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What to choose: Physics vs geometry

  1. Apr 8, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I have an undergrad in Physics from an Indian University. And presently I am pursuing a masters in theoretical physics in UK.
    Here I got a chance to explore courses in the math department. I took two courses in geometry : Differential geometry and Geometry of General Relativity. I found them hard in the beginning, but with time I have started to enjoy them a lot.
    Other than these two, I took about 4 courses in QFT and found them okay. When I read about connection between ideas of differential geometry (Riemann Manifold) and Non-abelian Gauge theories, I was pretty excited to go on and study QFT from the prescriptive of Geometry. But unfortunately, the focus of these QFT courses was from the point of view of particle physicist, which I didn't seem to enjoy.
    With the end of my degree I have to decide what field I must select for PhD. Like I said, I am a bit stuck between physics and geometry... The way I have found the working in the particle physics group I am a little discouraged to continue with physics, plus I have found a new interest in geometry. But I do not have much of a background in pure math, till date, I have done a little bit of real and complex analysis from the point of view of a physicist, thus it can't be even called pure math, and that's about it. I want to take a couple of courses in topology, algebraic geometry and things that deal with all this and discover if I find this more interesting as compared to physics.
    Also, I have tried studying solid states, I found it better than QFT, and in fact, I have chosen my end of the year project in Solid states.
    Now if I decide to stay in physics, I want to study it from the perspective of geometry, as much as I can. On the other hand, if I decide to switch from physics to maths, I have no clue how to go about it. Staying in physics sounds easier but I don't want to let go off geometry.
    Just to describe that the situation is a bit complicated for me: I can't stay in UK for another masters (Visa constraints); I haven't got any PhD positions yet, in fact, I applied only for one position that too in Solid States; I can't do a PhD in India as a one year masters isn't acceptable there, and I can't switch from physics to maths there either; I am probably unqualified to take GRE maths for US. So, if any one of you could suggest an option where I can study QFT from the perspective of Geometry (or Quanutm Gravity or String theory) and how should I decide which way to go?

    Thank you for bearing with me..
    I appreciate your help

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2015 #2
    If your ultimate goal is to make a living and not be dependent upon graduate fellowships and public support go with the physics, you will always be using the geometry in your work. Find an applied field where you can be productive, not just theoretical. String theory is great for coffeehouse conversation but it won’t pay the rent unless you are another Stephen Hawkins.
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