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How mathy are gravitational waves?

  1. Oct 31, 2008 #1
    I'm about to head off to graduate school and (like many other physics students) I love theory, and especially GR, which is what my undergraduate research has been in.

    But, I'm also aware of the limitations on eventually finding a job. I'd eventually like to work. So, I've been tossing around the idea of leaning more towards gravitational wave physics than just pure gravity theory. However, I also love math (pure math) and am wondering - if I move to gravitational waves, will I have to say goodbye to my favorite mathematical objects (diffeomorphisms, groups, etc) forever? Because that would make me sad... I LOVE the math in GR; in fact, I'm pretty sure that's mostly why I love GR...

    any thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2008 #2
    i have no idea how mathy gravitational waves can be, but i would say you should get a more practical education to get work.
  4. Nov 1, 2008 #3
    Don't make a major decision to give up studying something you really love.

    At least make a good faith effort to learn what types of research and the numbers of jobs are available in your area. Certain areas are more forgiving to masters level graduates while others may typically require PHD's. One apparoach could be to find work at the Masters level and let your employer support you while you work towards your PHD.
  5. Nov 1, 2008 #4


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    Unless you decide to move towards the experimental part of gravitational wave research (i.e., trying to see them), you won't have to give up any math. Any purely theoretical subject like this will contain enough math to keep just about anyone happy (although I'm not quite sure where the group theory would fit in, but it has a tendency to creep in anything)
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