What lies ahead? By Miguel Hernández Román

What lies ahead?


Miguel Hernández Román

September 25, 2012


Audience:  Physics UPRM Students with plans to go to graduate school

On September 25, 2012 at the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez Campus’ Physics Department. Professor Erick Roura (Ph.D.) spoke about the different fields and opportunities for graduate school, a slightly description of the guided program and the average time it takes to complete the degree, the best universities and job opportunities. Less than of 15 undergraduate theorical and science physics students.

The presentation took place at 10:30 a.m. (university hour) in the physics building at UPRM

Some of the fields listed by Roura were the standard model of particles, quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodyinamics, condensed matter, astrophysics and Hawking radiation.

The standard model of particles is a theory concerning electromagnetic weak, and strong nuclear interactions, which mediate the dynamics of the known subatomic particles.

Quantum electrodynamics is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter  interacts and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum mechanics and special relativity is achieved.

Quantum chromodynamics is a theory of the strong interaction color force, a fundamental force describing the interactions between quarks and gluons which make up hadrons.

Condensed matter physicists seek to understand the behavior of these phases by using well-established physical laws. In particular, the laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statiscally mechanics.

Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior.

Hawking radiation is black body radiation that is predicted to be emitted by black holes, due to quantum effects near the event horizon. It is named after the physicist Stephen Hawking.

Each of these have a principle in common called the theory of quantum fields, which used to describe and analyze the element particles’ physics.

In first year you must pass an entrance exam which asks all the classical mechanical physics and from second to fourth year you’re enrolled in regular classes combined with research projects by a special group that you must join or assemble. Finally, on the fifth year you must defend your thesis. The average time it takes to finish a post-bachelor’s degree five to six years on the theorical field and eight on the experimental; professor Roura achieved a PhD. in particles and fields in five years.

“The most interesting of particles and fields is to understand how the theory of quantum fields applies to problems like the theory of ropes. I wouldn’t complete another PhD. as this is a one in a lifetime but will continue studying different fields on my own, like the thermal equilibrium and gravity could be seen as the point of view of quantum fields” said PhD. Erick Roura.

As Dr. Roura knows we live an economic crisis worldwide, he specified the two fields of higher demand: condensed matter and particles and fields. The temporary research jobs are the most offered with a high percent employment and the steady jobs are the less offered with a low percent of employment.  The salaries depend on which sector do you work for because on the private one you can start from $75000 to $100000 and on the public is from $45000-75000. Most students end up working on different and more prosperous jobs such as doctors and lawyers.

The best universities are the ones that are not only on the budget of the students but also in their lifestyle. There’s a need for balance between quality and quantity. But in general some of them are Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Perimeter Institute for Theorical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario.