Area of Interest

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poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Area of Interest

Postby poel5279 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:05 am

Hi! Thank you for reading my post and answering my question!

I noticed through many searching that HEP-th is arguably the most competitive program to get into (Please correct me if I am wrong).
Although HEP-th is my primary area of interest, to be honest, I am not heavily leaning toward HEP-th as my preference.
I am interested in CMT, Gravity, and Cosmology-Theory as well (almost to the degree that I am interested in HEP-th).

So I was curious, are any of these less competitive than HEP-th? I am somewhat interested in string theory and quantum gravity, but it seems like getting into schools with this interest is very challenging. I would be just as happy doing theory in CMT, Gravity, or Cosmology, so I think it makes sense to choose something that will boost my chance of admission.

Thank you guys for your help. Maybe my way of thinking is worth being criticized, and I can understand if you do.
But honestly, I do feel that I lack exposure enough to strongly lean toward one field as oppose to the other. I am judging my interest mostly by the questions that specific fields are asking, and I am mostly interested in the questions being asked by HEP, but am almost as interested in other theories as well.

Thank you!
Last edited by poel5279 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Area of Interest

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:13 am

poel5279 wrote:I am somewhat interested in string theory and quantum gravity

poel5279 wrote:I am extremely interested in CMT, Gravity, and Cosmology-Theory


Extremely > Somewhat in my experiences.

Are you still hoping for a top 10 school with a PGRE of 810?

-Riley

poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Area of Interest

Postby poel5279 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:45 pm

Yes. Thanks for pointing out my misuse of language.
I am very interested in all four fields, but a bit more in HEP. Still comparable interest in other three as well. That's what I meant.

I will be applying to some top 10s and 20s.

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WhoaNonstop
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Area of Interest

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:13 pm

poel5279 wrote:I will be applying to some top 10s and 20s.


Did you know that some of the leading people in HEP-Theory are probably not at the top 20 schools?

Remember, you are recognized for the work you do, not the school you went to. If you work with a well known HEP-theorist that isn't at a top school and you do good work, you'll probably be better off than someone who barely gets by at a top 20 school.

I can give you a comparison. I was a domestic student, 3.9 GPA, 890 PGRE and I didn't get into a top 10 school and yes I applied to two of them. I truly didn't even EXPECT to get into them. My PGRE was still a little low as a domestic student to get in.

-Riley

poel5279
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Area of Interest

Postby poel5279 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:44 pm

Thank you for your honest response. I know you are very reliable and you provide much help. (You responded to all my posts so far).
Yes, I am applying to univ that are not top 20 with amazing hep as well (i.e. U of Florida, Stony). (I would like to know some other univ as well, if you know any of them with respectable HEP program.)
I just emphasized the fact that they are top 20 only because it is a simple way to say that it's a competitive univ to get into. I am not merely applying to these schools due to ranking.

Thank you for providing your comparison. I just think I should still give it a try, because I really have a strong research background/ LOR/ GPA. (You did say in my profile post that my research experience may make difference.)

Another question. I noticed many people in the forum speaks about grad-level courses that they took as a bonus points.
Do you think it is advisable to put graduate level courses taken / books read on CV?

Thanks.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Area of Interest

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:10 pm

Do you think it is advisable to put graduate level courses taken / books read on CV?


Yes, if you have space, since it's easy enough for them to just ignore that section. But nowhere else, since really it makes you sound like you think grad school is about taking classes and reading books.

As far as schools that are good in HEP-Th, you should check references from recent major CERN/fermilab publications, because that's a good place to find authors that build respected models, and their corresponding institutions. Beyond that pick your favorite theories and see who's working on them and who they reference.

Also, schools with strong experimental groups tend to also have strong theoretical groups, since being near to the experts on top-notch data makes being a theorist easier. A list of CMS and ATLAS contributing institutions can be easily found in a google search:

CMS
http://www.uslhc.us/The_US_and_the_LHC/Collaborating_Institutions/Institutions_by_Project#cms
http://cms.web.cern.ch/content/cms-collaboration (same list, but map view)


ATLAS
http://www.uslhc.us/The_US_and_the_LHC/Collaborating_Institutions/Institutions_by_Project#atlas

For gravity and cosmology, I assume you mean dark energy and inflation. For that, there's a small enough set of contributors that you can probably reach all the productive names by picking a recent paper on each (inflation, dark energy) and following all the references through 3 levels of recursion. If you mean quantum gravity, good luck.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Area of Interest

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:18 pm

Oh, and here's an excellent paper to check references (and the author list) for well-respected authors. SNOWMASS is the particle physics planning meeting in the US, so this author list is the set of people the community thinks highly enough of to ask them to help set policy, and the reference selection probably reflects the subset of theories (and therefore theorists) the community as a whole finds intriguing.


http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.0299




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