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Programs Daily life of a theoretical physics PhD student?

  1. Jul 14, 2010 #1
    Hey PF,

    I am a third year undergraduate who has been working in a HEP experimental group for two years. So I have had a good deal of experience with the research process, and I know basically what the grad students and postdocs spend their time on in my group.

    I am still completely clueless as to what a theory grad student does all day though?!? The experimental guys in my group spend a lot of time designing different analysis programs or doing one analysis or another or playing with monte carlos, etc.

    On a day to day basis what would a theory guy be doing? Sitting in front of a chalkboard thinking? Reading papers and writing commentary like a humanities student? Talking?

    I really have no idea and that should probably change before I apply for grad school...

    Thanks PF.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2010 #2


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    Well, I'm not doing all theory, but I'm doing some theory and some observation. My days are spent sleeping in, showing up in time for lunch, working until 7 or 8, heading home, working a bit more often, then going to bed. While I'm in the office, I spend a lot of time modeling systems on the computer - writing and running code - and then trying to match it up with my observations (I'm doing astrophysics). There's some reading and there should be a lot of writing involved, but I find it hard to motivate myself to write as often as I should. And yes, a lot of talking with my adviser - I wouldn't seek him out too much on my own, but he doesn't like his office and stops by mine a few times a day.
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