Is Condensed Matter that popular

pqortic
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Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby pqortic » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:37 pm

today I counted the number of ppl applying for CMP in 2009 profile. they will have a tough competition this year (around 30/68) and there are crowds that I know will apply too.

is there parallel need in industry or academia to hire this huge number of scientists?
I believe there will be similar competition in the next 10 years for graduated CMPists to find a job.

nathan12343
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby nathan12343 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:42 pm

About 40 percent of physicists are doing work in CMP, i think 30/68 sounds about right.

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Helio
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby Helio » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:55 pm

yeap the number of PhDs in CMP is about 100 to 150 higher per year than the next section with Astronomy/Astrophysics.... but they need a lot of people to run the labs, it is usually at least 3 grad students per lab, when advisors in in theory barely get one to two in 3 years

Spark
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby Spark » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:15 am

Why does everyone find condensed matter so interesting?

dsperka
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby dsperka » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:26 am

Because you can make a lot of money in industry. Other than that, I personally don't see the appeal. To each his own though.

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dlenmn
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby dlenmn » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:54 am

Spark wrote:Why does everyone find condensed matter so interesting?


Well, the experiments can easily fit in a room (so you're not just some cog in a huge machine) and it has lots of interesting applications (as a bonus, you can often do some more fundamental physics on the march towards applications). There's not much more to ask for in my book. (Some other fields like AMO have similar characteristics, but not quite the same mix I think). I don't think industry jobs are a big reason people like CM (as discussed elsewhere, industry jobs are not a big draw for physics in general).

That's an experimentalist point of view anyway. Hopefully some CMT people will chime in.

sirius
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby sirius » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:15 am

I think it's the main route if you want to do quantum physics, especially as a theorist. AMO is the other major realm that involves this. I think it's the popularity of quantum that adds to it. This is the main reason I'm interested in it. Since I'm interested in quantum computing, if a school doesn't have a separate section of quantum information, its a condensed matter topic.

WakkaDojo
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby WakkaDojo » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:21 am

It's hard to say what specifically makes condensed matter so interesting. It's simply the broadest subfield of physics, encompassing so many methods and disciplines. This is why many people do "condensed matter": so many methods and disciplines fall under the category of "condensed matter".

pqortic
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby pqortic » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:04 am

there are currently big projects in astro or particle physics e.g. LHC or Mars explo. which demand many people to work on different parts of them and they are gradually expanding so attracts government investment. I don't think we already had like these in CMP.
however, the number of research projects that result in practical utilization is much greater in HEP than CMP. I mean CM research mostly leads to journal publication

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zxcv
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby zxcv » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:22 am

emperial wrote:however, the number of research projects that result in practical utilization is much greater in HEP than CMP. I mean CM research mostly leads to journal publication

Are you sure you don't have that backwards??

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quizivex
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby quizivex » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:31 am

CM was very popular in last year's profile thread too. I think part of the reason for the popularity is that students know there are the most job opportunities in that field. (I think nvanmeter said something to that effect.) Due to the size of the field and the various practical applications, there will always be funding and plenty of jobs inside and outside of academia.

The two main reasons I never considered going into condensed matter were the following:

1) The name of the field makes no sense to me... I don't see what is so "condensed" about condensed matter. If condensed is a fancy way of saying "solid" state as opposed to fluids or gases, they might as well say solid state. :evil:

2) A field in which Kittel's disturbingly inept solid state book is accepted as the introductory bible is not something I'd risk exploring. That book represents everything that's wrong in physics education and I'd ultimately end up pulling my hair out and switching to pure math which makes much more sense in the textbooks. :?

Oh yea, and 3) Every Tom, Dick and Einstein is going into CM too...

8)

rohit
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby rohit » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:52 am

yeah Kittel sucks ! Ashcroft-Mermin is slightly better but even thats a bit weird.

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naseermk
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby naseermk » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:08 pm

emperial wrote:however, the number of research projects that result in practical utilization is much greater in HEP than CMP. I mean CM research mostly leads to journal publication


I think you do have it backwards i.e. in terms of practical utilization CM is light years ahead of HEP for instance.

Let's not forget the semiconductor industry with intensive R+D investments in nanotechnology. Having a PhD in CM will lead to a good job in R+D (Intel, STMicro, Infineon, Fairchild etc etc). I personally work with some CM guys from UIUC/Madison.

pqortic
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby pqortic » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:24 pm

naseermk wrote:I think you do have it backwards i.e. in terms of practical utilization CM is light years ahead of HEP for instance.


zxcv wrote:Are you sure you don't have that backwards??


so I should change my mind in that way.

swepi
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby swepi » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:13 pm

quizivex wrote:1) The name of the field makes no sense to me... I don't see what is so "condensed" about condensed matter. If condensed is a fancy way of saying "solid" state as opposed to fluids or gases, they might as well say solid state. :evil:


"Condensed" as in "to make denser or more concentrated". For example, the fluid state of water is a form of condensed matter, so the term is a bit broader than just "solid state". I believe the term may also refer to other forms of condensates, such as the state formed by the collective behavior of electrons in a superconductor or helium atoms in the superfluid regime.

The bench top nature of a number of experiments in condensed matter make them desirable to work on. Moreover, they also appear to have some fundamental importance to other branches of physics, such as elementary particle theory. For example, the fine structure constant, which is the fundamental coupling constant of the electromagnetic interaction in quantum electrodynamics, can be measured to extraordinary accuracy through something called the quantum Hall effect which occurs in high quality heterostructure transistors used in cell phones, albeit at very low temperatures in very strong magnetic fields. Why would something so important to microscopic electron-photon interactions be measured by a swarm of electrons in a semiconductor device? The NIST have some info on this at the following link: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/introduction.html

Recently, Yoichiro Nambu was awarded a Nobel prize for introducing spontaneous symmetry breaking to particle physics. He did so after hearing about the Bardeen-Schrieffer-Cooper theory of superconductivity. In fact, his most widely sited paper regarding the topic is titled "Dynamical Model of Elementary Particles Based on an Analogy with Superconductivity". The paper can be found here: http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v122/i1/p345_1

quizivex wrote:2) A field in which Kittel's disturbingly inept solid state book is accepted as the introductory bible is not something I'd risk exploring. That book represents everything that's wrong in physics education and I'd ultimately end up pulling my hair out and switching to pure math which makes much more sense in the textbooks. :?


Indeed, Kittel is not a particularly good expositor of physics.

Ultimately, condensed matter may appeal to those interested in understanding the physical mechanisms involved in biological process or the behavior of electrons in strongly correlated materials. There are certainly applications that develop from this branch of physics, such as the transistor, but there also seem to be plenty of "fundamental" things going on as well. Simply reducing the universe into itty-bitty pieces does not reveal much about the formation of many of the interesting things we see around us, such as life. Something like superconductivity does not just fall out of Schrodinger's equation, and so, there are still a wealth of things to understand about the properties of matter.

Condensed matter is more generally concerned with lower energy phenomena, and if you are interested in high energy particle collisions, by all means, smash those protons together. However, I guess that condensed matter is generally dismissed as "device physics", when in reality, a great deal of new and fundamental phenomena occur as the result of symmetry breaking. This sentiment was expressed by P. W. Anderson in his article "More is Different" found here: http://www.cmp.caltech.edu/~motrunch/Te ... ferent.pdf

The point being is that physics is interesting at all length and energy scales, whether it is the asymptotic behavior of the strong interaction between quarks inside a hadron, the formation of fractionally charged particles in the fractional quantum Hall effect, a protein jiggling its way to a site on a strand of DNA or the dynamics of a solar system. I just happened to apply to departments that look at stuff bigger than the nucleus of an atom but smaller than a planet.

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G01
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby G01 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:56 pm

Spark wrote:Why does everyone find condensed matter so interesting?


Why do people find High energy theory so interesting? Why do people find cosmology interesting? Why do people find Victorian Era British Literature Interesting?

I'm not going into CM just for the job opportunites. Personally, I like condensed matter because it allows for a lot of applicable research involving quantum mechanics. I love quantum mechanics and also have interests in applied physics, so I think CME is probably the best fit for me. You may disagree that applied physics or quantum is interesting, but that is your opinion.

Its pretty impossible to get a satisfying answer to a question like, "Why do people find _____ interesting?" since it's a matter of opinion.

Spark
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby Spark » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:26 pm

G01 wrote:
Spark wrote:Why does everyone find condensed matter so interesting?


Why do people find High energy theory so interesting? Why do people find cosmology interesting? Why do people find Victorian Era British Literature Interesting?

I'm not going into CM just for the job opportunites. Personally, I like condensed matter because it allows for a lot of applicable research involving quantum mechanics. I love quantum mechanics and also have interests in applied physics, so I think CME is probably the best fit for me. You may disagree that applied physics or quantum is interesting, but that is your opinion.

Its pretty impossible to get a satisfying answer to a question like, "Why do people find _____ interesting?" since it's a matter of opinion.


Um, when did I say that I don't find applied physics interesting???? I asked out of curiosity since I'm in a completely different field of physics and meant no harm or offense so there's no need for the condescending answer.
Last edited by Spark on Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Spark
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby Spark » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:27 pm

swepi wrote:
quizivex wrote:1) The name of the field makes no sense to me... I don't see what is so "condensed" about condensed matter. If condensed is a fancy way of saying "solid" state as opposed to fluids or gases, they might as well say solid state. :evil:


"Condensed" as in "to make denser or more concentrated". For example, the fluid state of water is a form of condensed matter, so the term is a bit broader than just "solid state". I believe the term may also refer to other forms of condensates, such as the state formed by the collective behavior of electrons in a superconductor or helium atoms in the superfluid regime.

The bench top nature of a number of experiments in condensed matter make them desirable to work on. Moreover, they also appear to have some fundamental importance to other branches of physics, such as elementary particle theory. For example, the fine structure constant, which is the fundamental coupling constant of the electromagnetic interaction in quantum electrodynamics, can be measured to extraordinary accuracy through something called the quantum Hall effect which occurs in high quality heterostructure transistors used in cell phones, albeit at very low temperatures in very strong magnetic fields. Why would something so important to microscopic electron-photon interactions be measured by a swarm of electrons in a semiconductor device? The NIST have some info on this at the following link: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Constants/introduction.html

Recently, Yoichiro Nambu was awarded a Nobel prize for introducing spontaneous symmetry breaking to particle physics. He did so after hearing about the Bardeen-Schrieffer-Cooper theory of superconductivity. In fact, his most widely sited paper regarding the topic is titled "Dynamical Model of Elementary Particles Based on an Analogy with Superconductivity". The paper can be found here: http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v122/i1/p345_1

quizivex wrote:2) A field in which Kittel's disturbingly inept solid state book is accepted as the introductory bible is not something I'd risk exploring. That book represents everything that's wrong in physics education and I'd ultimately end up pulling my hair out and switching to pure math which makes much more sense in the textbooks. :?


Indeed, Kittel is not a particularly good expositor of physics.

Ultimately, condensed matter may appeal to those interested in understanding the physical mechanisms involved in biological process or the behavior of electrons in strongly correlated materials. There are certainly applications that develop from this branch of physics, such as the transistor, but there also seem to be plenty of "fundamental" things going on as well. Simply reducing the universe into itty-bitty pieces does not reveal much about the formation of many of the interesting things we see around us, such as life. Something like superconductivity does not just fall out of Schrodinger's equation, and so, there are still a wealth of things to understand about the properties of matter.

Condensed matter is more generally concerned with lower energy phenomena, and if you are interested in high energy particle collisions, by all means, smash those protons together. However, I guess that condensed matter is generally dismissed as "device physics", when in reality, a great deal of new and fundamental phenomena occur as the result of symmetry breaking. This sentiment was expressed by P. W. Anderson in his article "More is Different" found here: http://www.cmp.caltech.edu/~motrunch/Te ... ferent.pdf

The point being is that physics is interesting at all length and energy scales, whether it is the asymptotic behavior of the strong interaction between quarks inside a hadron, the formation of fractionally charged particles in the fractional quantum Hall effect, a protein jiggling its way to a site on a strand of DNA or the dynamics of a solar system. I just happened to apply to departments that look at stuff bigger than the nucleus of an atom but smaller than a planet.


Thank you swepi. That was really helpful. :)

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coreycwgriffin
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby coreycwgriffin » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:01 pm

According to one of my professors here at my small, private, liberal arts undergraduate school, these types of schools love hiring condensed matter experimentalists, especially, because they're tinkerers. They can often use limited budgets and old equipment to rig up great teaching demos and the like...

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muonman
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby muonman » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:16 am

why do these guys find condensed matter so interesting?


I'm a condensed matter guy and I hear that a lot from the HEP guys. First of all the good HEP theorists know that there is a very deep connection between field theory and cond-mat. In many ways they're mathematically equivalent. So if they are more or less the "same" on paper, why pick one over the other? Many poster in this thread cannot articulate this. It's because of a philosophical distinction between the reductionist program in physics versus the synthesis approach. In elementary particle research, we underlying goal is to understand nature by breaking things down in smaller and smaller pieces. This has worked well for physics for many, many centuries. However, since the advent of QM in the 20th century, physicists noticed that some phenomena cannot be understood by simply looking at the component parts! Take superconductivity and BCS theory -- it is an EMERGENT PHENOMENA that disappears if you go the reductionist route of investigation as prescribed by the elementary particle approach.

Cond-mat is so much more than solid-state and kittel. Take any fancy HEP theory and apply it to an entire collection of entities and see what happens. That's cond-mat! And it's very exciting! And sometimes the tools we develop to understand these complex systems, such as renormalization, are even borrow by the HEP guys to solve problems they've been stuck on forever!

YF17A
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby YF17A » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:10 am

Also note some recent papers which have attempted to apply the dualities in string theory to condensed matter systems (http://arxiv.org/abs/0807.1111) - the fact that string theory and condensed matter systems undergoing a phase transition are both conformally invariant means that you can port the mathematics directly over to condensed matter. Fascinating stuff!

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Kaiser_Sose
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby Kaiser_Sose » Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:30 pm

I happen to be doing what could be classified as "CMP" research in my undergrad, and so far I have found it very interesting.

I might add that you could include the entire field of "biophysics" in condensed matter physics. Its "condensed" as opposed to "solid" because there is a great deal of gray area as to what is a solid and what is not. If you're looking at NaCl or water ice it is all very cut-and-dried. But if you examine lipids or proteins say, perhaps it is not so clear. Think of sticking your knife in the butter tub.

There is also the whole area of liquid-crystals. Most gastropods (snails and slugs) cruise around on a layer of proteoglycan liquid-crystal that can allow some to walk (crawl? swim?) on the underside of the water surface.

http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.3651

Quite neat. In short I believe that it is called condensed because there is what I will call a "continuum of state". I think even the new version of Kittel's monstrous tome had a chapter on semi-solids and such.

larry burns
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Re: Is Condensed Matter that popular

Postby larry burns » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:19 pm

dsperka wrote:Because you can make a lot of money in industry. Other than that, I personally don't see the appeal. To each his own though.


even those in CM theory?




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