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A list of mathematical physicists

  1. Mar 12, 2007 #1
    In a very recent post, Norman altered me to a mathematical physicist named John Baez @ UC Riverside. I have to say, that he has the most ideal career for me. I've bothered everyone with my questions on how/ or should I do both a pure math and theoretical physics degree before, and indeed it does not seem wise now.

    Professor Baez is doing exactly what I wish to, (except, I am also very interested in GR too.)

    I was wondering if everyone could list the the mathematicians they know who are primarily mathematical physicists, and where they are at please? This will help me greatly in looking for a graduate school.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2007 #2
    Does Ed Witten count?

    Oh, btw, you might find this blog - http://cartansoffice.blogspot.com/ - interesting. Also check out the earlier hangout of that blogger, Einstien's Office. I could be wrong, but I think he is also a member of PF.
  4. Mar 12, 2007 #3
    Arthur M. Jaffe @ Harvard
    http://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/jaffe.html" [Broken]


    Michel Lapidus
    http://math.ucr.edu/~lapidus/" [Broken]

    Just some that I found quickly.

    Once place to look is in the journals for this field:


    http://www.ma.utexas.edu/mpej/" [Broken]

    http://jmp.aip.org/" [Broken]

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Mar 12, 2007 #4
    Wow, awesome. Thanks for the blog. That's the kinda stuff I'm looking for.

    Witten... He probably has the insight into mathematics that John Milnor does, or close to, but, he has no interest in pure mathematics, nor any interest in rigor - so I have been told, b/c I'm too lowly yet to read his papers to judge for myself.

    A cross between those 2 would be an ideal future for me (and probably most people). I want both the ability to explore my pure interests with rigor, and to explore my interests in theoretical physics, with physical intuition and the more heuristic methods of TPs.

    Though, one of the 2 reasons I shy away from TP, is the craze of String Theory. Like everyone else, I really want to hear about the results from the LHC coming up. I hope it's correct for all those involved, but like everyone else I'd like to see it verified to some degree. So to that end, it seems like I can look into other crazy ideas more from the mathematical approach than I could the TP approach. That logic or lack there of is probably hair raising crazy, but it's what I got going so far.

    Basically I'm envious of those past who could do both with ease. But I understand when people say it takes a long time to keep on top of a single field, let alone 2. But I'm crazy and disciplined enough to give it a shot, even if I crash and burn I'll have been airborn for a least a nanosecond, and that would make me really happy.
  6. Mar 12, 2007 #5

    Thanks again! I'll check those out now.



    Keep em' comin' please!
  7. Mar 12, 2007 #6

    You're making Riverside look really attractive.

  8. Mar 12, 2007 #7


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    That's not true. Witten has made many very important contributions to pure mathematics. He has a Fields medal if you didn't know. As far as I'm aware, he's the only non-mathematician ever to be given that honor.

    Anyway, another well-known mathematical physicist is Barry Simon at Caltech. The others I had in mind in the other thread might be overly physical for your taste. This is getting far outside my field, but some people working in dynamical systems might also be interesting to you.

    Don't think that theoretical physics is confined to string theory. That's actually a rather small proportion of it. Even so, the one thing string theory has proven itself with is the ability to inspire interesting mathematics. Someone with your interests might want to look into it just for that. Mathematical physics usually doesn't concern itself much with applicability anyway.
  9. Mar 13, 2007 #8


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    A list of mathematical physicists would be massive - plus everyone would just put down people they know or who are relevant to their field; and as the size of fields within physics are immense, I don't think you should put complete faith in the advice.

    Look to what type of mathematical physics (or applied maths) that you want to do - then do your own search for the cutting-edge groups on that stuff.
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