Specialization in PhD: Balancing Theory and Experiment for Postdoc Applications?

In summary, the person is unsure how their combination of a theory-based paper and an experiment-based paper for their PhD will affect their chances of getting a postdoc. They are wondering if they will be seen as specialized or not in either area. It is difficult to determine without more information, but it could be an advantage for postdocs that fall between theory and experiment in the field they work in. It ultimately depends on the specific research thesis and advisor, and if the person has expertise in both areas. The person adds that there are many variables that could affect their employability, such as the group, subfield, and funding. In high energy physics, they may have a harder time, but in an interdisciplinary field, they could be exactly
  • #1
DeathbyGreen
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So during my PhD I've done one analytic based theory paper with one advisor and will now do an experiment paper with another advisor. I'm curious as to how this will look applying for postdocs. Would this allow me to apply for either theory or experiment? Or would it just make me look not specialized in either area?
 
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  • #2
The question is too vague to tell.
Your application might be considered by both, and it might be an advantage for postdocs that are somewhere between theory and experiment in the field you work in.
 
  • #3
DeathbyGreen said:
So during my PhD I've done one analytic based theory paper with one advisor and will now do an experiment paper with another advisor. I'm curious as to how this will look applying for postdocs. Would this allow me to apply for either theory or experiment? Or would it just make me look not specialized in either area?

What exactly is your research thesis on, and with which advisor? I did both theoretical and experimental work for my PhD research, but I still consider it an experimental project. Your thesis advisor will determine the tone of your work.

If you have expertise in both sides, more power to you. But do you think you are more employable as the theorist or as an experimentalist?

Zz.
 
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  • #4
There are too many variables to give you a straight answer; it will depend on the group, subfield, funding, etc.

If you're in high energy physics you're probably sunk.

If you're in something interdisciplinary you could be exactly what the PI needs.
 

Related to Specialization in PhD: Balancing Theory and Experiment for Postdoc Applications?

1. What is the purpose of conducting experiments and developing theories?

The purpose of conducting experiments and developing theories is to gain a deeper understanding of the natural world and to test hypotheses about how things work. It allows scientists to make predictions, confirm or reject existing theories, and develop new ones.

2. How do you design a successful experiment?

To design a successful experiment, you need to clearly define your research question or hypothesis, identify variables, determine a suitable sample size, and control for any potential confounding factors. It is also important to carefully select and use appropriate scientific methods and equipment.

3. What is the difference between a hypothesis and a theory?

A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon that can be tested through experimentation. It is a tentative answer to a research question. A theory, on the other hand, is a well-established explanation for a phenomenon that has been extensively tested and supported by evidence. It is a more comprehensive and widely accepted explanation than a hypothesis.

4. How do experiments and theories contribute to scientific progress?

Experiments and theories contribute to scientific progress by expanding our knowledge and understanding of the natural world. Through experimentation, scientists can gather data and evidence to support or refute theories, leading to a deeper understanding of how things work. Theories also serve as a foundation for further research and experimentation, helping scientists to build upon existing knowledge and make new discoveries.

5. Can experiments and theories be wrong?

Yes, experiments and theories can be wrong. Science is an ongoing process of discovery and knowledge building, and it is not uncommon for experiments to produce unexpected results or for theories to be revised or even discarded as new evidence emerges. However, the scientific method ensures that experiments and theories are rigorously tested and continually refined, leading to a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the natural world.

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