Part III Demographics


In what I can only imagine was a moment of inspired procrastination, Steffen, my friend and fellow Part III student, did a demographic survey of this year’s Part III theoretical physicists (hep/gr). There’s some small wiggle room for error in the data, but the rough results are as follows:

Total number of Part III theoretical physicists: 43
Number that Steffen has talked to: 18
Number with a Facebook account*: 38
Number of German students: 8
Number of American students: 4
Number of British students: 12
Number of French students: 3
Number of Irish students: 4
Number of nationalities represented: 17
Number of students who did their undergrad at Cambridge: 12
Number of students older than Steffen**: 4

In addition to the above, there was one student each from Italy, Spain, Thailand, Switzerland, Portugal, China, Sweden, Netherlands, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, and the Czech Republic.

Methodology: The initial estimate came from the list of students initially signed up for Michael Green’s string theory course with some additions based on known people who were left out. The assumption was that everybody was interested in at least attending the first lecture of Green’s course. I suspect that there are a few omissions from the GR and cosmology communities.

I suspect that Cambridge takes the cake for international representation in theoretical physics graduate students (certainly compared to American universities that I am familiar with).

* I am one of the five students who does not have a facebook account.
** Until changes this year initiated by the EU, the German university system was based on a six-year diplom course that is meant to be the equivalent of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Steffen, who is in the latter stages of his diplom, was not amused to find that some of the other German students are a few years younger than him. One of the [few] students older than him is a Dutch student who just completed a similar degree.

Note further that the entire Part III population, including fluids, astrophysics, and the spectrum of pure mathematics, is approximately 200 students.

One Response to “Part III Demographics”

  1. Thos look very a-typical compared to part III as a whole. From 43 randomly selected students, you would typically expect nearer 14 Germans and about the same number to have done their first degree in Cambridge. Not to mention the slightly small sounding size of the year :$

    More interesting statistics would be looking at the number of females and the number trinitarians. There was an undergraduate year in Cambridge a few years ago that literally had few girls than trinitarians!

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