What do you physcists do?

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  • #1
pivoxa15
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What do highly theoretical physicsts (fundalmental physics like beyond the standard model) do all day? Mostly maths? On the computer?
 
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  • #2
What do highly theoretical physicsts do all day?

:rofl:
 
  • #3
pivoxa15
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As opposed to midly theoretical which mix experiment with theory like some more modest optical experiments then CERN experiments. I just like to know what theoretical physicists do, that's all.
 
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  • #4
JasonRox
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Oh boy.
 
  • #5
pivoxa15
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What is wrong?

I actually have no idea and it's a serious question.
 
  • #6
proton
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hasnt this question been asked a lot before?
 
  • #7
ice109
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most theorists are phenomenologists, meaning they seek to explain phenomena using some theory. what does this really mean? computing values for certain things, like mass of (blank) , energy of (blank), etc. using the formulae of a theory. Obviously this isn't as easy as it sounds.

very very few theorists are model builders, theory inventers. what do they do? i have no clue. probably sit around and think a lot.
 
  • #8
JasonRox
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Einstein was a theorist and was a ladies man.
Feynmann was a theorist and was a ladies man.

So, I guess theorists are good with the ladies.
 
  • #9
ice109
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Einstein was a theorist and was a ladies man.
Feynmann was a theorist and was a ladies man.

So, I guess theorists are good with the ladies.

einstein boinked his cousin, i don't know how cavalier that is.
 
  • #10
G01
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Einstein was a theorist and was a ladies man.
Feynmann was a theorist and was a ladies man.

So, I guess theorists are good with the ladies.

:rolleyes:
 
  • #11
ice109
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Jason's sole concern is the "ladies". i bet he started doing mathematics simply to impress the "ladies" much like how many guys learn guitar for similar reasons.
 
  • #12
G01
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Jason's sole concern is the "ladies". i bet he started doing mathematics simply to impress the "ladies" much like how many guys learn guitar for similar reasons.

Exactly. Women love guys who can do proofs. Do you know what happens if you start proving something by mathematical induction out in public on the street? Ever see an Ax Body Spray commercial? The whole process of mathematical induction attracts one girl. Then, once the rest saw that the proof was attractive to her, another starts running toward you, then another, then another,..., then N-1 women are chasing you, eventually you have N women chasing you! I don't know how any male mathematician keeps the ladies off of him...


We should probably get back on topic, here.:rolleyes:
 
  • #13
Asphodel
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most theorists are phenomenologists, meaning they seek to explain phenomena using some theory.

what do they do? i have no clue. probably sit around and think a lot.

I once read that Feynman's method of problem solving was to "stare at the problem, think really hard, then write down the answer" (probably misquoting slightly). I suspect rather a lot of chalk and computer cycles are sacrificed to the cauldron in there somewhere, but hey.

We need more cool phenomena that don't make sense yet. Can't think of many right off, besides the whole GR/QM convergence issue. Okay, make that *tractable* phenomena - good luck explaining consciousness in satisfying terms. But I can't think of a modern equivalent of the photoelectric effect. There's a lot of work in applications, and a lot of work in trying to apply things we understand when conditions are simple to problems where conditions are anything but.
 
  • #14
Asphodel
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then N-1 women are chasing you, eventually you have N women chasing you! I don't know how any male mathematician keeps the ladies off of him...

Because in four dimensions, this simplifies to the case where N = 0. First one woman is running away, then nothing.
 
  • #15
ice109
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feynman's method of how to be a genius: having 10-12 of your favorite problems always kicking around in your head. when you meet someone who has a nifty problem solving method try to apply it to one of your problems. if it works people call you a genius.
 
  • #16
G01
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Because in four dimensions, this simplifies to the case where N = 0. First one woman is running away, then nothing.

:biggrin:
 
  • #17
bravernix
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most theorists are phenomenologists, meaning they seek to explain phenomena using some theory. what does this really mean? computing values for certain things, like mass of (blank) , energy of (blank), etc. using the formulae of a theory. Obviously this isn't as easy as it sounds.

very very few theorists are model builders, theory inventers. what do they do? i have no clue. probably sit around and think a lot.

I have been lurking on this forum for quite awhile, and one thing I notice, is that when talking about theorists everyone seems to ignore the fact that there are many many people working in condensed matter theory as well. (Not to mention perhaps smaller fields such as plasma physics theory). Why is this?
 
  • #18
ice109
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I have been lurking on this forum for quite awhile, and one thing I notice, is that when talking about theorists everyone seems to ignore the fact that there are many many people working in condensed matter theory as well. (Not to mention perhaps smaller fields such as plasma physics theory). Why is this?

i don't understand the implication? the condensed matter theorist i worked for this summer was still a phenomenologist. the paper he wrote this summer was second order calculations of feynman diagrams for something something.
 
  • #19
timur
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What do you mean by phenomenologist?
 
  • #20
bravernix
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i don't understand the implication? the condensed matter theorist i worked for this summer was still a phenomenologist. the paper he wrote this summer was second order calculations of feynman diagrams for something something.

When you said phenomenology, I assumed you meant theoretical particle physics, as the term is usually used in conjunction with this area. It seems you mean 'the study of phenomena' or..?
 
  • #21
wildman
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Phenomenology was explained in an earlier post. Basically it is someone who takes the body of theory that has already been developed and explains a phenomena that is being seen. That is in contrast to someone who works out the original theory which is much much harder.

I am an engineer but I have done phenomenology for example with a space craft test failure no one could figure out. It was due to a back current through the base of some transistors because of an incorrect set up (the incorrect setup was not noticed until I worked out the problem theoretically).

How did I do it? Well, I stared at the schematic for a long time and then drove over to visit a friend. While driving I saw the answer in my mind, stopped the car and wrote it down. I think that is what Feynman meant by staring at the problem and then writing down the solution. It is really impossible to explain
 
  • #22
J77
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Isn't the answer, physics?
 
  • #23
pivoxa15
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But physics at the professional level which I have no clue about.
 
  • #24
J77
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You always seem to ask very similar questions, pivoxa.

I'm sure it's been said time and time again, but the only way to find out what a physicist or mathematician does/what you need to study/how to be a physicist or mathematician/what's the difference between maths and physics...

...is to go along to your uni and ask the guys doing this stuff, face-to-face
 
  • #25
JasonRox
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I just made my comment to show that there is no set answer.

I get the feeling that Pivoxa is looking for reasons to live a social sheltered life by like saying that's what Physicists and Mathematicians do. Believe it or not, it's not even close at all. Although it is becoming more common, it is definitely not the norm. Apparently this trend has started after World War II after some two authors mentionned it (Herbert and some other physicists). I think Paul Halmos noted the same thing.

You decide whether it's a good thing or not. I suggest reading books of all kinds of mathematicians and physicists and not only the famous ones. Most lead wonderful and normal lives.

Note: Halmos drank like a fish and even gave a recipe for an alcohol drink in his book.
 
  • #26
ice109
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I just made my comment to show that there is no set answer.

I get the feeling that Pivoxa is looking for reasons to live a social sheltered life by like saying that's what Physicists and Mathematicians do. Believe it or not, it's not even close at all. Although it is becoming more common, it is definitely not the norm. Apparently this trend has started after World War II after some two authors mentionned it (Herbert and some other physicists). I think Paul Halmos noted the same thing.

You decide whether it's a good thing or not. I suggest reading books of all kinds of mathematicians and physicists and not only the famous ones. Most lead wonderful and normal lives.

Note: Halmos drank like a fish and even gave a recipe for an alcohol drink in his book.

dude seriously all you ever talk about is socializing and girls. you're like the social snob of physicsforums. I know it may shock you but some people don't enjoy or care about socializing and there's no reason to think that that is some sort of mistake.
 

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