I've narrowed down a short list of a dozen or so graduate programs it looks like I'd like to apply to. I've heard that it helps to email professors involved in the work I'm interested in, but I'm doing the socially-awkward-penguin and am kinda at a loss for what to say or how to go about saying it. Obviously asking people about their research is a good idea, but I'm finding that either departments just list a bunch of people in a theory group without any personal pages/info or when they do list individual research it's usually pretty straightforward. Either I already feel very comfortable with the concepts in a certain area and what the work entails or it's a pretty deep product of QFT/mathematical physics that I'm not yet fully qualified to say I understand. Any advice on how to email professors to introduce oneself, get good information or anything else I should be conveying/asking?