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Can one do good theoretical physics without face-to-face interaction v exc.physicist?

  1. May 23, 2007 #1
    I am a 2nd year physics undergraduate. I realize that basically there are two types of sciences, one of them to develop technology with scientific knowledge while the other one to seek for fundamental understanding of the physical laws governing the universe.

    I am passionate in doing the latter, which is to seek for a better understanding of the physical laws. My method for doing it will be developing theory or refining theory instead of doing experiments to verify or search for manifestation of physical laws. In short, I am passionate in theoretical physics.

    I think to do a good theoretical physics one has to closely interact with excellent physicists around the world. However, for some reasons, I am not able to go abroad for physics study (graduate and post-doc) and can only stay in my own country in which stimulating scientific atmosphere is not here. Then, my question is, do you think this will be a big problem to me? Will it be sufficient if I interact with excellent physicists simply by means of conference and emails, instead of face-to-face interaction?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2007 #2
    This is not a good description of how science operates. It might be a fair description of the difference between engineering and physics.

    Which country are you in, what area of theory are you interested in, and why do you feel there isn't a good atmosphere there?
  4. May 23, 2007 #3
    hi Locarian,

    I would like to keep where i am from a secret.. sorry ya..

    The point is, due to limited resources that are allocated for scientific development in my country, most of the resources will be given to those science that can bring my country money as a reward. In other words, science for fundamental understanding of nature is not really encouraged here. So.. I feel quiet worried, as i know, to do goos science one can't isolate himself/herself from the other scientists. However, I realize that the only way I keep myself in contact with those excellent scientists will only be a short-period ones like conference... I really wish to immerse myself in a stimulating scientific community like that one in coperhagen last time!

    By the way, work in any field is just OK for me because I realize that the greatest joy that I can have is to work with excellent people in playing with nature.
    Last edited: May 23, 2007
  5. May 23, 2007 #4
    I asked what area of theory you were interested in because one does not just study "theory." You may be in condensed matter theory, or high energy physics theory, etc.

    In any case, in theory you will typically work along side experimentalists. If there aren't any where you are, you may be out of luck. More importantly, if there isn't a good adviser, professors and others who can guide you, I don't know what you expect to do.
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