Sunday, November 21, 2010

Choosing a career path...

Thanks - Oct 20 2:11PM

Dr. Syphers,

Our names are Brendan, Larry and George, and we are students at [...]. We all have enjoyed physics and mathmetics since we can remember and are very excited to learn more about physics.

Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to help us learn and entering the Adopt-a-Physicist this year.

Re: Thanks - Oct 20 7:19PM

It's good to hear from you guys at [...]. I hope you are having fun in school. What year are you all in? Juniors? Seniors?


Re: Re: Thanks - Oct 26 2:07PM

We are definetly having fun in school and expecially physics. All three of us are currently seniors and will graduate this year. We are looking forward to your response on our last posting!

Teaching Physics - Oct 22 1:50PM

Dr. Syphers,

What made you want to become a professor in Physics? Is there something about it more rewarding to you than any other physics occupation?

Thank you,

Brendan, Larry, and George

Re: Teaching Physics - Oct 26 2:17PM

Hi Brendan, Larry, and George:

Sorry my response didn't get posted earlier; I wrote it the other day, but must have forgotten to press "send".

That's an interesting question. I've worked mostly at large, National Laboratories, like Fermilab and Brookhaven Lab, and I found that what I really enjoy is not only doing the research and development of accelerators and such, but that I really enjoy sharing what I've learned and working with younger people to see them learn and excel. Maybe I'm just older now and I feel that I want to "give back" a little bit, but then I guess I've always liked teaching -- it always felt natural to me.


Re: Re: Teaching Physics - Nov 08 12:52PM

Dr. Syphers

What did you do before you became a teacher? I am very interested in physics and am considering majoring in a science.



Re: Re: Re: Teaching Physics - Nov 08 6:27PM

Hi Larry,

I actually studied to become a teacher while in college, and taught High School physics for one year after college. Then, I got a job at Fermilab, where I worked as an "operator" in their Main Control Room, learning how to operate the large particle accelerators there. That got me very interested in the physics of particle beams and how the accelerators actually work. So, I went back to school -- while I still worked at Fermilab -- and got my Master's and PhD degrees. So, I ended up mostly designing and helping to construct and implement new ideas for particle accelerators. I kept teaching once in a while, though at the college level by then. And so, eventually (very recently) got a job as a college professor here at MSU.

I think no matter what science you may find interesting to pursue, physics will be a strong part of your necessary background. There are even departments of "Biophysics" now days. It's a very fundamental science.


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