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Other PhD interview question to 'why do you want to study astrophysics'

  • Thread starter binbagsss
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My dissertation was basically a literature review of sean caroll lecture notes on general relativity.

I got a first in this, and got offered phd interviews with the supervisors being aware of this so it must suffice? but i'm unsure how you explain the motives and conclusion of such a piece of work, which is a common interview question, when by doing a literature review I have pretty much, almost, produced my own set of lecture notes.

and this is a common question in interviews that throws me.

any advice?

thanks alot.
 

Choppy

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I think it's fine to present this as a literature review. The problem really seems like the question you're expecting is geared towards someone who took on a small project and did some experiments, simulations or other computations. With respect to motives for a literature review you could start with why it was important to study these lecture notes on general relativity for you personally. What did you hope to accomplish with this work at the outset? Where you able to do that?

Conclusions might be a little harder to make from a literature review, but you could start with some general conclusions about the material you learned while doing the review. If you had to summarize what you've learned in a paragraph, what would it say? What tools does this information now give you to pursue further studies?
 
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My answer is something along these lines, does this sound alright?

I don't have some child-hood story and I haven't always dreamt to study astrophysics. I've enjoyed my academia alot and feel as though I have more to offer as an independent researcher, I have always wanted to do a PhD- I did my final project undergraduate in general relativity and I was grateful to finish on the studying the most beautiful theory I had seen, beforehand I knew very little about general relativity. The current cosmological constant model being based on general relativity, I realised perhaps I could study astrophysics or cosmology. I've since been very excited about this and there can be no field more exciting than addressing the fundamental questions that have fascinated mankind for years and researching phenomena occurring light years, astronomical observations continually discover new situations, as a result of revolutionary techniques. To increase my background knowledge and hope of pursuing a PhD in astrophysics, and after very much enjoying general relativity, I have chosen to do my masters level research project in modified theories of gravity and cosmology.
 
1,155
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I think it's fine to present this as a literature review. The problem really seems like the question you're expecting is geared towards someone who took on a small project and did some experiments, simulations or other computations. With respect to motives for a literature review you could start with why it was important to study these lecture notes on general relativity for you personally. What did you hope to accomplish with this work at the outset? Where you able to do that?

Conclusions might be a little harder to make from a literature review, but you could start with some general conclusions about the material you learned while doing the review. If you had to summarize what you've learned in a paragraph, what would it say? What tools does this information now give you to pursue further studies?
ok thanks

erm I thought on something like this for the intro/motives (I havent gone on why personal for me, is this ok?)

General covariance motivated Einstein to genereralise special relativity (the principle only holding in inertial frames to relative accelerated frames)

Unexplained precession of perihelion of Mercury by Newtonian formulation


and this for the conclusion

cosmological constant problem, the cosmological constant not naturally arising-other means to explain dark energy/ universe accelerating? the coincidence problem, all motivate modified theories of gravity .


sound ok or? (have touched on how I will continue the concluding leads of this project to my next project)
 
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You can probably ditch the childhood story sentence and go right into why you want to do this and what your motivation is.
 

Dr. Courtney

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Reminds me when my (wife to be)'s dad asked me if I loved his daughter as part of the approval process. I assured him that I did, but confessed that I was a bit stuck about how to convince a dad it was true. Love for a subfield of physics is kinda similar. It is hard to prove, but something about the look in your eye and the sincerity in your heart when you answer the question will likely be good enough.
 
1,155
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You can probably ditch the childhood story sentence and go right into why you want to do this and what your motivation is.
Thanks
I was just trying to say it hasn't always been my dream, ( I've kind of strayed away from it tbh because of its sci-fi large pop science side it attracts after high school, early undergrad ) but it is now.

This instead, as my starting sentence ? ?

Astrophysics hasn't been my dream through and through, since after high school, but it is now. . I've enjoyed my academia alot ...
 
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Don’t use nots when starting off. It brings a negative self deprecating feeling to your writing.

You want this just say why.
 

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