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  1. Jun 23, 2005 #1

    I'll be doing my Master's thesis in superstring theory next year. I'm currently still taking my exams, but once I'm done I have an appointment with my promotor about literatue studies. I'm wondering if you guys could be able to give me a few references, in order to get a first taste already.

    The topic would be "Wilson lines in D=2 superspace with boundries".

    Thanks in advance
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2005 #2


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    Although personally I am not so interested in superstring theory, I can offer
    you an article to look at:

    Open Wilson Lines and Group Theory of Noncommutative Yang-Mills Theory in Two Dimensions
    L.D. Paniak, R.J. Szabo
    37 pages
    JHEP 0305 (2003) 029

    "The correlation functions of open Wilson line operators in two-dimensional Yang-Mills theory on the noncommutative torus are computed exactly. The correlators are expressed in two equivalent forms. An instanton expansion involves only topological numbers of Heisenberg modules and enables extraction of the weak-coupling limit of the gauge theory. A dual algebraic expansion involves only group theoretic quantities, winding numbers and translational zero modes, and enables analysis of the strong-coupling limit of the gauge theory and the high-momentum behaviour of open Wilson lines. The dual expressions can be interpreted physically as exact sums over contributions from virtual electric dipole quanta."

    Perhaps by looking in the bibliography of references at the end of this article, or checking for other articles by the same author(s), you can get some leads that will help you carry out your literature search. Not being an expert in this area I can only say "perhaps" this could be helpful. Happy hunting.
  4. Jun 24, 2005 #3
    Thanks alot. The references were very interesting, some good introductiary text for non commutative QFT in two dimensions. Me like!
  5. Jun 24, 2005 #4


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    Glad to know it was the right sort! I hope that exams are going well and also that you get some more suggestions from others for your literature search.
  6. Jun 24, 2005 #5


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    Greetings and best of luck in your studies. A comprehensive arxiv search on "Wilson loops" would be a good start. From there, you could make a list of authors and look at what each has written to find other key words to look for. Then, you could print out the good paper and cull all the interesting references in them. That should give you a pretty good baseline in the literature.
  7. Jun 24, 2005 #6


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    I do not want to be rude, but may i ask why you have chosen ST?
  8. Jun 24, 2005 #7


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    wolram, I don't know what the situation and customs are in a Belgian university, but you might be curious to know about the parallel situation in a US university.

    Here the choice of topic for the Masters thesis is not so important except in broad categories like theoretical versus experimental. What is important is to choose a good "thesis advisor"

    the Masters student should choose an advisor that he likes and respects and can talk comfortably with, because he will be getting all sorts of guidance and suggestions and sometimes help from that person

    I think in Dimitri post he says "my promoter" to mean what we call "masters thesis advisor".

    it is very usual that once the student has found an advisor who agrees to take him on, then the one who chooses the topic is the advisor, not the student.

    If you have found an advisor who wants to work with you and you like that person then you dont worry what is the thesis problem. You just take whatever thesis problem the advisor offers and you go with it.

    maybe sometimes it is different, but that is not an unusual pattern.

    the masters thesis does not necessarily determine your whole life. It CAN determine your career if you stay with the same advisor and continue on in the same field. But it can also simply be a good chance to get acquainted with some area and then later you can do your main PhD research (and start your research career) in an entirely different area

    I am just telling you how things might look at a US university. maybe we will hear more from Dimitri about how the Belgian system works for grad studies.
  9. Jun 24, 2005 #8


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    OH my, what a predicament
    ,My best wishes go to Dimitri
  10. Jun 24, 2005 #9


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    well I do not think of it as a predicament but really as a privileged position ot be in! and anyway it may be better for him in Belgium. I have no inkling as to how graduate study is organized except in a small sample of US schools---must plead ignorance of larger picture
  11. Jul 4, 2005 #10
    Sorry for the lateness of my reply, I've just had a death in the family.

    The way graduate studies here work is somewhat different from the US. Basically, anyone attending university is expected to get their Masters. Otherwise you go to "hoge school" which is of the same level as your typical US undergraduate college.

    In physics, the first master year is spent taking a graduate level course on everything the university offers. In my case QM, QED, mathematical methods, statistical physics, elementary particle physics, solid state physics, NMR, astrophysics and quantum chemistry.

    The second year you specialize. You choose broadly between theoretical, experimental or applied physics. You then need to choose your promotor, or thesis adviser. Depending on who it is, you either choose from a few avaible topics (like in my case), or you can work on something you suggest.

    The reason I chose strings is because I have alot of admiration and respect for the professor doing it. The year will consist of heavy courses in both theoretical and experimental elementary particle physics. So even if ST ends up being a dead end, I'll have a good training so I can switch to something else later on. The idea is to start a doctoral program after the next year, but I might branch out to aerospace engineering instead.

    I have an appointment next Wednesday to discuss work for the summer, as well as a introductiary course in non-abelian gauge theories :biggrin:
  12. Jul 4, 2005 #11
    Hallo Dimitri, hoe waren de examens ? :wink:

    I was in a similar situation in my final year. You know what i did my master thesis about. In order to 'fully understand' quarkconfinement i had to begin with a big paper on colour confinement and the dual abelian higgs model. Ofcourse just to be able to understand this you need a strong QFT knowledge. But i started studying QFT as a subject in my final year, so you can see that was quite difficult. I started out with Zee's book on my own just to get started, during the academic year i had a lot of talks with my promotor. I am sure your promotor will know him, it is Prof Henri Verschelde of UGent. I believe your main theoretical physics guy is Sevrin, right ?

    Indeed you can do something totally different after you get your master degree. I am doing a phd in nanotechnology now and i really feel that having a profound knowledge of QFT really helped out to understand better certain aspects of solid state physics like quasi particles, plasmons, polaritons, Density Functional Theory, self energy, ...some of these concepts are used in the DFT-software code that i use every day.

  13. Jul 4, 2005 #12
    Well, the exams were going ok, till my grandfather died. Due to that I wasn't able to participate with the last few, so that'll have to wait for september I'm afraid...

    I'm indeed doing my thesis with Sevrin. I've heard of Verschelde, if I were at the RUG I would have probabely have done it with him :)

    I have Zee's book, but I'm waiting for my next meeting with my prof to see what works he thinks I need to study. I got the impression he rather likes
    'An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory' by M. Peskin and D. Schroeder. Does anyone have any experience with it?
  14. Jul 4, 2005 #13


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    P&S (as it's called) is probably by now the most widely used graduate textbook on QFT in the US. Its emphasis is on learning to do the practical calculations of amplitude, cross sections, and such in real life situations. It doesn't touch mathematical physics at all, and only does things like LSZ and Ward identties fairly lightly. Pedagogically, I think it's very good; it uses a three stage approach to many concepts, first giving it to you to just learn and do calculations with, then giving you a deeper look with perturbation theory, and finally at least an introduction with literature references to the way it's understood today, maybe with gauge theory or renormalization group.
  15. Jul 5, 2005 #14

    Hans de Vries

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    I tend to prefer P&S for self-study over Zee's book. Although the latter has
    the name for being simpler. Zee sometimes has a tendency to "show off",
    race through the math in a flashy way to leave the reader behind.

    There are other good books I think as an Introduction. I recently bought
    Lewis Ryder's "Quantum Field Theory" which I feel is pedagogically even
    better than P&S. It starts and moves on rather broad with the whole
    of the SM (which is rather nice) and is more self-contained in its math.

    From the older books you'll find Sakurai's "Advanced Quantum mechanics"
    to be the most popular. As a reference work, the book from Itzykson and
    Zuber (Quantum Field Theory) contains lots of fundamental work from the
    20's 30's and 40's which seems to get lost in the modern QFT books.

    The modern books are very good in scattering amplitudes and cross-sections
    but they hardly ever handle the atomic spectra with the Pauli/Dirac theories.

    Regards, Hans.
  16. Jul 5, 2005 #15


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    Please accept my condolences.

    Even if ST doesn't pan out, there is likely to be plenty of need for non-abelian gauge theories. I don't know of any quantum gravity program that doesn't use them.
  17. Jul 9, 2005 #16
    I just finished a course in Quantum Field Theory. There are a few texts I found useful:

    - Bjorken and Drell (the famous BJ&D) books (1) Relativistic Quantum Mechanics, followed by (2) Relativistic Quantum Fields
    -Warren Siegel's very comprehensive treatment (3) "Fields", available online.
    - (4) P.J Mulder's (from Vrije University, Amsterdam) lecture notes available online
    - (5) The lecture notes of a guy surnamed Drummond, from DAMPT (Cambridge) (not sure if still available online)
    - (6) 'The Quantum Theory of Fields' (Vol.1) by Steven Weinberg
    - (7) 'Quantum Field Theory', by Mandl and Shaw
    - (8) 'Advanced Quantum Mechanics', by J.J. Sakurai

    I did not use the fashionable ones (Peskin & Schroeder, Zee), but a friend who used P&S found it very good, at least for the course we're doing.
    Nice reading : )
  18. Jul 11, 2005 #17
    Thanks Nitin, the course from the Vrije Universiteit is very useful.
    Are you Dutch by any chance.

    Anyway, I just came back from my promotor, and he gave me Weinberg's GR book to study, as a prep for next year. Seems interesting...
  19. Jul 11, 2005 #18


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    Probably the best theorist they've had there since years ! I had (unfortunately) his predecessor as a professor, and his QFT course was very bad... Severin arrived when I was about finishing my PhD with the experimentalists on the first floor. I think with a guy like Severin things can only work out well.
    Good luck !
  20. Jul 16, 2005 #19
    Vanesch, you studied at the VUB? :smile:

    When was this? How did you end up in France? Any funny anecdotes from your time here? :biggrin:
  21. Jul 17, 2005 #20


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    Yes, I started out as a "Burgerlijk Werktuigkundig-Electrotechnisch ingenieur" in the K-building and after that I wanted to do physics. They didn't let me in at the F-G building, so I went to Leuven, where I did my "kandidatuur" in the summer months and started the graduate cycle. But then I got a phone call that I could start immediately a PhD if I came back to the VUB, in experimental particle physics. As an idiot, I accepted :rolleyes:
    When I finally started that, it turned out that I needed my masters (licentie) in physics to be legally able to do a PhD, so I did that masters program in parallel (in the mean time I was also a TA in elementary particles - after all, I was a PhD student, so I got myself as a student in certain courses !).
    I was a bit burned out on the experimental stuff (I have to say that I preferred theory, and I found out that the experimental work is much more remote from theory than I initially thought - this is much less the case in the applied sciences for instance, where I did a lot of theoretical work on non-linear systems), so I went to work for HP (now Agilent). But the group (also based at the VUB, in an agreement between HP and the university) got troubles (not its fault at all, but financial problems in the division of Santa Rosa that was responsible for it), so I felt the tide changing, and preferred to leave before the group sank.
    So I became a lecturer in electronics and electricity at the Hogeschool Gent, but I missed the research community. Then I got a phone call that they needed someone for a remote project in France, on the ESRF. As my wife is French, I accepted... but the job wasn't what I thought it was (there's more to it, but I won't write this on a public forum). So I applied at the institute next doors, and that's where I still am.
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