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Programs Phd in pure maths and theoretical physics

  1. Mar 7, 2005 #1
    im just wondering if there are such excellent grad students or soemone who already did accomplish getting a phd degree in pure maths and a phd in theoretical physics? (or are you familiar to such people?).

    i think this is insane even to think about it, let alone really doing it...
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2005 #2
    Well there is mathematical physics - but thats more like applied mathematics.

    Human knowledge has advanced to the point where it would be pretty difficult to contribute substantially to both of those fields. In the 19th century you had people like Gauss, Lagrange, etc.who were both brilliant mathematicans and physicists, but I can't think of anyone like that in the 20th century - Einstein might come close although alot of his formulation of GR was based on work by Minkowski. To my knowledge no one has won both the Fields Medal(considered to be the highest award in Mathematics) and the Nobel Prize in Physics.

    Nowadays, it seems scientists and even mathematicians are starting to do more of their important work later in their careers, which makes it even harder to be a switch hitter. Once you have a PhD in a hard science field or Mathematics, you don't get a second one, unless its "honorary". If you are a mathematican who wants to start doing theoretical physics, for instance, you just start working. I know someone who has a doctorate in math who is doing biology(bioinformatics though - not experimental).
  4. Mar 7, 2005 #3
    the two fields you mention are the two most compatable fiels to do this. Quantum Mechanics and Relativity both rely on a lot of theoretical math, so schientists who com out with PHd's in these fields usuall can scoop up a PH'd in Mathematics with a bit of hard work. On the other hand, the opposite is not true, theoretical physics takes a lot more work to achieve the concept. Today, this combination is not seen because if youre a theoretical physicist, you want to focus on research in the field you love, and the same goes for math PHd's.


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