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    Advice on how to spend my gap year?

    I have just completed my undergraduate degree, and will be taking the GRE and applying to graduate school this fall. I'll be applying to terminal master's programs because of my lackluster GPA, a 3.3. This is in hopes of continuing my recent track of improved grades, and hopefully...
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    Theoretical Physics Sub-Fields

    What about one's GPA?
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    Programs How competitive are US terminal master's degree admissions?

    Thank you Zz and Mpresic for your help. @Mpresic- You got into a PhD program with a 2.4 GPA? Was it for physics? Forgive me if I'm being too direct, but isn't the cutoff for a PhD program a 3.0? Or perhaps you did some serious research and/or have published? I might still apply to a few PhD...
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    Programs How competitive are US terminal master's degree admissions?

    Ok, so I hate to be one who bumps their own thread, but over 150 views and no one has any input? Does nobody here know anything about the admissions of terminal master's degrees in physics?
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    Programs How competitive are US terminal master's degree admissions?

    My original plan was to apply for grad school (PhD) for physics after my undergrad degree, but things didn't go as planned. Simply put, I performed poorly in my first few semesters, and while my grades improved towards the end of my undergraduate studies, they were not enough to compensate for...
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    Most competitive field in physics?

    I was wondering what the most competitive field is in physics right now, in terms of graduate school admissions, and also in physics research? Condensed matter is definitely the field with the most number of physicists working on, but is it necessarily the most competitive? For example...
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    How precise is cosmology?

    I am quite a stranger to cosmology, so please go easy on me if what I say below is actually very stupid/ignorant! From the little exposure I've had to cosmology, it seems to me that in cosmology, a lot of approximations are taken, as well as a lot of huge assumptions made. For example, I've...
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    Statement of Purpose and Recommendation Letters most important?

    Thanks guys. All very helpful responses.
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    Statement of Purpose and Recommendation Letters most important?

    I was reading through Harvard's graduate school admissions FAQ, and a paragraph said: "The physics department's admissions committee reviews each candidate's entire application, including statement of purpose, transcript, experience, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation -- the statement...
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    Guidance in learning Particle Physics

    Thanks The_Duck for the response. I have indeed taken an EM course, in fact I'm finishing the second half of Griffiths this semester in my second undergrad EM course. Also luckily I do have some experience with contour integration, from a course on mathematical methods in physics I took last...
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    Guidance in learning Particle Physics

    I want to start self-learning particle physics, and was wondering if any of you can give me some pointers as to what to do in terms of books to read, maths to learn, etc. Some background: I have taken undergrad level quantum mechanics 1 and 2 (completed Griffiths), and also a course on...
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    Role of real & functional analysis in physics?

    Well, I wasn't aware that real analysis was a prerequisite of functional analysis. Thanks for pointing that out. Your condescending tone wasn't appreciated though. Thanks for the detailed responses, Fredrik and Micromass! It was very informative, as well as helpful to my future choices...
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    Role of real & functional analysis in physics?

    You are right, going through proofs and learning how to prove is very important as a physicist. In freshman year, all the proofs of the theorems I learned in multivariable calculus and linear algebra I've gone through (unless the proof was beyond the scope of the course). I also took a course...
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    Role of real & functional analysis in physics?

    Thanks. What about real analysis? Thanks for the reply, but that was...kinda vague, to say the least. Yes, calculus plays a vital part in physics, but if I can carry out all the computation, why do I need to prove all the theorems? Some more detail would be much appreciated!
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    Role of real & functional analysis in physics?

    I know complex analysis is of immense help in physics at it aids us in calculating certain integrals much more easily. But what about real analysis and functional analysis? Are these branches of mathematical analysis of much use in physics? If so, in what branches of physics and how?
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    How much time do you spend on physics each day?

    How much time do you spend on physics each day? Or actually, do you even spend time on physics every single day? I'm curious to know how much time other physics lovers/enthusiasts spend on the subject.
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    How do people get away without understanding?

    I feel the same as you. In my college, many people just focus on doing problems and past papers, and not on understanding a lot of the deeper conceptual ideas to the physics. I on the other hand tend to prefer really understanding the concepts and I often end up not having enough time to...
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    Greatest work of physicist done in their 20s?

    Thank you all for your input! It was all very enjoyable to read. It's very true that things are very different nowadays compared to, say, back in the 1920s. First off, the way physics research is conducted nowadays is greatly different. And of course, just the large amount of physics...
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    Greatest work of physicist done in their 20s?

    Touché. Any apparent sexism was by all means not intentional. I'm sure you know what I meant. :)
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    Greatest work of physicist done in their 20s?

    Many of the world's greatest physicists made their biggest breakthroughs in their 20s- Dirac, Einstein, Pauli, Heisenberg, and Bohr, for example. (Einstein's GR was published in his 30s I believe, but in his 20s he published papers on SR, Brownian motion, and the photoelectric effect). Is this...
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    Highlighting and writing all over your textbooks

    Right on! It may not look pretty, but I feel notes written on the textbook makes it much easier to refresh my memory with additional insights when reviewing material. I agree, I wouldn't write hints to the problems. However, I do like writing notes on the text to aid my learning. To each...
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    Highlighting and writing all over your textbooks

    Just something I'm a little curious to know about other physics enthusiasts. I used to just read textbooks and try keeping it in pristine condition, but in the recent year I gave into my urge to highlight and write on textbooks. Nowadays I just write, underline, and scribble whatever I want...
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    Physical meaning of Differential Cross Section in scattering

    I'm learning scattering theory from Griffiths' book, and I don't really understand the meaning of differential cross section; it's one of those things that I find hard to conceptualize and give a physical meaning to. The most intuitive description he gives is "the proportionality factor between...
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    Is quantum entanglement fully understood?

    I came across this phenomenon during my undergrad quantum mechanics studies, but haven't delved into it very much. I'm interested to know though, if theory for quantum entanglement is complete?
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    Schools Deferring graduation- hurt my grad school application?

    Aw come on guys, 400+ views and nobody has any input at all? A little disappointed. :frown:
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    Schools Deferring graduation- hurt my grad school application?

    I attend university in Hong Kong, where (prior to this year's change to a 4-year program) a typical bachelor degree consists of 3 years of study. I am currently in my 3rd year. However, I am strongly considering deferring my graduation and extending my university studies another year, ie...
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    Courses Which of these courses should I drop?

    Hey Chiro, thanks for your input. I am indeed a physics major. I will definitely be taking all three physics courses I posted above. PDE and Algebra are the courses I'm choosing between to drop. Yes, PDE seem to have a broader application in physics, but Algebra is also useful in physics...
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    Courses Which of these courses should I drop?

    I've posted a thread awhile back about whether my work load for this semester is manageable. The courses I enrolled in were: QM II Nuclear and Particle Physics Mathematical Methods of Physics PDE Abstract Algebra After some serious consideration, I have decided to drop one of the...
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    Is this too much for a semester?

    Thanks to all for the replies. Well I want to get absolutely nothing lower than a B+. Preferably all in the A range. I would love to have four years, but unfortunately I can't, as I'm not studying in America and there are only 3 years of university where I'm from. Yes there is quite a bit...
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    Is this too much for a semester?

    Starting my third and final year of university next week, and these are the courses I plan to take: Quantum Mechanics II (Perturbation theory, Scattering theory, Variational principle, etc. Basically second half of Griffiths) Nuclear and Particle Physics Mathematical Methods in...
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    Schools What's the mean letter grade in U.S. colleges?

    Both being one of the best universities of in the world, why would that be? Good point, but I don't think I'll get to mention that in my application.(?) Perhaps the universities will take a look at the textbooks used in certain courses? Thanks. Where I'm from, 10-20% get A-range in LD...
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    Schools What's the mean letter grade in U.S. colleges?

    Thanks for the help. The sociology mean grade of B+ to A- is pretty crazy!
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    Schools What's the mean letter grade in U.S. colleges?

    Strictly not so much an academic guidance question, but I don't know where else I can put this. In the U.S., What's the typical letter grade you get if you're around mean in a course in college? From where I'm from, being mean in class equates to a B- or a C+, and I'm just curious to know...
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    Process of increasing solar cell efficiency- what's it like?

    I've recently gained an interest in solar cells and it's development. I know the basic working principle of solar cells, but other than that I'm quite clueless about the field. I was wondering, what is the process of increasing solar cell efficiency like? Are there analytical ways of...
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    Proofs in Algebra vs Proofs in Analysis

    Thank you for the detailed response pwsnafu. I have taken an introductory analysis course before and didn't do very well in it, and I found myself to be quite weak at proofs. I want to take a course on algebra this coming fall semester, and due to my prior poor experience with proofs, am...
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    Proofs in Algebra vs Proofs in Analysis

    Both algebra and analysis are pretty much all about proofs...but a prof told me the proofs in algebra are very different from those of analysis. How are they different? Any input appreciated.
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    Is quantum gravity a promising field?

    I am a UG student and want to ask about the current state of quantum gravity research. Is quantum gravity a promising field in physics research right now, as in, is it making much progress in its development? Also, on a related note, what are the mathematics required in this field? Is it...
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    UG research- Pay your dues?

    I was reading a book by Cal Newport's book "Win at College", and one chapter he gives advice on paying your dues in research. Here's an excerpt from that chapter: "If getting involved with original research is one of the best things you can do as an undergraduate, then getting involved and...
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    UG research- Actually doing research more important than relevance of field?

    When graduate school admissions look at your undergrad research experience, does it matter that much whether the field research experience have any relevance to the field you want to pursue in graduate school? Or in other words, is actually doing research and acquiring research experience...
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    Quamtum Mechanis self study

    Hmm. Looks like I'll have to check out Zetilli for myself, for my QM 2 class next semester. :approve:
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    Quamtum Mechanis self study

    What's so terrible about Griffiths' book? It is by no means perfect but I quite liked it when I took my UG course on QM 1. In reply to the thread starter, I'm guessing you're not a physics student, considering you're taking UG QM as a graduate student. Contrary to ahsanxr, I found Griffiths...
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    Recommendations for IB Physics revision books

    I also used the IB Study Guide by Tim Kirk that Mepris mentioned. I thought it was very helpful- it was my most used physics textbook throughout my 2 years of IB physics and pretty much the only book I used for preparing for the exams. It also seem to fit quite well with what you said you were...
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    PDE textbook recommendation

    Only one suggestion? I guess there aren't that many good PDE books out there huh. Thanks theorem4.5.9, appreciate it. Good thing my university's library carries this book so I can check it out for a while first before I buy it. Thanks again!
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    PDE textbook recommendation

    I'll be taking PDE this coming Fall semester, and I want to have a head start by doing some self studying this summer. What's a good textbook you would recommend for PDE? (the official textbook in my university is "Beginning Partial Differential Equations" by Peter O'Neil but I've heard...
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    Schools Pointers needed in getting into physics grad school

    Hey Factors of 2, thanks for the very thorough response! Really grateful that you took the time to to help me out.
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    Schools Pointers needed in getting into physics grad school

    I aspire to getting into a reputable US physics grad school. As I'm aware of so far (correct me if I'm wrong), there are 4 main things grad schools look at: (in no particular order) 1. Your GPA 2. Your research experience 3. Recommendation letters 4. Your physics GRE score Do any of...
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