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Schools Top schools in North America in strings and quantum gravity

  1. Sep 20, 2016 #1
    Hi, the question is obvious from the title.

    I am looking for the names of the top 30 schools in North America for research work in string theory and quantum gravity.

    Any feedback will be very helpful.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Here we go again.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2016 #3
    Hi, I guess this is quite a common question on Physicsforums.

    For the record, though, I am doing my Masters in astroparticle physics in a top 3 school in Canada and am considering the possibility of applying to US schools for PhD in strings and/or quantum gravity.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2016 #4

    Dr Transport

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    I agree, probably not 30 schools in the US have faculty members who work in this area competently.
     
  6. Sep 20, 2016 #5
    Would you say that the top 15 do?
     
  7. Sep 20, 2016 #6
    Come on. This is not so difficult to find out on your own. First you find the top 30 schools. Then you visit the page of the physics department of each school and read their research interests.
     
  8. Sep 20, 2016 #7

    jtbell

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  9. Sep 20, 2016 #8

    Dr Transport

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    Have you read all the other threads on this forum that pertain to the "I want to study X and become a professor/researcher..." pretty much all of them say the same thing and that the chances of getting a faculty position is slim at best. Bottom line, go get your degree in whatever you want, but you'll end up in industry not doing what you did for your research and dissertation but because you're able to break down a problem and make headway on it.
     
  10. Sep 22, 2016 #9

    StatGuy2000

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    Dr Transport, failexam is asking about what PhD physics programs to apply to, not about getting a faculty position. I'm sure he/she is already aware of the odds regarding a faculty position.
     
  11. Sep 22, 2016 #10
    Sure, but the question is what good a PhD is if you don't want a faculty position. Especially a PhD in string theory which is pretty useless outside of academia.
     
  12. Sep 22, 2016 #11

    StatGuy2000

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    That's a fair point, but one could extend that argument to many other PhD fields, including various areas of pure mathematics. For example, couldn't one make the argument that a PhD in say, homotopy theory or category theory (which, if I may recall from our discussions, is your PhD area) is pretty much useless outside of academia as well?
     
  13. Sep 22, 2016 #12
    Yes, you could make that argument and you would be correct.
     
  14. Sep 22, 2016 #13

    StatGuy2000

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    OK, so we agree that we could make the argument. In which case, are you arguing that the OP should not pursue a PhD in string theory? And that people should not pursue a PhD in pure math? This goes back to the numerous discussions here on PF about whether PhD programs should be thought of as vocational degrees or not.
     
  15. Sep 22, 2016 #14
    I'm not arguing for anything. I think the OP should be made aware that his degree is likely to be completely useless outside of academia, and that getting into academia is very very hard. If he's aware of that, I'm happy since all I want to prevent is people going into a PhD with false expectations. If he decides to go into PhD because it's fun or enriching for him, or because he wants the shot on a faculty position, fine by me. But at least he's not having any wrong information.
     
  16. Sep 22, 2016 #15

    Dr Transport

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    Well written.....Perfect point, get the degree if you want it, but don't expect to make a living off of an esoteric area of physics unless you are lucky enough to get a coveted faculty position.
     
  17. Sep 23, 2016 #16
    I've known for a long time that it's extremely hard to get a faculty position, but I want to do a PhD in string theory because it's fun. I am not worried about future job prospects, because with a degree in theoretical physics, there are plenty of jobs in industry that I am qualified for.

    If, in case I do get postdoc positions, let alone a faculty position, then that is an added bonus. I am just passionate about string theory and geometry and would like to pursue that passion to the fullest extent possible.
     
  18. Sep 23, 2016 #17
    Maybe. Have you investigated this thoroughly? You shouldn't just believe it without evidence.
    Again, your plan is nice and I encourage you. But make sure you go in with the correct beliefs.
     
  19. Sep 23, 2016 #18
    Hmm.. will have to research career destinations of PhD string theorists again.
     
  20. Sep 23, 2016 #19

    radium

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    Lots of PhDs in math and physics (especially high energy theory) go work for hedge funds and many find the work very interesting.
     
  21. Sep 23, 2016 #20

    Dr Transport

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    20+ years in aerospace with my PhD in semiconductors and have been out of work since February.... can never say your qualified for jobs in industry and will be employable. I personally do not know anyone who has a PhD in esoteric areas like relativity, QFT, QCD etc who is employed in industry.
     
  22. Sep 23, 2016 #21

    Student100

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    There aren't very many faculty positions for string theory or QG because there also isn't a whole lot of money being allocated to these topics. Even doing something else considered "esoteric" like relativity has a better employment outlook post degree.

    You need to consider the worst case scenario and be happy with that. The worst case is you'll probably end up teaching at junior college as an adjunct lecturer/professor(US meaning), assuming you don't find something in industry or government - in which the difficulty depends somewhat on research area. That probably isn't all that bad, but in no way will the pay reflect your education. (You could probably make quite a bit more quitting, pretending you never had any degree and going to vocational school. )

    The website linked above should point you to what schools actually have some kind of string/QG program.
     
  23. Sep 25, 2016 #22

    StatGuy2000

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    As an aside, if you've been out of work with February, how have you been able to support yourself? And how has the job search being going?
     
  24. Sep 25, 2016 #23

    StatGuy2000

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    I would have thought that the worst case scenario would be either being unemployed, or being under-employed (i.e. working minimum wage at Starbucks, McDonalds, or Walmart).
     
  25. Sep 25, 2016 #24

    Student100

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    You'd probably not get a job at any of the above due to being over qualified. Unless you omitted the degree. :p

    Junior college lecturers are underemployed. Long term unemployment is a choice, not a fact of life.
     
  26. Sep 25, 2016 #25

    StatGuy2000

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    Point #1: On this very forum, we've had 2 members (ModusPwnd, ParticleGrl) who had worked respectively, as a pizza deliverer and a bartender, after each had finished their graduate degrees (MS for ModusPwnd, PhD for ParticleGrl), before each ultimately found a more lucrative career.

    Point #2: I disagree with you that long term unemployment is a choice -- tell that to those living in Greece today, or those living in the dying industrial towns in northeastern England (let alone those who live in Third World countries), where you have unemployment rates in the double digits (in the case of Greece or the Third World, even well-educated people have great difficulties either finding work or avoiding poverty).

    Point #3: It has always been my understanding that many (if not most) lecturers at junior college/community colleges are part-time instructors, who often are already employed full-time elsewhere.
     
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