The first day of my attachment with two physicists, an experimental and a theoretical physicist would have gone better if not for having being “enlightened”, so to speak on the harsh realities of being a theorist. The theoretical physicist whom I spoke to admitted that Malaysia does not focus a lot on theoretical physics and hence does not channel a lot of money into research in said field. He said that more attention is given to this field overseas, but it’s extremely difficult if not virtually impossible to get a post-doc overseas as one not only has to be excellent but OUTSTANDINGLY so in order to get the grants required to do research as post-doc at research universities or institutions. Plus, a post-doc will last for only one or two years after which one has to be reviewed by a committee and if he or she is deemed deserving of a permanent/tenure position at the research facility, he or she will be given the green light in terms of research grants to conduct research, and of course a pretty decent and above all, a fixed salary. And if i don’t get a tenure position, I’ll have to be a nomad – going from one place to another, “begging” for research grants or a permanent position to either teach or conduct research or both. I often tell myself how money isn’t everything but I have seen for myself how much money can do and well, we can’t be idealistic all the time, let’s face it: money buys you food, buys you health insurance and buys you the rent for basic lodging. This piece of information is a bit disheartening. Also, according to the theoretical physicist, theorists in the research line often find themselves frustrated as the theories or models they come up with cannot be proven to be true or falsified by current technology. The LHC can only produce up to 14TeV (maybe the word “only” is not appropriate in this context) whereas we’re talking about energy of around 10^16TeV in the context of supersymmetry etc (okay I have to stop lest I ramble). However, he did assure me that there are still plenty of places I can venture into in theoretical physics, such as condensed matter physics where you study more material science stuff like the mysteriously interesting bose-einstein condensate and quantum mechanics. He said that those “places” are still more practical and down-to-earth. Hopefully I’ll know my true calling when I enter university. It’s really still too quick to make a decision, it’s not like I’m graduating tomorrow right? :p
On the bright side, I’m making pretty good headway in writing my personal statement. 3 paragraphs already! (though still full of ramblings that I have to cancel lest I exceed the word, or rather the 4000 character limit!)
Watched Beastly as well, the hopeless romantic inside of me was awaken!