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Help with chosing Uni (UK)

  1. Jun 18, 2008 #1
    Ill be making my decision soon in the next few months as to the Uni I will want to go to in about a years time. I had a hard time choosing between physics and maths, but I think rested on physics. Im really looking for advice on which uni to chose based on my interests, I have quite a good look but really value the opinions of people on PF.

    Im really interested in Differential Geometry, General and Special relativity and cosmology, one of the main thing that has really interested me is Miguel Alcubierres warp drive metric, and research around that, which I know isnt really a big research area at all. Can anyone suggest any UK unis that have good research in those areas. Ive also seen that Manchester offer a theoretical physics course, and its got such a large research department coupled with the observatory up there it looks really good, has anyone got any info on the course or better yet doing it. I have look at Oxford and Cambridge, and really like the idea of much smaller intimate session, I know also Manchester have a similar thing too. Any comments would be a great help, thanks :-)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2008 #2
    I took a theoretical physics degree at Manchester, it's pretty good, although from the interests you listed, it sounds like you would maybe enjoy the mathematics/physics joint honours degree, rather than theoretical physics.

    To be honest at undergrad level there is not that much difference between physics courses accross the UK in terms of content. All will include QM, spec rel, Electromag etc. At Manchester even if you are not enrolled in the theoretical course, you can still take theory courses, my friend who did just straight physics, studied exactly the same courses as myself, the only difference was he had a bit more lab , whereas I had more computational based assignments etc. So really just comes down to how much you like lab.

    At Manchester, you wont meet Differential geometry and the like until 4th year, and that is in the context of the General relativity course, not a stand alone course. Plus with math/phys joint you will take things like algebraic geometry, which will be useful for graduate research if you go into the more theoretical areas of string theory. Plus you will get out of a lot of lab, which is always a positive in my book.

    Going to Cambridge does have the advantage, that you will take part III of their mathematical tripos, which will enable you to do a PhD at DAMTP if your interests are in mathematical physics. (normally you would have to get your BS or even masters from another UK university, and still have to go to Cambridge for a year to take part III, before being eligible to do a PhD at DAMTP).

    Manchester does have strong research interests in particle theory and phenomenology, but not so much string theory, if that is what you're looking toward. If it's string theory you are interested in Durham, Imperial, DAMTP, Oxford spring to mind.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
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