Research interests?

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Did you apply to grad school with a specific research focus?

Yes, and I intend to do research in that area
22
76%
Yes, but it was mostly a tactic for getting in
5
17%
No
2
7%
 
Total votes: 29

User avatar
zxcv
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Research interests?

Postby zxcv » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:24 am

By "specific research focus" I mean not just an interest in experiment or theory but also a particular subfield like "high energy" or "condensed matter" (the two broadest categories).

----

I wrote in my applications that I was interested in doing theoretical physics (and that's true) and at some places I said I was particularly interested in doing quantum computing (what I've done before). I have a legitimate interest in quantum computing, but in all honesty I'm going into the choosing phase of the application process without much certainty at all about what I'd to research.

I told myself that my focus would be getting in to strong schools overall in physics because I really don't know what I want to do research on particular. I also told myself that with such strong interests, accordingly I could pick the strongest research areas at a school in terms of other convenient factors like advisers and funding.

For instance, I've gotten advice that it may be a mistake to get into HEP because you're either locked into gigantic collaborations or entirely untestable work.

Now I'm paranoid that perhaps there may be areas of physics that I may not be interested in after all -- at my small school, I haven't been able to take coursework in either condensed matter physics or anything in particular related to high energy physics. I may eventually figure out what areas of research I'm sure that I want to get into, but maybe those areas won't be the ideal match for where I'm going.

Thoughts? Shared feelings?

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Postby twistor » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:43 am

Yes. Don't go into experimental high-energy physics unless you want to be a programmer your whole life.

User avatar
fermiboy
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Postby fermiboy » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:15 pm

I said I was interested in the same stuff as my undergrad research because I thought it would make my app stronger. However, I also put a sentence in my statement about being open to working in other areas.




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