PhD, Quantum Information and Condensed Matter Physics

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  • #1
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Hi everybody,

I ve been thinking a lot lately about the thesis I am supposed to start next year. I will study the categoric formulation for quantum mechanics, polytope correlations and links with the complexity theory (post quantum models etc).

But on the other hand, I find my courses on quantum field theory in condensed matter physics passioning: hearing about an E8 symmetry group particles for quantum phase transitions gives me goose bumps...:biggrin:

I tried to find on the internet some articles or researchers who combine both subjects but I found nothing.. :(

So I am asking all the people in this forum for their help, whether it is a simple opinion or some intresting article they heard of concerning these two subjects...I get really depressed whenever I make up my mind for one of the two subjects, because i like the other a lot too!

Thanks for your help! :wink:
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
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Can you think of anywhere where foundations might be applicable to field theory or CMT, or vice-versa? They are very different fields, and I don't know anybody who specializes in both.

I guess we need to find something that would require knowledge of both, but certainly nothing comes to mind. However, maybe you should try spamming the people at the University of Waterloo, as they have both the http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/" [Broken] which deals some of the foundations issues as they pertain to information theory.
 
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  • #4
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yes i agree with you, i think it's quite difficult (if not impossible) to mix up both. The thing is that I am studying in France, and here the foundations questions don't seem to interest a lot of people, in fact very few people here are good in this field. So even if I decide my self to study quantum foundations (my advisor i think is probably one of those talented researchers of the field in france), all my "orthodox" physics professors get very cynical about it, as if it were not a subject of physics on its own..:cry:
 
  • #5
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I know what you mean about the cynicism. In all honesty, I don't think much of it myself, though I try to keep an open mind. It really seems like philosophy rather than science, even though there are scientific things you can do with it. The conversations are always fun (I've had a few with Rob Spekken's who I think is big in the field), but I can't imagine doing research in it.

But really, send an email to some of the foundations guys at Perimeter and see if they know of any overlap. They are probably the guys who would know best.
 
  • #6
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I think you are right, I am going to send a few e mail to get some advice.

Thanks a lot for your answers, and one last point to share my point of view on the question: I think that since Von Neumann gave the 'standard' formulation of the foundations of QM, all we have been doing is developing theoretical tools to solve particular problems in different fields, however the "big task" of finding a quantum theory of gravitation still fails, and a lot of talents are still heading towards string theory though it might not be the theory we are looking for (it has been there for over 30 years now!), so from my point of view, trying to really analyse the structure of quantum mechanics and try to find out if there are no other formulations that fit with the typical quantum effects such as non locality etc is an interesting way of doing things, and generally a lot of researchers in foundations interact with those on quantum gravity (Rovelli etc.)...that s why I am so angry when I hear that it s not physics whereas string theory is..!!! :grumpy:
 
  • #7
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Haha...I don't think string theory can be called physics if foundations isn't. String theory has yet to make any testable predictions right? Foundations isn't too much better but I have it on confidence from members of my research group that there may be testable things shortly.

So don't worry, I bet there are tonnes of people who don't think either are science :tongue:
 
  • #8
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Oh, but don't think I don't support researching foundations and string. I was educated as a pure-mathematician, so I fully support Hardy's viewpoint that sometimes things should just be studied because they're interesting in their own right.
 

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