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Most competitive field in physics?

  1. Nov 3, 2013 #1
    I was wondering what the most competitive field is in physics right now, in terms of graduate school admissions, and also in physics research?

    Condensed matter is definitely the field with the most number of physicists working on, but is it necessarily the most competitive? For example, there are less high energy physicists than condensed matter physicists, but is high energy just as competitive, if not more, since arguably everyone in high energy are the best and brightest?

    Also, in graduate school application, there might be more wanting to get into condensed matter than high energy, but I'm guessing there's also more openings for the former than the latter?

    Can someone please shed some light on this matter?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2013 #2


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    Condensed matter physicists often work in industry - especially in the semiconductor industry, but others as well.

    Are there any industrial positions for high energy physicists? Astrophysicists? So they all work in academia or national labs. There are fewer positions, so there is more competition for the slots.

    I don't think that makes them "the best and the brightest" - which is merely an old slogan.
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