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Is Elementary Particles important for research in Solid State?

  1. Oct 28, 2012 #1
    Hi,

    So here is the contents of this Elementary Particles course:

    introduction to families of particles , relativistic kinematics applied to reaction cross-sections and decay rates; symmetries and conservation laws, isospin, strangeness, charm, beauty; parity and CP violation in weak interactions; quark model of hadrons; high-energy accelerators and detectors; applications of particle physics in heavy-ion collisions.

    Will this be useful for research in solid state physics (theoretical) ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2012 #2
    My advice? Get some solid-state (the preferred term is 'condensed matter' now, I believe) physics textbooks and look at the subjects covered. That should give you a good idea what you're going to need from every branch, including Elementary Particles.

    Cheers!
     
  4. Oct 28, 2012 #3

    ZapperZ

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    I don't get this. Why are you curious if a course in Elementary Particles will be useful in solid state physics? Are you done with all your QFT/Condensed matter classes and are just so bored, you'd add a class like this?

    Zz.
     
  5. Oct 28, 2012 #4
    I don't get this response. Isn't it a good thing to be interested in other subfields and trying to find uses for this knowledge in your own field? That's part of what creativity is.
     
  6. Oct 28, 2012 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Everything is important. And while that's a true statement, it's not a very useful statement. You need to ask yourself what else you would be doing instead and whether X is more important than Y.
     
  7. Oct 28, 2012 #6

    radium

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    I am only an undergrad, but I am currently doing research in condensed matter theory so I would say I have a fair amount of exposure to the field. Relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum field theory are most definitely relevant in condensed matter theory, especially in areas like topological insulators which rely on the spin orbit interaction and topological properties which can depend on symmetries like time reversal, inversion, and gauge invariance. I would also say that particle physics has begun to appear in solid state systems quite a bit recently. For example, one of the professors in my group predicted that majorana fermions could exist at interfaces between topological insulators and superconductors.
     
  8. Oct 28, 2012 #7
    It is likely that you asked if this course is useful for solid state research and, of course, if you have the option, more condensed matter courses would be useful first.
     
  9. Oct 28, 2012 #8

    ZapperZ

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    Who said it isn't "good"?

    I am just curious why someone would want to do that considering that there are plenty of other stuff one can study FIRST before venturing out into other subfields.

    Furthermore, for many of us who are physicists, we tend to study these other subfields AFTER we have satisfactorily mastered what we are supposed to know within our fields. That's why I wanted to know if this person has taken all the other directly-related classes already!

    Zz.
     
  10. Oct 28, 2012 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Here's news for you: evidence for Majorana fermions have already been found!

    QFT is vital in condensed matter physics. That's why I asked you if you've done all your QFT/condensed matter classes already! I would even put a class in group theory as something more important ahead of taking a class in elementary particles.

    But somehow, by asking that question, people seem to think that I'm telling you that a course in elementary particles is useless and shouldn't be considered. This is a horrible series of deduction and logic!

    Zz.
     
  11. Oct 28, 2012 #10
    Thanks everyone for the responses.

    To clarify: I plan to take ALL the subjects that are important for me, in my first two years.

    This includes QM I&II, ED I&II, Solid State I&II and QFT.

    Now the point is that next semester I have the opportunity to take QM II and ED II and Solid State I.

    The other available courses are not "directly" related to my interests, and one of them is Elementary Particles. That's why I am asking if this is relevant or not.
     
  12. Oct 28, 2012 #11

    radium

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    I'm not the original poster, I was just sharing my experience with research in condensed matter theory. And yes, I know evidence for majorana fermions has already been found. I was just sayinf that a professor I knew had predicted that majorana modes could exist between the interface between a topological insulator and a superconductor which led to the idea of using a device with a Josephson junction with two superconductors made on top of bismuth selenide.
     
  13. Oct 28, 2012 #12

    ZapperZ

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    If you are trying to impress upon me that condensed matter physics can provide answers to our fundamental questions, and that it is as important to our understanding of our universe as any of the so-called "fundamental physics" areas, then you're preaching to the choir. Anyone who has been here long enough can tell you of my track record in trying to debunk the myth that condensed matter physics is nothing more than "applied" physics. One only has to look at Anderson's broken symmetry concept and how it has permeated throughout physics to be aware of this.

    Zz.
     
  14. Oct 28, 2012 #13
    Just to clarify, I am in graduate level, so I am talking about graduate level courses.
     
  15. Oct 28, 2012 #14
    This reponse would make more sense if not for the snarkiness of the original reply. In particular, "I don't get this" and "are you just bored?" Why didn't you just ask if he'd taken his more directly-related classes already rather than ask him if he was just bored and saying that you "didn't get it" when he hadn't even said what classes he had taken yet?

    Also, who decides what "you are supposed to know" within your field?
     
  16. Oct 28, 2012 #15
    I doubt this is true. "More condensed matter courses" is not always the answer, and would depend on what you are trying to get out of the courses and how many/what you have taken already.

    Interest in the specific course is essential to what you will get out of it. Research into creativity would suggest he should absolutely take the particle physics course, assuming he isn't neglecting his other coursework duties (and I still don't understand why the assumption is automatically that he is neglecting his other courses simply because he asked a question).
     
  17. Oct 28, 2012 #16
    This discussion somewhat deflected from its original purpose.
     
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