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    Hi everybody!

    A bit of technical advice would be appreciated - thanks very much in advance

    I have a 1st class degree (three year BSc) in maths from a respected university and I would like to pursue my strong interest in quantum mechanics by doing a PhD in that area, specifically quantum gravity/quantum field theory.

    The thing that's on my mind is that my degree is a pure maths degree (i.e. not maths with physics, etc), although I did a bit of introductory special relativity and quantum mechanics during my course.
    Much (>80%) of what I studied was pure maths.
    In my mind, this has one major advantage and one major disadvantage as far as doing a PhD in quantum is concerned:

    Advantage:
    Unlike many pure physics courses, I have been indoctrinated with much of the pure maths knowledge one would need to pursue an interest in quantum mechanics, as quantum is (when done properly) pretty much pure maths anyway.

    Disadvantage:
    Although I have the pure maths knowledge, I do not have anything but the basic knowledge of relativity/quantum (although being a maths course, the approach to relativity/quantum was quite rigorous).

    Where does all of this leave me in terms of a PhD?

    Is it absolutely necessary to have done more quantum mechanics prior to a PhD in the field, as the first year (or two) of the PhD will be 'brushing up' on what I need to know anyway?

    I don't want to have to do a theoretical physics MSc if I can help it, but do I realistically have an option?

    Thanks again for any advice
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    (Original post by privat)
    Hi everybody!

    A bit of technical advice would be appreciated - thanks very much in advance

    I have a 1st class degree (three year BSc) in maths from a respected university and I would like to pursue my strong interest in quantum mechanics by doing a PhD in that area, specifically quantum gravity/quantum field theory.

    The thing that's on my mind is that my degree is a pure maths degree (i.e. not maths with physics, etc), although I did a bit of introductory special relativity and quantum mechanics during my course.
    Much (>80%) of what I studied was pure maths.
    In my mind, this has one major advantage and one major disadvantage as far as doing a PhD in quantum is concerned:

    Advantage:
    Unlike many pure physics courses, I have been indoctrinated with much of the pure maths knowledge one would need to pursue an interest in quantum mechanics, as quantum is (when done properly) pretty much pure maths anyway.

    Disadvantage:
    Although I have the pure maths knowledge, I do not have anything but the basic knowledge of relativity/quantum (although being a maths course, the approach to relativity/quantum was quite rigorous).

    Where does all of this leave me in terms of a PhD?

    Is it absolutely necessary to have done more quantum mechanics prior to a PhD in the field, as the first year (or two) of the PhD will be 'brushing up' on what I need to know anyway?

    I don't want to have to do a theoretical physics MSc if I can help it, but do I realistically have an option?

    Thanks again for any advice
    Seriously, if your pure maths is as good as you say, you'd be able to get up to scratch to any physics grad/masters student fairly easily in quantum mech - it's basically all matrices and PDEs anyway
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    (Original post by natninja)
    Seriously, if your pure maths is as good as you say, you'd be able to get up to scratch to any physics grad/masters student fairly easily in quantum mech - it's basically all matrices and PDEs anyway
    OK great.

    If I was accepted onto a PhD I would of course do my own reading around the subject prior to starting anyway: pretty advanced quantum mechanics wouldn't be a problem to pick up, neither would the basics of quantum fields. Bit of relativity wouldn't go amiss either I guess, special is fairly straightforward and general is basically just differential geometry.

    So I should just apply for a PhD and see what response I get back I'm guessing?
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    I was under the impression you require a masters to progress onto a PhD
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    (Original post by privat)
    OK great.

    If I was accepted onto a PhD I would of course do my own reading around the subject prior to starting anyway: pretty advanced quantum mechanics wouldn't be a problem to pick up, neither would the basics of quantum fields. Bit of relativity wouldn't go amiss either I guess, special is fairly straightforward and general is basically just differential geometry.

    So I should just apply for a PhD and see what response I get back I'm guessing?
    Quantum fields are a bit of a pain but basic to advanced standard QM should be fairly straightforward. Typically on an undergraduate course you'd probably cover up to time dependent degenerate perturbation theory. There would also be some other QM in atomic, molecular and condensed matter physics but that is generally fairly simple and to do with coupling. The standard model and quantum scattering is a bit more tricky but if you're on for a first in pure maths shouldn't be a problem.

    I struggled with the maths in GR (avoiding it in my masters completely). It's basically just a load of tensor algebra. If you understand the metric and things like the Riemann tensor then you'll be fine.

    Apply but have it well in mind what your research interest is and some sort of basic plan. Especially if there is a knowledge gap. I feel like learning python could be handy as well.
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    (Original post by Diagro)
    I was under the impression you require a masters to progress onto a PhD
    I know for certain that you definitely don't NEED a masters
    I was just wondering whether I would 'need' to do one because of my relative lack of quantum mechanics/relativity modules during my degree.
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    I would suggest you do it anyway, you seem to enjoy it.

    Also would most likely greatly help your PhD progress when you come to do it.
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    To be fair, a masters only downside is the financial cost. It's benefits defiantly outweigh the negatives. It'll give you the preparation needed for your PhD as well as a slightly better outlook to a potential employee. After all, isn't a masters purpose to indulge you into more advance concepts of a particular area as well as to set you up for the PhD.
 
 
 
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