08/09 Part III course to shake things up a bit…


Speaking of Part III, the CASM webpage recently let slip a preliminary copy of the 08/09 lecture list. They’ve since taken it down (boo), but it appears that next year will shake up the physics curriculum a bit. This is exciting since Cambridge is a place where the characteristic time scale for “change” is measured in centuries.

All the information here is very unofficial and is subject to modification.

Sabbaticals and faculty shuffling have changed many of the HEP/GR course lecturers, landing a “student favourite” teaching super-strings in Lent. This, in turn, necessitates a new introductory SUSY course in Michaelmas. This will be tricky since students will concurrently be taking their first courses in QFT and group theory and will not have the benefit of the Standard Model course in Lent.

By the way, the Standard Model course will still be at 9am. I know many Part III HEP students fancy themselves mathematicians disguised as physicists, but come on people: the LHC is turning on, and you really should know a thing or two about ‘real’ particle physics… even if you do intend to “only” work on super-stringy-twistor-non-perburbative-F-theory-inflation… or something like that.

The SUSY/XD course won’t be offered, unfortunately. But maybe someone will get around to uploading the rest of the videos online. Maybe they’ll also get around to the Black Hole lectures from ’05.

Also unavailable in ’09 will be “Applications of Differential Geometry to Physics” course. These also weren’t offered when I took Part III (much to my disappointment), but the topics are fantastic and very much capture the spirit of the department. Instead, however, students can look forward to some nice Easter term courses including twistor theory, solitons/instantons, and quantum cosmology. A public service announcement: students shouldn’t be afraid to take Easter term courses for examination. Update (22 June 08): Apparently “Applications of Differential Geometry…” will be offered, much to the benefit of next year’s students.

Anyway, next year promises to mix things up for the Part III physicists. Unfortunately this means that past papers won’t be as helpful when preparing for exams, but the lecture list looks promising. I can only hope that the lecturers (and a few enterprising students… Steffen…) continue to make their notes available online.

3 Responses to “08/09 Part III course to shake things up a bit…”

  1. 1 Steffen

    As far as I know, Malcolm Perry will be lecturing Gary’s course next year.

  2. 2 kia

    May I know where did you do your undergrad and which grad school in the US are you heading to? You studied in the UK under what funding?

  3. Most years they shuffle things around a bit – just to make it interesting for current PhD students or even to give an exposition of VERY recent mathematics/physics (eg the year I did it, Terrance Two had just won the field medal for the Green-Tao theorem on arithmetic progressions of prime numbers. That year Ben Green gave a part III course explaining how they did it). Your description of the latest ammendments to the part III sylabus actually reflect a typical year and are not really anything to marval at. Its relatively rare for an identical course to be given two years in a row, afterall how long are the PhD students typically around for? To clarify, a course can look VERY different, and indeed probably shouldn’t considered to be the same, depending on who is giving it eg every year there will be some kind of Lie algebras course, but precisely what its about is very much a function of the lecturer who will most probably be different from last year.

%d bloggers like this: