How about condensed matter vs High Energy? I've heard HE is tougher to get into.
Is this true even for Experimental High Energy?
HEP is i would consider one of the hardest theory fields out there. I mean you have to be more of a mathematician then a physicist at some point, shows in the fact that string theorist have dual appointments or are in math departments in some universities.
Condensed matter is weird to say the least. I can just tell that i had more experience with theory condensed matter people. I mean there are only somewhere around 5 true experimental faculty at my place.
Experimental High energy is a thing... I mean it usually involves high multi-billion dollar equipment, then again there are a lot of people working it... isn't it somewhere around 1300 people in the first publications that the LHC will produce. I remember when visiting Fermilabs there were 3 to 4 grad students there working on a signal detector that day.
Heh... It is kind of weird to be using machines that are worth more than you... Well, worth more than several years of your salary anyway...
EDIT: Most are actually difficult to seriously *** up accidentally. You get used to it.
No it isn't and this comes from a guy who has already brought down three storage farms.... ups. I mean i have worked with SQUID, DR, and in clean rooms, but as long as you keep your cool and don't go running through the lab like a brainless huma.... , ,sry, monkey you can even do that.
On the other hand, I have seen faculty members that have both, grad students for theory and experiment. so you get the best of both worlds... sort of