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mickeykollins March 20, 2011 19:35

Careers in research and government labs
So I got admitted to a few graduate programs in Physics and Aerospace Engineering where I could do research in computational astrophysics or computational aerodynamics. I know its weird to decide between such different programs, but I like both subjects. Without considering job opportunities, I would like astrophysics more. But I don't have much intention on becoming a professor after I finish the phD, but am interested in a research career in industrial R&D (but I heard these are a dying breed), the government labs (Los Alamos, LLNL, etc), military labs (Naval research lab, AFRL, etc) or the defense industry as well. I heard that astrophysicists can get hired to do stuff like building bombs since they possess skills like using CFD.

How much of an advantage would I have in getting a job at these places with an Aerospace phD vs astrophysics? I could work on stuff like radar, etc but have a preference for the aerodynamics and heat transfer analysis
Is it important to have produced alot of publications in grad school?

andyj March 22, 2011 01:30

I can not give a definitive awnser on aero vs astro. The important thing is most likely going to be the Phd. So stick with it until you get what you want. If you have to go to 10 colleges to get one then do it. Make sure you get an M.S. at a minimum.

The real focus is going to be a replacement for the internal combustion engine..More jobs..more money..more opportunity..lots more..

that does not neccessarily mean a mech eng degree..more likely physics of some sort...device may not be primarily mechanical..possibly chemical/electronic/magnetic/hydraulic/chemical physics combo

Being able to do metalcasting of aluminum and build cad models, and operate a mill and lathe and weld is of vital importance too...electronics too

Why? You need to be able to build advanced scientific apparatus to prove that an energy generator works. You need to know about patents
also. Get to the level that you can build satellite grade equipment in your garage. Its simply too expensive to hire others to do all this for you.
You must fund your own research, cant always rely on a dept committe to approve your ideas..
the 2nd law of thermodynamics can be broken..if you know the way ..a mathematical proof is great..but a working engineering protoype is the real proof. But, you still need the math..and need to be able to produce a document about the size and scope of a dissertation in about a you need to know LaTex, how to do simple things like do a powerpoint presentation, speak publicly, make a pdf file..advanced lab graphics ect..
CaeLinux is a good starting point for some open source software..

good luck

andyj March 22, 2011 02:55

Here are a few Energy related sites on inventing:
An example of a new type engine,DOE sponsored:

A website with lots of advanced ideas, Germany, Engineering Professor
General energy news on new devices, although somewhat skeptical

and the DOE gov site, google patents.

All the sites you mentioned are doing energy research. Think energy.

If you held 10 patents backed up by 10 working protoypes, I would speculate you would be better off than having all scholarly journal articles.
But the journal articles are important as well.

andyj March 22, 2011 03:06

Here is a free 1700 page collection of Energy Generating Devices
(in PDF) :

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