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Thread: Lost Thread?

  1. #1
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    Lost Thread?

    There was a thread posted on this forum awhile back. I can't seem to remember the name of it but it dealt with just how many hours of study and lab time someone needs to become an astrophysicist past high school. I think someone came up with a calculation on some link, showing that about 2000 hours or more.

    Any here remember it?

  2. #2
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    I can certainly supply an estimate, though it depends a bit on the stage one defines as having become an astrophysicist. Someone with a PhD in a research position can certainly be regarded as an astrophysicist, but the first one or two such jobs are often temporary and might be regarded as trial runs to try and establish a more permanent position. But if we don't worry about how permanent the job is and say those people have become astrophysicists regardless (as nothing is ever really permanent, after all), then one might say it requires four years as an undergraduate, and perhaps six or seven years as a graduate student. The first phase will involve physics, math, and astronomy courses that are directly related to becoming an astrophysicist, though other courses are also needed for the degree. If we only count what is done directly to become an astrophysicist, and not the courses that have other goals (like well-roundedness), one might expect to require 1000 hours per year as an undergraduate (say, some 12 in-class hours and twice that out of class, for about 30 weeks a year). That's likely a minimum, some will decide to spend even more. So it's probably anywhere from 3000 to 5000 hours just at the undergraduate level, not counting other courses. Then as a graduate student, there is about half that much time related to courses, but there could also be 1000 hours a year outside the courses each year for 2 or 3 years, ratcheting up to more or less full time research for another 3-5 years. That's at least 5000 more hours there, and possibly even up to 10,000 more.

    So my estimate for a PhD in astronomy, ready for a fulltime astrophysicist position, is in the range of 10,000 to 20,000 hours. But the good news is, the process of learning to be an astrophysicist is a whole lot like actually being one except for the freedom of being able to decide how to do it, so presumably, it's something that you like to do most of that time.

  3. #3
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    Wow, there's a lot of threads on the study of astronomy, astrophysics, math on this forum... but could you perhaps be remembering this one?
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  4. #4
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    Ken and Slang,

    Thanks for your valuable inputs. Slang,that was the one all right.

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