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Studying When can I start research as a PhD in HEP?

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  1. Dec 10, 2016 #1
    I'm in the first year of HEP PhD program and currently learning QFT.
    The reason why I'm still learning QFT as a grad student even though it has been almost 9 months since I started PhD is because I started physics lately - I changed major when I was junior.

    I haven't studied SUSY, Supergravity, and, String theory but I want to explore all these topics.
    However then I expect it will take more than two years before I actually start research.
    Then I'm afraid that it will make PhD period too long.

    With these concerns, I glanced at some books dealing advanced topic,
    However, on the one hand, I think It will be better to concentrate on a single topic at a time and try the other after that and so on because I thought that cramming multiple things at one time will let me end up knowing nothing.
    I am curious how people think about this.
    I am considering to postpone advanced topics after the research, perhaps after getting Ph.D., try PhD again.... it may not be efficient.
    I will be glad to see your advice.
     
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  3. Dec 10, 2016 #2

    mfb

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    US?

    In Europe, PhD programs are usually without or with just a few optional courses, but there you need a MSc in advance where you have courses. In the US, MSc and PhD are combined and called PhD program.
    Depends on what you call "topic" and how much time you spend on it. Do you have plans for the research already? Which group, what are they doing in their field?
     
  4. Dec 10, 2016 #3

    Choppy

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    This sounds like a conversation that you need to have with your PhD supervisor.

    Typically the first year or so of the PhD is focused on coursework (assuming you're in North America). This is a good time to do the coursework that you're interested in. Although it's important to discuss this with your supervisor as he or she may have some specific recommendations relative to your project or sub-field. It's also the time to fill in any holes in your education as you prepare for your qualifying exam.

    The decision on when to start research is also one to make with the guidance of your PhD supervisor. If you don't have one yet, you should be focused on choosing one. So as you're working through your courses you should also be reading up on potential projects and interviewing prospective supervisors. Unless you have a very clear idea of what you need to do for the PhD, you really shouldn't start until you have a mentor to guide you.
     
  5. Dec 10, 2016 #4

    radium

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    A PhD is not just about taking courses. Eventually to do research you will have to be able to teach things to yourself. You may have seen some things in course, or you may have never seen it at all, but either way you will have to fill in the gaps by yourself.

    Usually people in high energy theory will take two semesters of QFT and general relativity before starting but then will also go on to take courses like string theory and more advanced special topics courses like conformal field theory, SUSY etc.

    This is somewhat is specific to the American system as people in Europe have a masters before starting.
     
  6. Dec 10, 2016 #5

    mfb

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    GR is always interesting, but it is only work-relevant if you work on attempts to unify QFT and GR. How is SUSY "more advanced/special" than string theory? String theory needs SUSY but not vice versa.
     
  7. Dec 10, 2016 #6
    I am in collider physics group(? - Actually I and my advisor, and one postdoc are all the members).
    But I don't have research plan yet... when to start and what to start with...
    If I learn string theory, it will be 3rd year of PhD. I am afraid that it isn't so late.
    I think my supervisor have plan on me to some computer working. Other than that Now I don't have one.. :'(
     
  8. Dec 10, 2016 #7

    mfb

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    Collider physics doesn't sound like string theory. There might be some overlap with quantum black holes, but unless the group is working on exactly that topic: probably not.
    That is quite vague.

    It is probably useful to discuss your research plan with your supervisor.
     
  9. Dec 10, 2016 #8

    ZapperZ

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    You never did answer the most important part of that question - where in the world are you?

    Zz.
     
  10. Dec 10, 2016 #9

    radium

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    You need CFT for string theory too, but sometimes there are also classes just on CFT which go into more depth than the few weeks you learn in string theory. So SUSY is not necessarily more advanced but it could take up its own course beyond what is presented in string theory.

    I think a considerable amount of current work in high energy theory involves GR even if it is not necessarily string theory. A lot of stuff is going on with black holes especially since holography has gotten so big. So I would think that most people interested in high energy theory would take it. I also think a lot of the geometric ideas in GR are useful in field theory.
     
  11. Dec 10, 2016 #10
    Thank you so much(to you and to all). This is an important point to me, the relevance of subject. As others advised, I need to have conversation with my supervisior.
     
  12. Dec 10, 2016 #11

    mfb

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    Is that based on a statistic or just personal impression? The latter doesn't work: as an example, work-related I see people doing phenomenology and SM/BSM predictions for colliders all the time, while I rarely see people doing anything related to gravity. It just doesn't come up in the context of experimental tests (microscopic black holes as exception).
     
  13. Dec 10, 2016 #12

    radium

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    I don't know much about phenomenology, but research on applications of holography seems to be a very hot topic now, and most of that seems to be in the classical gravity limit. I think there are a consider number of faculty working on it, but it definitely could be specific to certain institutions.
     
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