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General Discussion & Feedback => Just Chat! => Topic started by: DanQuestions on 10/04/2019 23:22:33

Title: Am I too old?
Post by: DanQuestions on 10/04/2019 23:22:33
I really want to become a particle physicist but at 38 am I too old?

My maths and English is terrible but my science is ok.

I was bullied at school and a bit of a day dreamer, so I had little interest in in school, ending up in the bottom set for all subjects, so I didn't really care about education or my final exams, and due to another personal reason I probably did extra bad in my exams as I couldn't concentrate. How ever, I achieved a respectable grade in science.

So now I am basically starting from scratch, thinking about resitting my maths and English GCSE, and then I could do an access course so I can do a degree.

But at 38 am I able to learn like I could when I was a teenager or is my brain now over the hill?

Im passionate about this and would love to become a particle physicist, so I can understand then universe better, and perhaps work in medicine.

Thanks for reading.  I welcome your 'blunt' replies.
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: Bored chemist on 11/04/2019 07:17:08
There's only 1 way to find out.
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: Colin2B on 11/04/2019 08:28:59
You are never too old to start something that will develop your brain and understanding of the world around us. Great idea to start with GCSEs and see where you go from there. Lots of good teaching on maths basics on the web to back up your studies and some really good mathematicians here who can help.
There is Open University for next steps.


Hope it goes well for you.
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: alancalverd on 11/04/2019 10:02:49
If you want to go into medical physics, the particle physics element doesn't require a great deal of complicated maths unless you want to design exotic particle accelerators. Once you have your accelerator (to misquote Mrs Beeton) the radiotherapy planning maths isn't much beyond GCSE, but if you want to develop radionuclide imaging you'll need to be a bit nifty with matrix algebra, at least to Open University foundation course level - and it's an excellent course. 

Physiological measurement and clinical engineering tend to use A-level calculus but hardly leading-edge pure maths, and no particle physics.

I just heard about a woman who was given a trial flight for a 70th birthday present, liked it, qualified as a pilot at 72 and is now at 74 studying to become an instructor. Maths, physics, anatomy and physiology are all in the books: motivation is in your head.
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: Petrochemicals on 16/04/2019 23:37:03
The older the better, greying unkept hair, lack of priorities, unbalanced, disregard for other peoples opinions or positions, socially dysfunctional

Given that you had to ask, you do not sound the right sort of person, but if you train hard you may get there.
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: JefferyLynch on 08/07/2019 09:10:54
I don't think so
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: alancalverd on 09/07/2019 18:25:15
The older the better, greying unkept hair, lack of priorities, unbalanced, disregard for other peoples opinions or positions, socially dysfunctional

And you say we have never met? At 75 I continue to make a good living at medical physics precisely because I don't give a damn about anyone's rank, opinion or personal appearance (some of the patients look as though they have been in a car crash or have a terminal illness - because they have) but care very much about safe engineering and accurate science. 
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: jeffreyH on 09/07/2019 20:43:13
I am just about to start reading another quantum physics book. For me it is just a fun thing to do. It should be fun for you too. Go for it and enjoy the journey.

While I don't intend pursuing physics as a profession myself I would highly recommend that you pursue your goal. Even if you ultimately decide on something else as a career it is a very good base on which to build
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: evan_au on 09/07/2019 23:57:13
Quote from: OP
I really want to become a particle physicist but at 38 am I too old?
So to do leading work at CERN, we are looking at a normal sequence taking at least 11 years, during most of which you have to support yourself (although rich parents or a government which values education can help):
- Graduate high-school: 2 years
- Do a bachelor's degree in physics: 3 or 4 years
- Masters degree: 2 years (which may involve some work with a local particle accelerator)
- Phd: 4-6 years (which may involve some work with a leading particle accelerator)
- Build up enough of a reputation to be employed full time in particle physics: highly variable.

But start with graduating high school, and see how you go.
- If you do well, then take the next sequential step above
- otherwise choose one of the alternative paths outlined by alancalverd

Far more people know how use a computer than the number who know how to design a computer
- Similarly, far more people know how to use particle physics than to design particle physics experiments
- And if that education path doesn't work out for you, I know people who quite enjoy particle physics at the bowling alley - it's just that the particles have a mass of a kilogram or more... ;)
Title: Re: Am I too old?
Post by: Karen W. on 11/07/2019 07:59:30
You're never too old to learn! Never to old to go back to school. Frankly I went back as an older adult after I raised my kids I got straight A's.. I did a great job! I went as far as I wanted to go, and it was easier than I could have ever imagined it to be, because I wanted to be there, I wanted to do it! It has all to do with where you want to be as far as learning goes. If it's what you want to do, then get to it, and do it! No procrastinating, no hesitating, make your plan and follow through, just do it! Do it! Don't hesitate!
😊😊😊😊