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Jobs statistics in beyond the standard model's PHD's doctorants.

  1. Mar 17, 2009 #1


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    Are there any statistics on PHD doctorants whose thesis was on beyond the standard model, I mean how many percentage of them got to keep working in this field after they got their PHD?
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  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2


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    You may get a different perspective from others, here's my impression. I've seen some statistics specifically about string theory (where the numbers are large enough to have statistics about.) I don't have links but I remember seeing figures about number of PhDs per year, number of first-time faculty hires, average number of years spent post-doc before faculty job, and so on. So the answer there would be yes, there are relevant statistics.

    The picture is quite different in non-string quantum gravity.
    You can get an idea of post-PhD prospects simply by eyeballing three websites:
    Rovelli, Ashtekar, Loll.

    With Rovelli, let's take a recent sample: PhDs completed since 2000.
    I see 10, most of whom continue to work in QG---I see their papers on arxiv and their talks listed at conferences.

    1. Alejandro Perez (University of Cordoba)
    Completed May 2001
    “Finiteness of Spin Foam models”
    Alejandro Perez has obtained an Assistant Professor postion at the Penn State University,
    in State College, USA. He has then obtained the position of Maitre de Conference at the
    Université de la Méditerranée, in Marseille, France.

    2. Marcus Gaul (Munich University)
    Completed 2001
    “Hamiltonian constraint in LQG”

    3. Richard Livine (Université de la Méditerranée).
    Completed 2002
    “Modèles de mousse de spin” (Prix de Thèse 2003 de l’Université de la Méditerranée)
    Richard Livine has a permanent CR2 (Chargé de Recherche) position at the Ecole National
    Superieure de Lyon, France.

    4. Daniele Colosi (Université de la Méditerranée et Università di Roma)
    Completed Mars 2005
    “Dynamique quantique covariante”
    Daniele Colosi has obtained a postdoctoral position at the University of Morelia, Mexico.

    5. Luisa Doplicher (Università di Roma)
    Completed February 2005
    “Teoria dei campi quantistica covariante”
    Luisa Doplicher has obtained a postdoctoral position at the Sissa, Trieste, Italy.

    6. Florian Conrady (Berlin University)
    Completed September 2005
    “The classical limit of spin foam models”
    Florian Conrady has obtained a postdoctoral position at Penn State University, State College,

    7. Simone Speziale (Università di Roma)
    Completed January 2006
    “2d Quantum Gravity”
    Simone Speziale has obtained a postdoctoral position at the Perimeter Institute, Toronto.

    8. Winston Fairbairn (Universitée de la Méditerranée)
    “Separability in LQG” (Prix de Thèse 2007 de l’Université de la Méditerranée)
    Winston Fairbairn has obtained a postdoctoral position in Nottingham, UK.

    9. Mauricio Mondragon Lopez (Universitée de la Méditerranée)
    Completed March 2008
    “Probability in relativistic quantum mechanics”

    10. Emanuele Alesci (Università di Roma III)
    Completed January 2008
    “Scattering amplitudes in LQG”

    Here's Rovelli's CV, scroll down for the list of PhDs.

    Loll has the same kind of list, but the numbers are smaller (before 2004 her approach was not very visible, it began getting attention and attracting students in 2004 when there was a landmark result).
    She lists 3 students who completed PhD with her. One was jointly supervised by Loll and 't Hooft and is in a different field, so doesn't count for our purposes. Both quantum gravity students that completed their PhDs with Loll are now postdocs continuing to work in QG. So far it looks good but too early to tell.

    I'll try to find something similar for Ashtekar.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  4. Mar 17, 2009 #3


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    Yes, the page here includes a list of Ashtekar PhDs, and in this case it looks like about 100% got to, but it is a small sample


    You asked specifically about "beyond" type research. Let's consider what that means. Aside from string that would mostly be nonstring QG like LQG and LQC and Loll's CDT.

    With Ashtekar, some of his PhDs don't do that. Some do their thesis research in more conventional lines, like classical General Relativity. For example, on isolated black hole horizons.

    So to be sure, I will pick out only those Ashtekar PhDs whose theses were specifically in Loop gravity and Loop cosmology
    Jonathan Engle "Black Hole Entropy, Constraints, and Symmetry in Quantum Gravity"

    Kevin Vandersloot "Loop Quantum Cosmology"

    Josh Willis "On the Low-Energy Ramifications and a Mathematical Extension of Loop Quantum Gravity"

    Kirill Krasnov "Spin Foam Models"

    All four are continuing professionally. Two have faculty positions and two are postdocs.
    Ashtekar's interests are broad and he has supervised PhDs outside specifically what you asked about, and some of those have even moved into LQG later.
    Alejandro Corichi would be an example. PhD with Ashtekar in something outside LQG, now prominent in LQG research. Your question implies continuing in the same direction as an LQG PhD thesis, so he wouldn't be counted since he started out in something else.

    As a rough estimate, there are at most a couple of hundred researchers in LQG worldwide. (The big conference now gets around 200-250 participants).
    Almost all these people moved into LQG from some other research area. So they would have done their dissertation research in some other topic that would not be discussed here at "beyond" forum and would not meet the qualifications of your question.

    It looks to me like the retention rate is remarkably high, to the extent we can measure it with the small sample that we have. If you know someone got their PhD in Loop (or in Loll's case in CDT) then chances are they're continuing research in that line.

    But the sample is small, and most Loop research is done by people who did their PhD research in some other branch of physics (including string) and then shifted over into Loop.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  5. Mar 17, 2009 #4


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    MathPhys, I must thank you for asking what turned out to be an interesting question. I think the demographics in LQG and LQC are related to, and sheds some light on, the quality of the research.

    There are older more established fields where a large proportion of the researchers were "born and raised" in that specialty line. In other words they aren't "immigrants" from some other branch of physics.

    By contrast, there has been a large growth in the number of people active in LQG and LQC, just in the past 4 or 5 years. (Before 2004 there weren't even enough to hold a conference :biggrin: The conference size has gone from around 50 to over 200.)

    And almost all that growth has been immigrants. People who voted with their feet, so to speak. They already had a research career started in some other type of physics (like string for example) and perhaps they saw a potential in LQG, or something that interested them and drew them in. Anyway for whatever reason they made the transition between career specialties, which isn't always easy.

    I don't know if that correlates with the character of the papers we are seeing, but it may. Both fields, LQG and LQC, are moving fast. A substantial portion of the papers currently appearing are innovative, and tend to alter the terrain, or the rules of the game.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
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