Questions about physics specializations

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  • #1
Abidal Sala
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Why are most physicists today specialized in particle physics? do most of the physics advancements today have to do with particle physics or something? I thought about specializing in GR but i have no idea whether it's a good choice because most physicists i see in the media are particle physicists i don't know why..
and one more question that has kept me wondering.. I was watching lectures by Leonard Susskind on youtube and he had lectures on various topics, like GR, quantum theory, cosmology, string theory.. he knew a lot of details in each of them, I thought you can specialize and teach one branch, so what's going on? seems like he had studied all of them to me.. so I can study GR and QM together?
 
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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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Why are most physicists today specialized in particle physics?

They aren't. The largest subfield is condensed matter.
 
  • #3
cmos
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I was watching lectures by Leonard Susskind on youtube and he had lectures on various topics, like GR, quantum theory, cosmology, string theory.. he knew a lot of details in each of them, I thought you can specialize and teach one branch, so what's going on? seems like he had studied all of them to me.. so I can study GR and QM in together?

I'm willing the bet that the amount of detail he gave is probably nothing compared to the amount of detail a specialist in anyone of those fields is required to know. I mean no disrespect to you, but the ocean may seem infinitely large if you've never left the shore.

Also, the total combination of the topics you mentioned could easily be the curriculum for the second-year graduate student of physics. A professional physicist is expected to have a "basic" understanding of "all" of physics; his research sets his specialization.

What "basic" and "all" means is open to interpretation and debate.
 
  • #4
Vanadium 50
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It's not very nice to modify your question after people have started answering it.
 
  • #5
Abidal Sala
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I'm willing the bet that the amount of detail he gave is probably nothing compared to the amount of detail a specialist in anyone of those fields is required to know. I mean no disrespect to you, but the ocean may seem infinitely large if you've never left the shore.

Also, the total combination of the topics you mentioned could easily be the curriculum for the second-year graduate student of physics. A professional physicist is expected to have a "basic" understanding of "all" of physics; his research sets his specialization.

What "basic" and "all" means is open to interpretation and debate.

that was my best guess, because I know some engineer majors actually take some basic quantum mechanics which won't make them specialists.. so apparently Leonard studied and had a little background in each topic..
and there's no 'disrespect' at all lol I am just a freshman here, all i have seen is high schools physics.. I'm going to physics college next year and willing to continue till Ph.D, that's why I am asking those questions.

Your input was useful, thanks!
 
  • #6
Abidal Sala
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It's not very nice to modify your question after people have started answering it.

sorry there was a typo, see the last two words in cmos' quotation
 

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