Final project on scattering amplitudes: pros and cons?

In summary: It is also important to have open and honest discussions with your current supervisor and potential supervisors to get a better understanding of the projects and their expectations. Ultimately, choose a project that you are passionate about and motivated to work on, as this will lead to a more fulfilling and successful experience.Best of luck in your decision-making process and future endeavors.Sincerely,[Your name]
  • #1
InertiaTensor
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Hi everyone, with this thread I kindly seek for advice from more experienced people to hear as many opinions as possible. I will try to explain the situation clearly:

I am doing a 4 years Msci programme in Theoretical Physics, in which I almost completed the third year. During the third year, students were required to present a review project on a topic agreed with their project supervisor. My supervisor is an Amplitudeologist, so my project was an introduction to the novel methods for calculating scattering amplitudes. This was done without any background in quantum field theory and was a short projects (one term only, about 3 months) so I just treated the basics (spinor-helicity formalism, and simple tree-level gluon scattering with the aid of recursion relations), and I admit that I did not have the best of times trying to put together in a short time ideas that I felt I could not fully understand and appreciate.
The next choice I have to make is about my last year's project, and since my aim is to get a PhD, I would like this choice to be tailored into increasing my chances.
One of the options would be to carry on with the same supervisor and advance on scattering amplitude. His opinion is that if I manage to get a good knowledge on the topic, there would be an higher chance of getting a research student position into a group of amplitudeologists, since they would not have to lecture me on the basis of the field. This sounds legit but I am also thinking about the risk of not doing well. If I decide to go for it, I plan to spend the summer studying quantum field theory and reinforcing the basics of the topic to be able to do some serious work next year, but I wonder if this would be enough.

Eventually this is the question: is it worth carrying on with amplitudes? Is this going to restrict my chances for a PhD to only one field? In this case, how much are amplitudeologists requested, and what is your feeling about the future of the field?
Otherwise, what do you think about choosing a different supervisor and going for a completely different project that would allow me to explore some other field of physics?
Thank you for reading this.
 
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  • #2

Thank you for reaching out for advice on your situation. As a fellow scientist, I understand the importance of making informed decisions for your academic and career path. I will do my best to provide you with my opinion and suggestions based on my experience and knowledge.

Firstly, I want to commend you for your dedication and effort in completing your review project on scattering amplitudes. It is not an easy topic and it is impressive that you were able to learn and present it in a short period of time. However, as you mentioned, you did not have a strong background in quantum field theory and may not have fully understood the topic. This is a valid concern and it is important to have a strong foundation in a subject before delving deeper into it.

In terms of your options for your last year's project, I believe it is important to choose a topic that aligns with your interests and strengths. If you are passionate about scattering amplitudes and feel that you have the potential to excel in this field, then continuing with your current supervisor may be a good option. As your supervisor mentioned, having a strong background in scattering amplitudes may increase your chances of getting a research position in a group that focuses on this topic. However, it is also important to consider the potential risks and challenges, especially if you feel that you may struggle with the subject without a stronger foundation in quantum field theory.

On the other hand, if you are interested in exploring other fields of physics and feel that you may benefit from a different supervisor and project, then it may be worth considering this option. It is always good to have a diverse skill set and knowledge in different areas of physics, and this may open up more opportunities for you in the future. Additionally, it is important to choose a project that you are genuinely interested in and motivated to work on, as this will have a positive impact on your performance.

In terms of the demand for amplitudeologists and the future of the field, it is difficult to predict. However, I believe that as long as you have a strong foundation in physics and research skills, you will have opportunities in various fields and topics. It is also worth mentioning that the skills and knowledge you gain from studying scattering amplitudes can be applied to other areas of physics, so it may not limit your options for a PhD or future career.

In summary, my advice would be to carefully consider your interests, strengths, and potential challenges before making a decision.
 

1. What is the purpose of studying scattering amplitudes in physics?

Scattering amplitudes are used to calculate the probability of particles interacting and changing direction during collisions. This is important for understanding the fundamental forces and behaviors of particles in the universe.

2. What are some advantages of using scattering amplitudes in theoretical physics?

Scattering amplitudes provide a more efficient and elegant way to calculate particle interactions compared to traditional Feynman diagrams. They also allow for the study of extremely high-energy processes that are not possible to observe in experiments.

3. Are there any limitations to using scattering amplitudes in theoretical physics?

One limitation is that the calculations can become very complex and difficult to solve for more than a few particles. Additionally, the results may not always match up with experimental data, leading to further refinements and adjustments.

4. How do scattering amplitudes contribute to our understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics?

Scattering amplitudes play a crucial role in the prediction and confirmation of the existence of new particles, such as the Higgs boson, within the Standard Model. They also help to refine and validate the equations and interactions within the model.

5. What are some potential applications of scattering amplitudes in other fields of science?

Aside from their use in high-energy physics, scattering amplitudes are also being explored in other fields such as condensed matter physics, quantum information theory, and cosmology. They have the potential to provide insights into various phenomena and systems beyond particle interactions.

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