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Topic: Advice for future in chemistry  (Read 3989 times)

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Offline stevemont7

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Advice for future in chemistry
« on: January 22, 2015, 05:42:15 PM »
Hi everybody, I'm a sophomore in high school who has few plans for the future.  :-\ That being said, I do know which subjects I like, and as you may have guessed, I quite enjoy science. I'm enrolled in all honors classes (English, Italian, Chem, Algebra, and World History), and I get decent grades (current overall average is 96.43). Anyway, here's the thing: even though I did very well in biology last year, receiving a 100 on the final exam, this year in chem is the first time I've ever received straight 100's on all my tests. This, along with a prior interest in chemistry, is why I'm now considering some sort of career in chemistry, and I have a couple questions in regards to that:

1. What are a few careers related to chemistry—or more more specifically—biochemistry?

2. How good must one's math skills be to pursue a career in chemistry? My math grades are some of my lower ones (low 90's average in Algebra).

Offline kriggy

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Re: Advice for future in chemistry
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 06:11:49 PM »
Hi there,
I wanted to go for law school but changed my mind in the last year of high school but ended in organic chemistry  ;)

1) There is a lots of it bit with regars of biochemistry I think the best bet is pharma company RnD where you will be testing the prepared compounds for their metabilism pathways, interaction with enzymes etc...
Medicinal chemistry is another close field, its more in synthesis and designing potential new biological active compounds.
You could also probably do some molecular biology, maybe genetics?

2) If I dont count seminars from physical chemistry where we did some integrations then its most of the time cross-multiplication. Not very much math or high level of math is needed unless you go for physical chemistry, then its much more important. But on the other hand, its always good to know math. I never needed anything advanced but there are areas that require some more complex math that synthesis :)

Offline Ben Bob2

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Re: Advice for future in chemistry
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 09:09:48 AM »
You seem to have a great record and should have little problem in chemistry if you continue to work hard. To get through it though, you need to enjoy it and be interested in it, so think hard about what you really want to do before going after it.
Most four year chemistry degrees require at least two semesters of calculus (some require three) so keep that in mind.
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Offline orgo814

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Re: Advice for future in chemistry
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2015, 10:22:02 PM »
I had straight 100s on my honors and AP chemistry tests in high school as well. College will be much more difficult... I can assure you of that. In a class of nearly 60 students, only about 2 or 3 actually get an A (then maybe 4 other A- on top of that). Not trying to discourage you, but you should know that it will be much more challenging.

Other than that, yes math skills are important for chemistry. You will need to take a year of physical chemistry, which involves thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. This requires at least calculus 3 but generally differential equations and linear algebra are needed to succeed. You'll need to certainly improve your math skills so you don't get stuck at P-Chem.

I think if you have interest, then go for it. But, it's still rather early in even in your high school career so keep an open mind as you go through.

Offline stevemont7

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Re: Advice for future in chemistry
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 01:27:05 PM »
I had straight 100s on my honors and AP chemistry tests in high school as well. College will be much more difficult... I can assure you of that. In a class of nearly 60 students, only about 2 or 3 actually get an A (then maybe 4 other A- on top of that). Not trying to discourage you, but you should know that it will be much more challenging.

Other than that, yes math skills are important for chemistry. You will need to take a year of physical chemistry, which involves thermodynamics and quantum mechanics. This requires at least calculus 3 but generally differential equations and linear algebra are needed to succeed. You'll need to certainly improve your math skills so you don't get stuck at P-Chem.

I think if you have interest, then go for it. But, it's still rather early in even in your high school career so keep an open mind as you go through.

Thank you for your response, butlerw2. Since I made my original post, I've become much better at math, with an average of about 98 for this quarter. In chemistry, however, I've broken my 100 streak. (I still should have a 100 or 99 average for the class.) I must mention that I find my chem class to be very slow, so I attempt to teach myself higher level concepts at home.

 Keeping these things in mind, do you still think studying chemistry in college would be a good path for me?

Offline orgo814

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Re: Advice for future in chemistry
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 12:38:02 AM »
Only you can answer that. I know many people that had a "100 streak" on high school chem tests but didn't go on to study it in college. Just because you can exceed in a subject doesn't mean you should study it. It's about interest. Do you find yourself most interested in it compared to other subjects? What kind of career do you want to do? Remember, your career isn't going to be taking chem tests. Can you see yourself spending long hours in the lab performing research in the field? Do you enjoy working in a lab? A person who is efficient in a lab setting is much more desirable as a chemist than someone who can get perfect scores on tests but can't function in a lab (I know plenty of those people). If your lab skills are good, and more importantly you enjoy it, then maybe chemistry is right for you.

Those are the things to ask yourself and reflect on. Good luck.

Offline stevemont7

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Re: Advice for future in chemistry
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 06:42:47 PM »
I understand, and I do have a genuine interest—I remember performing household experiments from a young age, and I've enjoyed reading about chemistry since I was introduced to it in middle school. Now that I'm in high school I always want to know the reasons why certain things we learn about occur.

I do also enjoy lab work. Since learning more about the field, a research career in medicinal chemistry is something I would like to work toward.

Thank you all for your input—I really do appreciate it.

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