Is cosmology theory a meme subfield? Applying to grad schools next year, I have only ~2 years in research experience (in physics) and no fancy double degree in math, grad-level physics classes, etc. so even though I'd like to get into hep-th I doubt I have the qualifications. Honestly though I really just want to learn and work with the big theories (GR and QFT).
Also, side question for whoever may know - I checked out Caltech's requirements (huge stretch already I know) and under the question "What level of undergraduate preparation is necessary for admission?" the answer is basically that applicants should have already taken grad-level physics and undergrad analysis. Are they serious, and is this common at top 10 programs? I mean, even for experimentalists, do they really expect exposure to real analysis?
Sorry if I'm sounding bitchy, just kinda scared for my future right now. I'm already considering doing a masters (to get this "required" grad-level exposure) but I really, really don't want to.
You are absolutely sounding bitchy if you're complaining about baby real analysis of all things.
The math eventually required is so much more intricate and high-level that you'll wish you're doing baby's first Cauchy sequences again.
>Is cosmology theory a meme subfield?
No. In some aspects it's a lot like particle physics but the time lines are a bit different. 30 years ago there was still big debate going on and hot new theory was being produced. Observations sucked however. In the past decade though, like particle physics, the standard model (of cosmology) has become irritatingly good. The field simply isn't developing as it once was so theory is either in the subtle details or is working on speculative models. Observational cosmology progresses but again, not like it once did. Observation is now very technical as large innovation in methods is few and far between (also like particle physics). Observers have the benefit that they can also do galaxy evolution (most of them) which is related but much more poorly understood.
It is an interesting and big field but it depends what part you get into. Some field within it are saturated and you will struggle to have an original idea.
It's not that I dislike real math or anything, I've even self-studied out of Rosenlicht and Krantz (mostly the former) that my friend gave me, but I just don't have the space to take a formal course in analysis here (not to make another excuse; if I could go back two years and change my plans I would, but that's just how it is for now).
Alright, thanks for the perspective, that's just what I was looking for. Obviously I'll be talking to my advisers about this once school opens up again but that helped me get my thought processes running clearer.