My 15-year-old son wants to pursue a career in astrophysics. Could you suggest some institutes in India, Europe or the US where he can go for further studies? Which entrance exams should he prepare for?
N. Kulkarni, Abu Dhabi
The field of astrophysics deals with the study of physical properties of celestial bodies and requires a substantial knowledge of physics.
Possessing proficiency in physics and maths is an essential prerequisite. While applying for astrophysics your son should also research astronomy as the content in the two subjects is very similar.
Your son could pursue a graduate degree in physics and specialise in astrophysics post graduation or he could do a bachelor of science with a major in astrophysics. Whichever path he chooses it is important he reads extensively and explores the possibility of doing an internship in this field. I would also suggest he visits the website of Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics to get to know more on the subject.
In addition to his academic grades and SAT scores, for the USA, your son will need to demonstrate proficiency by way of extracurricular activities and internships. At 15, he is ideally positioned to work on his CV and differentiate him from the thousands who will apply for admission to an American University.
Consult a college counsellor to identify a school that matches his interests and make recommendations on how to build on his profile. Some universities to keep in mind are Caltech, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, Boston University, Princeton, Imperial, Oxford and Manchester to name a few that offer this course. In India one of the more reputable institutes is the IIA (Indian Institute of Astrophysics), Bengaluru.