Physics to Math

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Ramanujan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:05 am

Physics to Math

Postby Ramanujan » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:12 am

Hi guys,

I'm an international student presently in a Physics PhD program at a top 60 school. I plan to quit with a masters degree and apply to some math programs as my interests have changed. At this moment, I have no idea but to rely on your help. Could you please give me some idea as to how feasible this transition could be? I haven't taken mathGRE exam, but I do have substantial knowledge in areas of mathematics. Could someone provide some insights into this matter and maybe give some names of universities that don't require the mathGRE.

Thanks!

berkbelt
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: Physics to Math

Postby berkbelt » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:30 am

I have Master's in both Math and Physics. I do not know what your physics program was like, but if it was anything like mine, it alone gives you very little math knowledge.

Ramanujan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:05 am

Re: Physics to Math

Postby Ramanujan » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:41 am

berkbelt wrote:I have Master's in both Math and Physics. I do not know what your physics program was like, but if it was anything like mine, it alone gives you very little math knowledge.


I agree, physics program doesn't really sharpen math skills, but I volunteered to learn few topics with a prof. So hopefully that will help. Also, I was talking about knowledge I had acquired before grad school. I'm sorry if it wasn't clear.

mathfreak
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Physics to Math

Postby mathfreak » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:20 am

Ramanujan wrote:Hi guys,

I'm an international student presently in a Physics PhD program at a top 60 school. I plan to quit with a masters degree and apply to some math programs as my interests have changed. At this moment, I have no idea but to rely on your help. Could you please give me some idea as to how feasible this transition could be? I haven't taken mathGRE exam, but I do have substantial knowledge in areas of mathematics. Could someone provide some insights into this matter and maybe give some names of universities that don't require the mathGRE.

Thanks!


Why don't you talk with math professors of your own university? I think it will be easier switch departments with in an university than getting admission somewhere else. The transition is possible, but for that you'll need LORs from mathematicians, and good gpa in pure math courses.

Ramanujan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:05 am

Re: Physics to Math

Postby Ramanujan » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:15 am

mathfreak wrote:Why don't you talk with math professors of your own university? I think it will be easier switch departments with in an university than getting admission somewhere else. The transition is possible, but for that you'll need LORs from mathematicians, and good gpa in pure math courses.


I have actually. But they don't do much work on mathematical physics, which is now my area of interest. I don't have any recommender who is a mathematician. My profs who can recommend me are Particle Theorists.

Any schools that don't require mathGRE where I could possibly look into?

klob
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:54 pm

Re: Physics to Math

Postby klob » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:15 am

My advice is stick with your Ph.D program in physics. It doesn't sound for me that your are really knowing what mathematical physics is, since you don't know a professor in this area who could recommend you.

You got already something many people are dreaming of: being accepted in a Ph.D. program. So don't throw all of this away just because you think at the moment there could be something even nicer .

I think it will be very hard for you to switch. People will think if you already started a Ph.D. in physics and now want to switch, why can you be serious about doing a Ph.D. in mathematical physics now? The chance could be too high for them that you want to leave again, after you realized that mathematical physics is not like you thought it is.

I also studied both, (theoretical) Physics and Mathematical Physics, both Master. Both are very different. If you think about mathematical physics, think more of mathematics which you apply to an area which is not too far away from physics. But it doesn't have really something to do with physics. The spectrum of non-linear Schrödinger operators would be an example. You don't use physics, just math.

Are you doing Theoretical or Experimental Physics?

Ramanujan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:05 am

Re: Physics to Math

Postby Ramanujan » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:59 am

klob wrote:My advice is stick with your Ph.D program in physics. It doesn't sound for me that your are really knowing what mathematical physics is, since you don't know a professor in this area who could recommend you.

You got already something many people are dreaming of: being accepted in a Ph.D. program. So don't throw all of this away just because you think at the moment there could be something even nicer .

I think it will be very hard for you to switch. People will think if you already started a Ph.D. in physics and now want to switch, why can you be serious about doing a Ph.D. in mathematical physics now? The chance could be too high for them that you want to leave again, after you realized that mathematical physics is not like you thought it is.

I also studied both, (theoretical) Physics and Mathematical Physics, both Master. Both are very different. If you think about mathematical physics, think more of mathematics which you apply to an area which is not too far away from physics. But it doesn't have really something to do with physics. The spectrum of non-linear Schrödinger operators would be an example. You don't use physics, just math.

Are you doing Theoretical or Experimental Physics?


I'm doing Theoretical Physics. And, thank you for your insightful reply. It has really got me into thinking.

mathfreak
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:47 am

Re: Physics to Math

Postby mathfreak » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:39 pm

Ramanujan wrote:
mathfreak wrote:Why don't you talk with math professors of your own university? I think it will be easier switch departments with in an university than getting admission somewhere else. The transition is possible, but for that you'll need LORs from mathematicians, and good gpa in pure math courses.


I have actually. But they don't do much work on mathematical physics, which is now my area of interest. I don't have any recommend er who is a mathematician. My profs who can recommend me are Particle Theorists.

Any schools that don't require mathGRE where I could possibly look into?


Do you really don't the stuff you are doing now or you just find mathemetical physics more interesting?

In the the latter case, I would suggest that you should stick with your phd. As theoretical physics and mathematical physics (depending upon what you mean by mathematical physics, do you mean stuffs like axiomatic qfts?) are very similar and there are many theoretical physicists who work on pure mathematics . So, you can easily swith your fields later in your life.




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