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Postgrad in theoretical physics

  1. Aug 6, 2010 #1
    Hi there!

    a little background about me:
    1. final year in bsc physics, malaysia.
    2. working on DFT as final yr project (err.. lots of programming involved)
    3. like math and how we apply it in physics.
    4. have no idea which field of theoretical physics to go into.


    1. Is it wise to get a masters right after my degree; or should I work first?
    2. Suggestion of universities which offer good masters/phd in theoretical physics. I'm thinking of singapore: NUS. Finance was one of my concern also. Does TA/RA cover most the expenses incur?
    3. I was also wondering about prospect of theoretical physics. I guess I should know that other than researches/universities, I won't be going anywhere. Perhaps I was wondering if anyone actually did went into other fields like programming or finance after phd in theoretical physics? (well recalling that we have good programming & math background). well of course that's for worse case scenario.
    4. any field of particular interest in theoretical physics I can consider?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2010 #2
    The most significant and prominent fields being studied and applied right now in Theoretical Physics are the following:
    Condensed Matter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensed_matter_physics
    Quantum Computing/Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computer
    Particle Physics (High Energy Physics): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particle_physics
    Quantum Gravity (LQG/Superstring Theory): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loop_quantum_gravity , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstring_theory
    Superconductivity (High-Temperature Superconductors): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconductivity
    Biophysics and Astrophysics:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophysics , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrophysics
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  4. Aug 7, 2010 #3
    I sent you a PM (just some thoughts)

    p.s. there is no email notifications for PMs.
  5. Aug 9, 2010 #4
    email replied!
  6. Aug 9, 2010 #5

    Thanks for your highlighting. and wow even superconductors are theoretical?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  7. Aug 9, 2010 #6
    Yep, in fact Superconductors are very obscure, a lot of research in Superstring Theory is related to Superconductors. There was this paper published recently in which Gauge/Gravity Duality was used to describe cuprates (High Temperature Superconductors). They described the electron's in proportion to a black hole, it's very interesting stuff! http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/string-theory-0806.html
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  8. Aug 10, 2010 #7


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    Actually, theoretical work in superconductors is NOT obscure. In fact, it has been center stage and one of the biggest problem in theoretical physics since 1986 when the cuprate superconductors were discovered. Note also that, before that year, the BCS theory of superconductivity was considered as one of the most important theory of the 20th century (and led to Nobel prizes for B, C, and S). Not only that, several other Nobel prizes were also awarded to theorists who worked on superconductivity-related issues, including Leggett, and Abrikosov.

    This thread is a good opportunity to correct a major myth/misinformation about "theoretical physics" that many people, including students, may have. Practically all areas of physics have both theoretical and experimental aspects to them (except for string/etc.). While most people associate "theoretical physics" with string theory, elementary particle physics, etc., this is actually not a very accurate picture at all. As an example, under the wing of the American Physical Society, the Division of Condensed Matter physics has the LARGEST number of members.


    In fact, if you combine condensed matter with material science (two closely related fields), that make up close to 19% of the APS membership. Those in high energy/elementary particle/string/etc. make up only 7.4%!

    Theorists make up an important and necessary component to all fields of physics. Period. The majority of theoretical physicists do NOT work in string/elementary particle/fundamental fields, etc. Just because something has been in the forefront of mass media and popular culture does not necessary mean that it is an accurate representative of the whole field of study.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  9. Aug 10, 2010 #8
    By obscure I mean it defies the imagination in how strange superconductors are and how they relate to theories such as Gauge/Gravity Duality.
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