbert, AZ  DM43di
> mailto:nx7u at arrl.net
> http://members.cox.net/nx7u 
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