Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

  • 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.

noospace
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:14 pm

Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby noospace » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:21 am

I'm an Australian Masters student in particle theory intending on starting a PhD in the US in fall 2010.

My attitude so far has been that I will apply to the top ten schools in particle theory at the time and that in the (hopefully unlikely) event that I receive no offers I will continue my masters into a PhD. According to USnews, they are

Caltech
MIT
Harvard
Princeton
Berkeley
Stanford
UCSB
Chicago
Cornell
Columbia

Part of the reason for this attitude is that even though I have research experience in particle theory, my research
interests are not yet well-defined enough for me to rank these schools in order of preference---although I'm hoping this will have changed by the time I apply.

I know that I would like to do something which is related to string theory, but it would be a shame for it not to have some relevance to the LHC which will start producing results at about the time I start research in the US.

Hence it would seem that something lying on the interface between string theory and phenomenology such as the AdS/CFT correspondence (the topic of my Masters research) would be appropriate.

Am I being unnecessarily restrictive with my choice of schools? Can anyone recommend schools (on or off this list) which would suit my interests?

Thanks.

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby Helio » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:47 am

AdS/CFT is a big thing with one of the faculty at USC.

On the other hand, ever looked at the pgre and figured what you could get? And don't you think safety school or two might help or will you do your phd in the US only if you get accepted by one of them?

noospace
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:14 pm

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby noospace » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:16 am

I've already started preparing for the pGRE.

I have no idea what I'll actually get, but I'm aiming for close to perfect. I'm hoping that my research experience and publications to date, together with publications arising out of my masters research will get me into at least one of these places.

In some sense my home institution is my safety since I'll already be 1 year into the PhD. This is part of the reason I'm asking; how good is good enough to `sacrifice' 1 year of excellent research?

noospace
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:14 pm

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby noospace » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:21 am

Btw, what is USC?

User avatar
Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby Helio » Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:33 am

http://www.usc.edu/

i would say this one is not worth it per se unless you really want to work with these people (Clifford Johnson is one if you know him... wrote a textbook on D-Branes)

Well as long as you have near perfect score, have the research you have a high chance (and by not means a guarantee) that you will get into one of them

robertson
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby robertson » Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:58 am

Hi noospace, I think you and me have similar interests so I may could help you a bit. I think you should drop some of the ten schools you have listed. In my opinion, you can't just put all the top ten because it is a waste of money. If you are accepted in one of them you'll probably accepted in couple more. I followed the rule, three on your level, three reach schools and two safeties. Moreover, I think Columbia is not so famous for string-beyond SM, it is more famous for computer field theory (lattice and such things) and I'm not sure about Berkeley. (Brian Green is in Columbia but he is probably one of this guys that write books and give conferences and does not have time for grad students)

On the other hand, you could put Stanford and Princeton on top of all. When I asked about information to one faculty of SLAC he said exactly: "here string theory and experiment are closer than in any other group". And you probably know that Maldacena is in Princeton, enough reason to apply.

Of my list of schools I would recommend you to take a look at Uni California San Diego. Their hep theory group is quite good although they might be more interested in phenomenology and effective field theories. Oh yes, never forget Canada with the Perimeter Institute. If you can get some money from your country, Cambridge (UK) could also be interesting for you.
Bye

noospace
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 9:14 pm

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby noospace » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:06 am

Hi guys, thanks for your replies. I'm glad to hear that Princeton and Stanford is interested in connecting ST to experiment.

Columbia's main focus does appear to be in hadron physics when I look more closely, I guess I should remove it.

Berkeley seems to be heavily into string theory, I count at least 9 people working on it there: Zumino, Mandelstam, Horava, Halpern, Ganor, Gaillar, Bousso, Bardakci and Aganagic. A former student of my current supervisor is now doing a PhD there, who was also interested in strings.

PI is very interesting too, especially since they are researching non-string quantum gravity theories which have become increasingly attractive to me ever since reading Smolin's `The trouble with physics'. Although Waterloo doesn't exactly have the prestige of some of these other schools. I wonder how much that matters if you can say you studied at perimeter?

Cornell also seems to be pretty good, if lower ranked, I know a few people who went there.

Do you know anything about Chicago?

Now I just need to get into one of them, lol.

nowhereguy
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:21 am

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby nowhereguy » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:11 am

Hi. Let me add my two cents to the discussion. I am also interested in strings, so, I hope what I say will be helpful. In my opinion, the top three schools for string theory right now are Princeton, Harvard and UCSB. Perhaps UCSB could be replaced by Berkeley or Stanford in that list, but I personally prefer Santa Barbara (maybe due to its location ;)). Each of the schools I mentioned pretty much covers the whole spectrum of research in string theory, including attempts of using string theory to (hopefully) describe real-world phenomena. Even Vafa has been doing phenomenological stuff!

Oh, and since you asked about Chicago, yes, it also has a very strong stringy group. Cornell and Columbia are more oriented towards string cosmology.

And about Perimeter, check out my new post ;)

YF17A
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:42 am

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby YF17A » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:49 pm

Going from purely anecdotal evidence, I can say that Harvard is not as strong in phenomenology as other schools - I visited and was told by a string grad student "we don't talk to the experimentalists." And a couple people poked fun at theorists actually running PYTHIA code. However, as other people have mentioned, Berkeley, Stanford, and Princeton are excellent for phenomenology.

User avatar
metric
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:17 pm

Re: Grad school suggestions in Physics beyond the standard model

Postby metric » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:59 pm

I would say Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley. As mentioned before, if you're interested in AdS/CFT Princeton has Maldacena and its linked to the IAS.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests