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Theoretical and mathematical physics grad schools

  1. Jul 26, 2008 #1
    I'm interested in doing my PhD in theoretical and mathematical physics - i.e. subjects like Quantum Field Theory, String Theory or Quantum Information Theory. My question is which universities in the US have really good programs in these areas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2008 #2
    Hey, those are also my math interests (geometry, topology, algebra, operators, etc related to physics).

    I think MIT is the best. If you look at their faculty and their research interests, they have like 6 or 7 legitimate guys who do good mathematics that relates to physics.

    From what I hear Berkeley has some great topological field theory guys, they also have Vaughn Jones (ala the Jones polynomial). Columbia is up there for sure, Rutgers I think is the only math department that has a guy who does Bohmian mechanics, UCSD has a couple of math-physics guys, Stony Brook is really good, Northwestern, UIUC for sure (Sheldon Katz for one, along with some physics people in the math dept), UPENN for mathematical physics and geometry, Yale is pretty good for a small faculty as well.

    I mean just look up faculties, their research interests, whether or not they take on students, etc. Email head of departments. Be active. There are a lot of good schools for math-physics.

    Edit: I noticed you said string theory. From what I have noticed, from spending a good amount of time researching grad schools and looking up publications and all that, a lot of the "mathematical physics" that is done in a math department falls under the heading of string theory. This is not necessarily true everywhere, at MIT for example, but it seems to be a general rule. UIUC - Urbana's math department is headed by Sheldon Katz, a great algebraic geometer and string theorist. Ron Donagi at UPENN is again a great geometer and string theorist. Some schools will give you different flavors, some will have people who specialize in QFT, topological QFT is well represented at Berkeley. But a lot of the math schools seem to be of SUSY/Gauge/AdS-CFT/String school.

    There are some non string dominated schools, but none that I could find that involved something like loop quantum gravity, or even, get this, any mathematician doing Yang Mills mass gap hypothesis. * I should correct myself, no mathematician that explicitly listed Yang Mills mass gap as a research interest.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
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