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Chemistry deals with the science of matter and the changes it undergoes. The science of matter is also addressed by physics, but while physics takes a more general and fundamental approach, chemistry is more specialized, being concerned with the composition, behavior, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions.
Physics is the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion and behavior through space and time, along with related concepts like energy and force. One of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, the main goal of physics is to understand how the universe behaves.
|College Professor||What new courses should college students study? What would be the best way to test how much the students have learnt in a course? College professors create a curriculum, as well as assignments and tests, to educate students and motivate them to get the most out of the chosen course. They also conduct research in their field and publish the findings in industry journals.|
|Physicist||How do the laws of motion change at an atomic scale? How are black holes formed? These are some examples of research areas for Physicists. They come up with their own hypotheses, collect data, try to make sense of data using complex mathematics and make conclusions using their observations and calculations. They also write papers for scientific journals and discuss their research at scientific conferences. Typically PhD degree is required. Physicists start specializing in a sub-field at Masters level. Broad sub-fields are:-
|Astronomer||Astronomers are those scientists who study the heavenly bodies – planets, stars etc. Astronomers work as research scientists in Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), teach in Universities, or popularise astronomy by working with museums and planetariums.|
|Material Scientist||Have you noticed that the materials used in your TV screens or smartphone screens have changed over the years? You must have came across terms like LCD, LED, Gorilla Glass etc. Who designs these materials? Material scientists do. It is a career open to graduates of both Physics and Chemistry. But, how do they develop these new materials? They study different materials, understand their properties, conduct experiments in a lab and develop new materials for potential use in industry. However, what if the new materials are really cool but we have no way to make them in a factory? Material scientists also study what process can be used to manufacture them and develop new ones.|
|College Professor||Which new courses should college students study? What would be the best way to test how much the students have learnt in a course? College professors create a curriculum, as well as assignments and tests, to educate students and challenge the students to get the most out of the course. They also conduct research in their field and publish their findings in industry journals.|
|Chemist||How does the new manufacturing process in a steel plant affect the quality of water flowing in nearby river? Who invents or discovers all the elements you study in the periodic table? Chemists do. Chemists study chemicals – which are the building blocks of all materials They conduct chemical tests on these chemicals, like dissolving them in different solvents, or on applying temperature, pressure or by mixing with other chemicals. Chemists also study which method would be the best to make these chemicals in a lab or at industrial scale and which machines should be utilised. Like Physicists, they also do research and use advanced mathematics and computers and write papers for scientific journals and present the report of their research at scientific conferences.|
|Biochemist||How many carbohydrates does an infant panda need? What would happen if you ate the cake in the fridge that was from last week? Who studies these chemical processes and decides what process should be used to make these at industrial scale? Biochemists do. These scientists study the genes and DNA of plants and animals. They find out which food animals and plants eat, which elements are present in their body and how their body reacts to different chemical conditions.|
Research Skills: Good research skills are needed for scientists to be able to propose a theory, collect data, interpret what the information means and come to a conclusion.
Perseverance: A lot of rigour and patience is critical as scientists spend significant amount of time repeating experiments by varying different conditions to validate their results.
Critical Thinking: While doing research, these scientists have to compare different conditions to make a conclusion from the information.
Mathematics: Because scientists use mathematics all the time to draw conclusions based on the data they gather during research.
STEP 1 : Choose Science after 10th and prepare for Competitive Entrance Exams
|Institute||Relevant Courses Offered for 12th pass students||Entrance Exam|
|Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore||B.Sc Physics (Research)
B.Sc Chemistry (Research)
B.Sc Earth and Environment Science (Research)
B.Sc Material Science (Research)
|JEE Advanced, JEE Mains, KVPY|
|Indian Institutes of Science & Education Research (7 in total)||B.Sc & M.Sc dual degree in Physics
B.Sc & M.Sc dual degree in Chemistry
B.Sc & M.Sc degree in Earth and Climatic Sciences
|JEE Mains, KVPY, Marks in 12th board|
|National Institute of Science & Education Research||Integrated M.Sc in Physical Sciences
Integrated M.Sc in Chemical Sciences
|Delhi University (DU)||Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Chemistry
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biochemistry
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in applied Physical Sciences
|Entry is based on marks in 12th boards.|
|Banaras Hindu University (BHU)||Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Chemistry
|BHU Undergraduate Entrance Test|
In addition to the above, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and a few National Institutes of Technology (NITs) also offer 5-year Integrated M.Sc courses in Physics/Chemistry. A full list of these institutes can be found on the official website of Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA).
Also, please note that the list above is not exhaustive and only includes colleges which stand out for their Undergraduate programs in Physics/Chemistry. For a detailed list, refer to the ranking of top universities on the website of National Institute Ranking Framework.
Step 2: Complete an undergraduate degree in Chemistry/ Physics
|Courses in an undergraduate degree in Physics include Classical Mechanics and theory of relativity, Properties of Matter and Kinetic Theory of Gases, Nuclear Physics.||Courses in an undergraduate degree in Chemistry include Inorganic Chemistry; Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry.|
|In their first year, students sometimes also do common courses with other undergraduate students of Mathematics and Physics/Chemistry. In their final year, students take up elective courses depending on their area of interest. An undergraduate degree in Physics prepares students to pursue an advanced degree (M.Sc, PhD) or take an entry level job in industry.. Students can also pursue B.Ed to be eligible for becoming secondary school teachers.|
Since majority of jobs in industry require at least an M.Sc degree and roles of research scientists require a PhD, significant number of undergraduate students pursue a Masters degree. For selection to M.Sc programs in IITs, candidates have to qualify Joint Admission Test (JAM). Final year students of 4-year B.Sc programs can also apply to related Engineering courses in IITs and NITs. The entrance exam for these course is Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE).
Step 3: Complete an advanced degree in Chemistry/ Physics
Most careers in Physics/Chemistry require at least a Masters (M.Sc) degree. Certain careers like require a doctoral degree (PhD). If you are sure that you want to eventually go for a career in Physics/Chemistry, pursuing an Integrated program saves your time and effort in preparing and applying separately for Masters degree.
After completing Masters, students have to qualify National Eligibility Test to secure scholarship for pursuing PhD. Another national level entrance exam for admission into Physics related PhD courses is Joint Entrance Screening Test. Many IITs and other research institutes offer Integrated M.Sc-PhD programs. Selection is based on marks in graduation, entrance test and personal interview.
Students who want to get their advanced degree from abroad have to qualify Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and TOEFEL / IELTS. While GRE measures general aptitude, TOEFEL and IELTS measure proficiency in English language.
|Watch people talk about their careers in physics/chemistry||Know how can you participate in Science Olympiads||Build “Toys from Trash” and learn Science along the way||Get a glimpse of what a course in Physics looks like|