There are many paths to take if you are interested in doing fundamental physics research in hopes of discovering the secrets of the universe (awkward phrasing there: this makes the universe is like the Bush administration, I guess?) Here are my three favorite ways to do fundamental theoretical physics.
- Do it yourself. This is the traditional method. Of course you have to be more than a bit delusional to think you might actually be able to contribute some positive net effect, but such long odds don’t seem to influence many people’s choice of this method.
- Build a computer to do it for you. If you are a believer that artificial intelligence is just around the corner, then why would you think that you stand any chance against the coming mighty computer intelligence? So quit your job as a theoretical physicist and convince Google to build you a mighty physics brain. Call it, oh, I don’t know, “Deep Thought”. Just make sure you are careful in wording your queries to the machine.
- Join SETI. The often overlooked approach. I mean, if (*ahem*) there are aliens, and if (*ahem*) SETI can find them, the aliens are like to be more advanced than us (*ahem*) and then we can simply ask them our deepest physics questions. Of course this may not get you the answer to your physics question in your lifetime, or even in the lifetime of the alien, but I do believe that is the list of your worries for this method.