So, You Want to be an Astrophysicist?

ScienceBlogs contains a large number of useful, cogent, and entertaining blogs. One of them I was popping around on has a series of posts titled, So you want to be an Astrophysicist?

Ahhh, where was the internet when I was in High School? Oh, yes. It was called DARPA and Prodigy and Bulletin Boards…

These links are nice summations by someone who’s been-there-done-that, and the fact that he’s on ScienceBlogs automatically gives him street cred, in my opinion.


There’s a big “but” here.

All of these link boil down to:

  • Take all the math and physics courses (starting in HS)
  • Do well on them
  • Don’t get into this for the money
  • Prepare to never sleep
  • Money money money money
  • From personal experience I have a mid-sized problem with his assertion that you should go to the best school you can afford. Sitting here at my desk at home, working a professional job that pays quite well, suitably certified (or certifiable) as a professional engineer, 10 years out of college, and I’m still paying off student loans. Sure, they’re not high-interest, but the total drain on my monthly finances is significant. The end result is that I have a continous financial committment that I can not drop and go (to quote She’s All That) study squid fishing in Borneo. I’ve nailed myself to some sort of career that delivers a middle class paycheck. At times, I find that confining.

    On the other hand, if you’re passionate about what you want to do, I suppose as long as you can feed yourself, you’re good to go. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, so grad school was never a useful option for me.

    All of the comments he has regarding how to work the system of faculty and admissions are excellent. I’m sure my wife, with her doctorate would agree with most of the suggestions.

    I found no overarching linky page, so I’ll list them here:

    Part 0
    Part 1
    Part 1.5
    Part 1.75
    Part 1.99
    Part 2.0
    Part 2.5

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