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General Relativity and Quantum field theory

  1. Sep 28, 2007 #1
    Since I'm very interested in General Relativity and Quantum field theory, I'd like to start a doctoral program abroad after my master study (I'm studying in Switzerland and will get my master degree in approximately 1.5 years).

    I was surfing around in the internet and found for example the university in Canterbury in Newzeeland. Is this an advisable university for theoretical physics?
    Or does anyone know a physics department which is specialized in General Relativity and Quantum field theory?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2007 #2

    Chris Hillman

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    Don't do it!

    Gravitation physics is overcrowded and divisive. People I know who worked in that field have mostly left it, for some pretty good reasons. (Hmm... Canterbury... did you hear a different take from Roy Kerr, then?)

    What about information theory? See https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=183900
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2007
  4. Sep 28, 2007 #3


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    I hope you realize that it is a VERY specialized field. While GR, quantum field theory etc tend to get a lot of publicity in popular science the reality is that very few physicists actually work in these field; there are probably only a few hundred in the whole world that work on GR, string theory etc full time.
    The vast majority of all physicists work in solid-state physics and related fields; and even then it is difficult to find academic positions.
  5. Sep 28, 2007 #4

    Chris Hillman

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    Ditto f95toli, and good point. "Overcrowded" means "overcrowded puddle" compared to the sea of solid state physics :wink:
  6. Sep 28, 2007 #5
    David Wiltshire (Canterbury) is really the only person in New Zealand who works on quantum gravity.

    You might be able to hunt down some more prospective supervisors by looking at

    And you might also look for organizations for physicists in this specialty.

    Since you are doing your master's, you might get good advice from your current supervisor and his/her PhD students.
  7. Sep 28, 2007 #6

    George Jones

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    At Victoria University of Wellington, Matt Visser works on general relativity, quantum field theory, and cosmolgy.
  8. Sep 28, 2007 #7
    My statement stands amended!
  9. Sep 28, 2007 #8

    Chris Hillman

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    New Zealand: Center of the Universe (of Gravitational Physics)

    Matt Visser is in fact IMO almost* the only person who (with students and coworkers) is currently doing useful work in theoretical gravitation physics. (Apart from the odd contribution in classical relativity.)

    Note to OP: Visser's papers are among the best in part because they are well written, so go ahead and look some up even though (I presume) you currently lack the background to fully appreciate them. I happen to enjoy solving PDEs, so I like his papers on ssspfs (static spherically symmetric perfect fluid solutions), but his most important work is probably this stuff: http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2005-12/index.html [Broken] If it ever becomes possible to experimentally verify an analogue of Hawking radiation, this would surely result in a Nobel Prize. And it has nothing to do with string theory or gtr. Rather, any other reasonable gravitation theory must of course obey the laws of thermodynamics. But while this principle seems reasonable, it must be checked ASAP.

    *Ted Jacobson also comes to mind. (Before you ask, unless I have misunderstood something, John Baez no longer works directly in gravitation physics. But he has a PF account https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=173713 [Broken] so I should really let him speak for himself.)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  10. Oct 1, 2007 #9
    Thank you for your advices!

    I really don't want to do some kind of pop science, I'm more interested in the theoretical physic of General Relativity and Quantum field theory. So, I think (after reading your tips) New Zealand, Canada or UK would be the best.
    I already know it's hard to find an open position for doing a doctoral program, especially when you haven't studied at a university with a very good reputation.

    So, do you think, I have a real chance to get into this very specialized field? On which factors does it depend?
  11. Aug 16, 2008 #10
    there's a lot of physics students in Syria havnt ever heard about
    General Relativity and Quantum Mecanis Applications....
    just a few peple are intersted in QT and GR in Syria
    in fact...most physicians after the graduate are teaching physics
    for students in schools....
    Unfortunately, physical researches are limite here...
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