What's it like studying string theory at Oxford? | Summary and Q&A

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November 22, 2022
by
Simon Clark
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What's it like studying string theory at Oxford?

TL;DR

Thomas, a PhD student studying string theory at the University of Oxford, discusses the complexities of string theory and the challenges of his research.

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Key Insights

  • 🏑 String theory is a complex and promising field of physics that seeks to explain the fundamental nature of the universe.
  • 👨‍🔬 Thomas's research involves using geometry and machine learning to create models of particle physics from string theory.
  • ❓ Theoretical physics involves a combination of calculations, programming, and collaboration with experts from different disciplines.
  • 👻 Oxford University provides an environment that fosters collaboration and allows researchers to explore different areas of physics.
  • 🪛 Doing a PhD in theoretical physics requires passion, persistence, and a drive to understand the mysteries of the universe.
  • 👷 The vastness of possible constructions in string theory presents a challenge in finding models that resemble the observed standard model of particle physics.
  • ✋ String theory predicts the existence of extra dimensions and new particles, but detecting them requires extremely high energies.

Transcript

this video was sponsored by curiosity stream and nebula I would actually say we kind of discovered String Theory too early we landed upon upon this thing that looks incredibly promising and it contains all the bits of physics that we see in our universe in a very constrained way but the energies that says we should see these things that are so abov... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is string theory and how does it differ from M Theory?

String theory is considered a special limit of M Theory, which is a theory that combines various aspects of physics. String theory focuses on the idea that particles are not point-like but instead, tiny strings. M Theory expands on this concept.

Q: How does Thomas use techniques from geometry and machine learning in his research?

Thomas combines techniques from geometry and machine learning to construct models of particle physics from string theory. By using machine learning algorithms, he can modify initial configurations to find a model that closely resembles the standard model of particle physics.

Q: What are the potential limitations of string theory?

String theory predicts the existence of extra dimensions and new particles, but these predictions can only be observed at extremely high energies, making them difficult to detect with current technology. If these predictions are not observed, it could challenge the validity of string theory.

Q: What are the main challenges of doing a PhD in theoretical physics?

Doing a PhD in theoretical physics involves a lot of calculations, programming, and reading scientific papers. It also requires collaborating with experts in different areas of physics and mathematics.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video follows Thomas, a PhD student studying string theory, as he explains the fundamentals of string theory and his research.

  • Thomas discusses how string theory is a special limit of M Theory and the potential implications of living in a universe with string theory.

  • He explains that his research involves using geometry and machine learning to construct semi-realistic models of particle physics from string theory.

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