Where should I study theoretical Cosmology like Superstring Theory (M Theory)?
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: ryan256-ga
List Price: $30.00
06 Apr 2005 21:47 PDT
Expires: 06 May 2005 21:47 PDT
Question ID: 506137
Where should I go to study theoretical cosmology such as Superstring Theory (now known as M Theory)? I currently have a computer business that is going quite well, and I'll be finished with my undergraduate degree in December. It seems a logical next step to pick up the pace with my business, make some money, and forget about school. But I feel unfulfilled with my college education. I will have a minor in Math and a minor in Computer Science. My major is in Elective Studies since I spent the last four years of my life trying vastly different subject areas in the hopes of finding something that fueled my passion for science and technology, as well as creative new ideas. I have found Math too straightforward to be creative, and Philosophy too fuzzy to be shared usefully with others. The only time I've really experienced that passion was when reading about theoretical cosmology when I was in high school. Now I realize that I probably should have started college by chasing that dream of cosmology, rather than beating around the bush for four years. So I ask myself: Should I stay in school and study Cosmology and Superstring Theory, or should I quit school and work full time? That's something I have to figure out on my own. But before I can even begin to consider that question, I need some help from you! So here's my question for you: Where are some of the best schools to study Cosmology and Superstring Theory (M Theory)? Where do students go to study and get involved in this kind of bleeding edge theoretical thinking? I'm from Minnesota, and I don't really know of any major universities here that even have a Cosmology program, much less a "Superstring Theory program!" Do such programs even exist? (Anywhere in the U.S., not necessarily just MN.) Where is all this happening? Where is the center(s) of activity? I should add that I am NOT asking where I should go to study ASTRONOMY. Astronomers spend their time crunching numbers, and they end up with a very precise result that is a single piece of a very large unassembled puzzle with an unknown number of pieces. Although Cosmology is interesting only because of the wealth of experimental results provided by the hard work of countless Astronomers, I am personally more interested in the bigger picture than the meticulous details of carrying out a very specific experiment. Cosmologists are the ones who look at the bigger picture and try to put all the pieces together. That's what I love, and that's what I'm interested in. Cosmology. Superstring Theory. M Theory. That's the stuff! If I put off full-time work for a few more years, would I just be chasing a pie in the sky--or do there exist places where I can really go to study this stuff? Thanks for your help in making this life-decision! Ryan Since this is a repost, I will include the original clarification in the body: Request for Question Clarification by siliconsamurai-ga on 04 Mar 2005 02:53 PST What constitutes a minor in math can vary quite a bit between schools. Can you let us know what your last math class was or otherwise describe your highest level of math knowledge? This might help to narrow the field a bit. Without at least a masters in physics you may not be able to enter some of the top programs and similarly for a certain level of theoretical math knowledge. Clarification of Question by ryan256-ga on 04 Mar 2005 12:12 PST In terms of math required for string theory, I have already found a fair amount of information at: http://superstringtheory.com/math/ My minor will cover the undergraduate suggestions listed at this site. Even so, I realize that if I were to really get serious about this, I would probably need to study math at the graduate level. However, for the sake of question clarification, let's assume that I've got a good portion of the graduate math requirements taken care of as well. In that case, where should I go to study theoretical Cosmology like Stuperstring Theory (M Theory)? My main question is: Does there exist such a thing as a "Cosmology program" or "String theory program" (along the lines of a "Business program" or "Art department")? If so, where are the best places in the nation, and how do their programs differ? My secondary question is: At what point does one start connecting the pure math to the actual theory? Is it really impossible to talk about string theory without a graduate degree in math and physics?
Re: Where should I study theoretical Cosmology like Superstring Theory (M Theory
Answered By: politicalguru-ga on 07 Apr 2005 00:58 PDT
Dear Ryan, "Cosmology" programs, or sometimes also "M/String Theory" programs exist as a specialisation as part of a wider graduate program in physics, usually within the frame of the elementary partical theory. It is not "impossible" to talk about these theories without these degrees (there are many autodidacts, for example, science journalists, who have not studied it in an orderly fashion), but in order to talk about them in an academic level, or to actually research them, you'll need to study these at least at the graduate level, and perhaps also in the postdoc level. Getting into one of the graduate labs I'll refer to in this list might not be easy for someone who hasn't got an undergraduate degree in physics/math. However, it is also not "impossible". Unfortunately for you, most of these programs are outside the MidWest, except for Chicago (in fact, good labs are either in the East or the West. I guess they like the oceanview :). Here is a list of leading universities, whose graduate program deals with string theory or cosmology (this is not ranking, but an alphabetical order. Basically, I cannot really rank any of these excellent institutions over another, your choice must have to do with other elements - chances of a grant; addmission requirements; with whom of the great minds will you work; etc.): Baylor University <http://www.baylor.edu/physics/index.php?id=10125> California Institute of Technology Physics @ CalTech <http://www.pma.caltech.edu/GSR/physics.html> University of Chicago <http://physics.uchicago.edu/> Columbia University, New York <http://columbia-physics.net/> - where Brian Greene teaches and researches. Harvard Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) <http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/> Dept of Physics <http://www.physics.harvard.edu/> Institute of Advaned Study, Princeton <http://www.ias.edu/> - you can't really "study" (for a degree) there. They do have summer programs and postdoc projects, and many people in their faculty are employed in other New Jersey universities, especially Princeton. Princeton University <http://pupgg.princeton.edu/> Stanford Linear Accelerator Center <http://www.slac.stanford.edu/> - you can participate in their researches as a graduate student at Stanford, or as part of a summer program (either graduate or postdoc; they also have something for undergrads). Their researchers are part of Stanford's physics department: <http://www.stanford.edu/dept/physics/index.shtml> University of California, Berkeley <http://physics.berkeley.edu/> - this department also works with SLAC and is also involved in theoretical research. University of California, Irvine <http://www.physics.uci.edu/> University of Maryland, College Park <http://www.physics.umd.edu/ep/home.html> <http://www.physics.umd.edu/> I hope this answers your question. I wish you success in your chosen path, especially now, at the beginning of the way, which is going to be a bit bumpy.
Re: Where should I study theoretical Cosmology like Superstring Theory (M Theory)?
From: hedgie-ga on 07 Apr 2005 20:02 PDT
Ryan, I would recommend, before looking for a specific program, to do a bit of reading, perhaps a course in conceptual physics, before selecting a specific field, such a M Theory or cosmology. Official classification of topics in physics is: 00. GENERAL 03. Quantum mechanics, field theories, and special relativity (see also 11 General theory of fields and particles) 10. THE PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS 20. NUCLEAR PHYSICS 30. ATOMIC AND MOLECULAR PHYSICS 40. ELECTROMAGNETISM, OPTICS, ACOUSTICS, HEAT TRANSFER, CLASSICAL MECHANICS AND FLUID MECHANICS 50. PHYSICS OF GASES, PLASMAS AND ELECTRIC DISCHARGES 60. CONDENSED MATTER: STRUCTURAL, MECHANICAL AND THERMAL PROPERTIES 70. CONDENSED MATTER: ELECTRONIC STRUCTURE, ELECTRICAL, MAGNETIC, AND OPTICAL PROPERTIES 80. INTERDISCIPLINARY PHYSICS AND RELATED AREAS OF SCIENCE 81.07.-b Nanoscale materials and structures: fabrication and characterization 81.07.Bc Nanocrystalline materials 81.07.De Nanotubes 81.07.Lk Nanocontacts 81.07.Nb Molecular nanostructures 90. GEOPHYSICS, ASTRONOMY, AND ASTROPHYSICS http://publish.aps.org/PACS/pacs_01.asc The two subfields, Unified Theories and Cosmology do intersect in study of early universe, as described on popular lever here: http://www.sky-watch.com/books/weinberg1.html Here are other classifications and resources http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hph.html#hph and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/activities/3012_elegant_06.html During such preparation you should be able to decide if you are just rounding up you education, of if you contemplate a career in one of the fields. This statement : "I realize that if I were to really get serious about this, I would probably need to study math at the graduate level..." is an understatement of the your. Drip the 'propbably'. I would start with this book: Tensor analysis for physicists.y Schouten, J. A. (Jan Arnoldus), b. 1883. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1951. 1951. and then, if you enjoy that, look at the history of the field: http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2004-2/download/lrr-2004-2BW.pdf To see if you will still be interested after some serious reading. Hedgie
Re: Where should I study theoretical Cosmology like Superstring Theory (M Theory)?
From: hedgie-ga on 07 Apr 2005 20:05 PDT
correction: is an understatement of the your. Drip the 'propbably' should be is an understatement of the year. Drop the 'probably' sorry about that
If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
|Search Google Answers for|