Amrut Deshmukh

Student, School of Scholars

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If I Want to become a Scientist what should I do ?

I am currently in class 10. I want to become a scientist in Physics Sector. What should I do after 10th. Some people say that do IIT and AIEEE some say do plain B.Sc and then M.Sc and ultimately P.Hd. But I am a lot confused between these options. Most of my interests are in Astronomy, General Physics and Computers. I am currently in India. Please Help.. Suggest the options available in India! Please make your answer as clear it could be. Thank You !!

Closing Statement from Amrut Deshmukh

Thanks ..... Everybody for your kind and helpful replies .....

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    Sep 4 2011: A scientist can be a frame of mind. May I suggest you learn the scientific method and then start applying it where you can day by day. In the end you can add knowledge through school, home study, on line study, TED and other groups that will help spark ideas, thoughts, inventions, and directions that you can take. You may be a scientist that never takes a college course but does scientific work on your own and develops a product, company, organization that impacts the world and makes a huge impact for all of us on this earth. It will not be easy nor will it be fast and it may never make you wealthy but if it is your field it will satisfy your soul. Best of living to you
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    Sep 7 2011: Whatever you study doesn't matter , only thing needed to be a scientist is an ever curious mind and actions to resolve those curiosity through reasoning and experimentation................
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    Sep 2 2011: Great to hear that Amrut!

    Don't know about places in India, though they have tons of good institutes I heard.

    You can dig into a lot of websites to learn a lot about science already. is probably one of the most useful.

    And try and do experiments! find out the speed of light and sound is a great talk to get inspiration (I watched it at least 5 times ... I absolutely love that talk!).

    Go and observe meteorites with your local astronomy organisation, so you can triangulate it's origin with others (for example).
    Or make a robot!
    Anayway, a lot of things you can do just to dig further into your interest, and you could probably imagine a lot of things yourself...
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      Sep 2 2011: Ya Thanks for your valuable response ! I have heard about KHAN ACADEMY. I will surely try it out. I have done many experiments and projects related to physical Sciences. Watch it here .
      and about the TED Talk its awesome. Its all correct you told but I want to know that what else I can do further in my career. What can i do after 10th ? .. Again Thanks for you reply !
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        Sep 2 2011: Amrut...
        10th... what does that mean? (School systems are different across the globe... Belgium has kindergarten, pre-school (3 years), primary school (6 years), and secondary school (6 years). After which the bachelors (3 years) and masters (1 or more years) follow. And then Phd, More masters and what have you not)

        So what can you do: probably go to further science education, no? I probably can't help you on the precise choice as I don't know the difference between the different systems you have.
        Nor do I have sufficient data about where your passion lies most (be it theoretical, applied, value of the acquired degree, reasons to chose for the one or the other,...)
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          Sep 2 2011: The system here is such that there is Kindergarten (2 years), Class 1st - 10th (1 year each), 11th and 12th junior College (1 year each) and ultimately Senior college (4-6 Years) after that we can do whatever we want like P.Hd and etc. !!! to know more about my interests watch my photos and their captions.
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        Sep 3 2011: just make a list of the options you still think are valid, assign numbers to it, and let the dice decide!

        (If the outcome gives you a bad feeling about the decision: eliminate that from the list and repeat the process)
  • Sep 8 2011: If, hopefully, you get into a US college, I guess you'll work out what to study as you'll have considerable flexibility in studying.
    If, unfortunately, you don't get into US or Hong Kong or Australia(on scholarships, don't be a burden on your family if they can't afford you) then apply in India.
    Now we have entered the realm of '3 Idiots(for the people outside sub-continent, it's an epic movie highlighting the problems of South Asian,or global, education).
    I hope that be the end of your 12th year, you would have decided whether you want to do science or engineering. Whatever you want to do, go for it. In India and Pakistan, one thing they say is that if you want o do science(Physics,math,chem,Bio) you could always do it after engineering. In the case of Physics, people will gove a lot of examples of people doing Electrical engineering and then switching to physics. They say that one must have a professionla degree as to secure a job. Although I am a student and amateur myself, I am against this dogma. Do physics if you want ot become a scientisti. DO engineering if you decide to do engineering. I hope that by the end of 12 year you would know which way to go. I guess it would be science, as it is more 'pure, thought-oriented' as compared to the 'commercialised engineering'(no offence). This is the reason I ask you to study more than just the school teaches you, so that you can find the subject that resonates with you.
    Assuming that you go for Physics in India, you do a four year degree(it can be a 2 year BSc + a 2 year MSc or it could be a 4 year BS or it could be a 5 year integrated MSc) Don't worry about the terminologies. You just have to study a 4 year course(which you can also do in three years if you work harder). After that you get to do research i.e. a PhD. A strong foundation in undergraduate physics will prepare you for research work. After your PhD, you could do further research as a post-doctoral researcher, or combine research with teaching.
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      Sep 2 2011: I liked your reply a lot but want the suggestion that whether I should do B.Sc and M.Sc in physics or IIT and AIEEE and all sort of engineering ! Which one will be more profitable for me ?
  • Sep 8 2011: Or you could simply be a professor(which would not distance you from research) and contribute to uplifting the educational standards of South Asia specifically. Or you could craft your own unique way to help the world. Who knows, I would be watching your TED Talk in the 'best of the web' section 20,or maybe 10,or maybe 60, years from now.
    Regarding which universities to go to in India, I don't know much(except for the fact that the entrance exam IIT-JEE is quite tough). I would refer you to a friend of mine on facebook. Please ask him your queries about IIT and AIEE. Find him at
    Try applying to LUMS Scholl of Science and Engineering in Lahore, Pakistan. It's a great school, and no one would eat you, I promise.
    Lastly, I saw the website created by/for you. Just one last piece of advice,don't develop a love for accolades.
    I am eagerly waiting for your thoughts on my comments.
    Best Wishes for you. Remember me in your prayers.
  • Sep 8 2011: I can tell easily that you're well above average a student.
    And I guess your interest is in Physics. For that I would say that apply for the Indian Physics Olympiad. It would boost your thinking skills with witty problems that will literally stretch your mind. Also apply for the Asian Science Camp 2012 and 2013. If selected, you'll get a chance to learn first-hand from Nobel Laureates in the Natural Sciences.
    By the START of your 12th year, you should have average knowledge(advanced in some topics, but overall you must have scanned the whole course) and have thought over the 12th year Physics and Mathematics. Every individual has his own pace of studying. Schools tend to fasten the slow and slow the fast. There's nothing wrong with going slow. But it's wrong to be slow if you can go fast. You should, through self study, finish the course by the end of 11th year. In the 12th year, think deeper, solve problems e.t.c and apply to universities.
    These are not hard and fast rules, these are guidlines set under the experiences of a fresh graduate of the South Asian education system(which is,btw, very versatile in itself) I hope that your convivtion to pursue Physics will strengthen during these years, but never hesitate to love another subject if its love pervades you.
    Finally, I would recommend you to apply to US for undergraduate studies. The US universities and colleges(in the US, college is used synnymously with university) Admissions are tough, but not impossible. Work hard and give it a try. The US universities will surely help you achieve your dreams. For South Asians, it's good to start working on US admissions in the 11th year of school. Do not be afraid. It's just fun if you have ample time. Contact your school counsellor(if you have one) for inquiries about US admissions or go to
    (to be continued)
  • Sep 8 2011: I feel a lot of similarity with you. I am starting my undergraduate studies this fall in a Mathematics degree (if my parents agree and don't push me into Electrical Engineering). I did not get financial aid for an excellent Physics program in Pakistan so I decided to pursue Mathematics(that's the closest to Physics I can get). I, maybe partially like you, am a perfect score, Physics Olymiader blah blah. I am aspiring to be a Theoretical Physicist. I'm just 18. But I did not get into the university of my choice(MIT, joking) I am narrating all this to convey to you that life is unpredictable. Still unpredictabler are the University admissions(specially undergraduate admissions). Listen to James Watson's talk on how he discovered DNA. He was rejected by Caltech graduate school.
    But the main thing is perseverance. No matter where you go, follow your passion, work really, really, really, really(no need to stress further) hard, and work even harder on developing the creative, individual attitude and way of looking. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. That's all you can do for the long term.
    For the short term(next 2-3 years), you could do the following:
    1) Get good grades in all subjects, specially sciences, at school.
    2) Think. Never stop questioning and discussing with your teachers and peers. Never be afraid to make stupid guesses and dumb explanations of questions. Always ask why is this topic the way it is? Delve as much deep as you can. You would find that there are some topics/subjects that you can think about easily( think and study them further)
    3) I like your projects. Similarly explore further any topic in the sciences that interests you(e.g genetics, applications of calculus, entropy in physics, rates of reactions e.t.c) I would recommend Halliday Resnick for Physics study. Consult some experts for university level books on bio,chem and math also that you can use as a reference.
    (To be continued)
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    Sep 5 2011: Hi my friend
    just one point that I have learnt from my masters
    !! never think that you know all things and know more than other and try to learn ,even from usual people !!
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    Sep 2 2011: The best way is by doing a PhD in your field of interest. This requires you to do a BSc but not necessarily a Masters.
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      Sep 2 2011: Ohh ! Thanks a lot ! Can you clear your ideas more deeply ! What do you think about IIT's and all sort of engineering sectors ? Please do reply ..!
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        Sep 2 2011: I am not sure what IIT stands for.
      • Sep 23 2011: You should pursue core science degrees (BSc, MSc and hopefully, a PhD) at IISc. This will help you maintain focus on physics. Engineering is an applied science; where research is not the first priority

        I believe IIT-JEE is the entrance test for IISc (Not sure though, you should confirm this)

        If not IISc, you can join IITs/NITs/BITS for Engineering, but the onus is on you to be close to research and eventually become a scientist.
  • Sep 8 2011: Hi
    It feels good to see an aspiring scientist from India(Asia needs those).
    Best wishes for your life and your passion.
  • Sep 7 2011: Study science at school: Maths, chemistry, physics and biology. That's the first step. Options later are pretty wide and you don't have to worry about them yet. Start reading in your area of interest. If you can read enough you will work out where you should be before you need to apply. It helps if you can also work out what you have an aptitude for... as sometimes what we want and what we're good at are not the same thing. However despite that just because you're not good at something shouldn't deter you from doing it if you're passionate enough.
  • Sep 3 2011: IIT of course.
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      Sep 4 2011: thats actually not so true !! i m an iitian you dont actually become a scientist here even if you r determined you end up tangled in all the fun things you just live the present
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        Sep 8 2011: WOW thats a news.. IITans have fun :) ok ....... lolz... I don't trust your word I have seen people from BITs, IIT, REC all the same grade :| ... what do u guys think? just kidding but with one serious note have some fun guys.. its good..
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      Sep 5 2011: Yeah IITans they are real bunch of people whom I would'nt want to meet in my life time. Workaholics, walking talking references, calculators. A person who is to be an IITan could be easily be found even while they were babies, it will be obvious by just looking at them.. Always thinking something, I wonder what they think so much. I tried and went blank for a whole day.. :)
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        Sep 8 2011: the iitians are work aholics true no point denying i dont even get 5 hrs to slp nightout is general fact the pt is you dont becom a scientist you may become artist a ngo worker a nrmal guy (with high pay) a Enterprise starter but nt a scientist the life here is so much fun u just cnt go on doing one stuff. i m in 2nd year i manage the project dba in kgp, in the fine arts society, in game theory society , do a lot of designing and video editing, and i love startups. i love sketching. product design.hardware modeling. opensoft.i cnt do a single thing no iitian can just stuck to the course or studies is idiotic !!
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        Sep 8 2011: and second i m a bio major wanted to be a CA i wanted to do bcom and have gf peace walla life and i have is i m in iit doing everything other than engg wich i m supposed to do. i love photography. i have dslr. we just enjoy dude. WE ENJOY WAT WE DO !!
  • Sep 2 2011: Study hard. I'm not sure how exactly India's academic system works, but here you go to "elementary school"(9years)/some equivalent of high school(4years) then B. Sc, M.Sc and Ph.D. If you are really interested in those 3 things (plus mathemathics) pure physics study is probably the right area for you to be in :) As Matthieu Miossec mentioned M.Sc is not always neccesary (here gifted students above certain average can skip to Ph.D directly). Edwin Jose Palathinkal gave you very good proposition!
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    Sep 2 2011: I am glad people as young as you have this passion to further studies. Regardless, when you become a scientist, be a good one. It may take time for Ph.D. but the most important thing not to lose is a global motive to change the world for good. Enjoy!
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      Sep 2 2011: Ya its my first priority to become a BETTER PERSON before becoming a good scientist ! But can u tell me about what to do in after class10 to become a Scientist ?