Archive for December, 2006

a.k.a. “How to get started learning QFT as an undergraduate.” 5 Jan 07: Slight updates (added more details) to a few of the reviews, and an added caveat. Quantum Field Theory (QFT) plays a key role in all branches of theoretical physics. For students interested in high energy theory, exposure to QFT at any early […]

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In the spirit of manic day-after-Christmas sales, the Cambridge University Press (CUP) Bookshop holds a not-publicized damaged book sale on the day after Boxing Day. I only heard about this through word-of-mouth, but found four bookshelves worth of texts available at ridiculously low prices. Damaged paperbacks/hardcovers were priced at £2/£5, where ‘damaged’ includes books with […]


It’s about time that I posted a personal recap of the Annual Theory Meeting (“Christmas Meeting”) at Durham earlier this week. The Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, Durham University These meetings are meant to be relaxed gatherings of members of the UK theoretical physics community, predominantly high energy and cosmology. The programme was as follows: […]


I haven’t seen the sun in about 3 days. This also happens once in a while during the rainy season in California, but not in the spectacularly foggy way as I’ve witnessed in Cambridge. I’ve speculated before that Cambridge is in its element in a light drizzle. I now see that the fog turns Cambridge […]


More razor sharp delivery from Humphrey Lyttelton on the year’s final I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue (BBC Radio 4): Hello and welcome to I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. You join us for a second week at the Empire Theatre in the fine city of Sunderland. (Audience cheers.) The family of the first U.S. […]


A couple of weeks ago I attended the DAMTP Christmas party. It’s still up in the air if Part III students were actually invited to the DAMTP Christmas party, but isn’t being a grad student all about carpe diem and all that? The party was ‘Sci-Fi’ themed, which meant there were plenty of robots and […]


Professor Clifford Johnson’s blog post describing winter in Santa Monica has made me a bit homesick. So I’ll do my best to return the favor by putting up a few photographs of Durham University, where Dr. Johnson was previously before moving to USC. By the way, I’ve learned that it’s pronounced DAR’em, not DUR-um and […]


It turns out that there aren’t too many students around Cambridge during the Christmas break*. My curiosity has correspondingly shifted towards the flora rather than the fauna of the area, and I’ve recently been fascinated by a type of tree that is common on the western part of the city. *-by the way, it really […]


Not that Cambridge really needs any more Americans, but… Last post I wrote about differences between the US and UK postgraduate programs as a surreptitious way to post video clips from The Simpsons. This time I’m going to write about differences between the US and UK (particularly Cambridge mathematics) undergraduate programs as a blatant way […]


Recently the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy has increased the length of its PhD programme to 4 years. Previously the PhD only required three years, though this commonly spilled over to 3.5 years. Additionally, typical UK undergraduate degrees are 3 years–though there appear to be options for fourth year honours degrees. By comparison, US undergraduate degrees […]