String Theory

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Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:47 pm

String Theory

Postby cazcazcaz » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:38 pm

I have been under the impression from this forum that string theory was a popular subject and it was much more competitive to enter into string theory then other disiplines. However, last I talked with the head of the admissions committie at MIT and today the one at Berkeley and they disagreed with that. They indicated that although string theory is popular, it is less popular then in years past. As well they said that applicants who mention string theory have some advantages no matter their interists (Theory/Experiment) beacuase it shows a connetedness with current topics. Has anyone else talked to admissions committies from other schools know if that is true there too?

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Postby rjharris » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:40 pm


I'm at MIT currently as an undergrad, and I believe it's fair to say that , at least in the astrophysics division, people who mention string theory kinda need to prove themselves a little more than a mere x-ray astronomer like me. the thing is that although you may be interested in it, you have to have had *major* preparation in courses in QM, QFT, probably algebraic topology, etc, which most (99.9%) of physics majors just don't have (that's my impression anyway) in order to make headway in research at the graduate level. that said, if you feel you're prepared for it, then go ahead and mention string theory. but be a bit warned that in many places, its kinda considered a joke.

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Postby FSC729 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:10 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with rjharris. One of my graduate professors stated that the entire area of "string theory" is so competitive that most places will not even consider the "average" physics major if they indicated interest in that area rather, they want guys like the ones described under statement#4.4 at this website: ... amples.htm

So you see that most institutions will gauge you according to the standards indicated on the aforementioned website. If you don't have the background, research experience, or past accomplishments indicating your ability they don't want to hear it.

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Postby rjharris » Thu Dec 14, 2006 10:14 pm

that statement certainly makes me feel inadequate :P

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