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Which College?

  1. May 23, 2008 #1
    Hi I am currently in my last year of school in Ireland and I am hoping to study theoretical physics next year. The problem is there is a few colleges that provide the course but I have no idea which one to choose. The two main ones I am looking at are UCD and Trinity College Dublin. Do either of these colleges have a better reputation? Thanks for any advice.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2008 #2
    trinity is more known world wide but not necessarily for its physics...
    I have stayed on the campus of UCD while in Ireland, I did not like it at all where as trinity has a very pretty campus.
    I have also looked for schools in Ireland but mainly graduate studies. Unfortunately as you said there are not a lot of options once you get more specific about what kind of physics you want to study
  4. May 26, 2008 #3
    Oh ok, and there is two other things I noticed
    1. In trinity college when you finish your degree you get a BA but in UCD you get a BSc, is there any difference?
    2. And general relativity isn't on the course in trinity, does that matter?
  5. May 26, 2008 #4
  6. May 30, 2008 #5
    Hi Ed, both these courses and institutions look fine for your undergrad education. The only difference is that UCD are offering GR probaly due to the fact that tensor analysis and spacetime are being covered in the Maths section, whereas TCD doesn't seem to have this, although best to ask them about it. Not all Uni's cover GR at the undergrad level as without the math background it's a non-starter really.

    With Theoretical Physics I would have thought that GR would have played a major part. It doesn't really matter though whether it's a BA or BSc and you can pick up extra material as you approach postgrad level.

    After my Physics degree I felt that my maths wasn't rigorous enough for postgrad work so I followed it with a Math degree, bit extreme I know but I found it difficult to take in all the math required for physics as it was taught concurrently.
  7. May 30, 2008 #6
    take heed in Marco9's words. Having the appropriate Math knowledge can make your life so much easier in physics classes, however, I do not mean that trinity's classes are lacking in math rigor. At trinity I would just make sure you take as many math classes as you can.

    I know I earlier said that there aren't many choices in Ireland but for a few check out this site. I just uncovered the link from my previous searches for grad schools in Ireland:

    Check out NUI-Galway they have a Mathematical Physics Dept. you would certainly be prepared for further studies in theo. physics based on your math knowledge assuming you do well there.

    I will be at Mary Immaculate College during spring semester next year just taking huanities classes though I may sit in on an Abstract Algebra Course
  8. May 30, 2008 #7
    First off, thanks very much for the help guys, I was pretty lost before, appreciate it. I think I'll be going to UCD.
    Second, what topics in maths would be the most important know, and this may be a ridiculous question but would it be too much work to teach yourself the maths required for postgrad work. I'm sure this probably all depends on what you are doing your postgrad on as well. My main interest is that sometime in the future I want to be looking into string theory. What topics in maths will I have to focus on to get there?
    Thanks again.
  9. May 30, 2008 #8
    the list goes on and on for math required for string theory.

    Analysis, Algebra (including group ring and lie theory here), topology, Differential Geometry, differential forms, + some aspects of mathematical physics like Super Symmetry and QM

    now you don't need to know everything about all of those topics however it is just a list of things you may come across in your studies.

    As for teaching your self the math for postgrad... it is certainly possible but how likely? that is another question... In my opinion at some point you are going to need teachers and advisers to guide you, especially as the math gets more and more complex
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