Is getting to Theoretical Particle Physics still worth.?

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Is getting to Theoretical Particle Physics still worth.?

Postby satyad18 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:23 pm

I don't really know what you people think of this,but here is the case:

Almost 30 years back, theoretical particle physics was at its height, which gave us the Standard model.! But if we see it now, there seems to be little progress going on(apart from the experimental side which has given the LHC). The scenario now seems to me that one can't get a PhD in Theoretical particle physics because there is not much left to be done(as put by Lee Smolin in his book-Trouble with physics). Moreover, almost everyone in that field is turning to String theory..and I hate string theory(no offense meant to the string theory lovers!). So I ask- is it still safe to take theoretical particle physics/High energy physics as a path to pursue your PhD in it..or should one turn to Theoretical Cosmology instead.??

Plz comment.. Thank you.

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Re: Is getting to Theoretical Particle Physics still worth.?

Postby serali » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:06 am

Are you sure Leo Smolin stated it the way you did in his book? I doubt it. There are lots of open problems in particle theory, (apart from quantum gravity). You should pick up a good advanced QFT book and start reading. I don't consider myself as an expert on the subject, but there are a number of open problems I can list right now: entanglement - nonlocality, casimir effect and the cosmological constant problem.

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Re: Is getting to Theoretical Particle Physics still worth.?

Postby Mataka » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:07 am

First of all, there is no way Lee Smolin said anything like that.
Second, you say you hate string theory, but somehow I'm sure you never worked on it, you're just saying what you think Lee Smolin wants you to say.

There is still a few interesting problems in particles physics, but the trend nowadays is towards phenomenology. If you're interested in that then yes a PhD in particles physics is still worth it.

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Re: Is getting to Theoretical Particle Physics still worth.?

Postby sl74 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:45 pm

Yes, there is still work to be done in Particle Physics. Phenomenology, like Mataka has said, is an active area. Confinement in QCD remains to be analytically proven. Also, the LHC opens a window to new Physics, you may have, for example, SUSY extensions of the Standard Model. And, to give one more example, you may also explore the Gauge/Gravity duality to study particle Physics (like AdS/QCD or something like that).

If you want to be on the frontier, doing state of art Physics, my opinion (and that's just a personal opinion) it that the next revolution on theoretical Physics will be to completely understand the Gauge/Gravity duality (also known as AdS/CFT).

Theoretical Cosmology is also very interesting. But you may end up stumbling on String Theory somewhere along the way, as String Cosmology is really getting more and more researchers. By the way: why exactly do you hate String Theory?

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Re: Is getting to Theoretical Particle Physics still worth.?

Postby Zburatorul » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Also, once the LHC (by which I mean all the experiments at CERN) start releasing data or results, there will be a lot more interest in building theories which explain it. Unless of course we find the Higgs and nothing new.
I think particle physics is here to stay.

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