Reader Background Poll 2.0

Back in 2015, I did a poll asking how much physics background you guys had. Now four years and many new readers later, I’d like to revisit the question. I’ll explain the categories below the poll:

Amplitudeologist: You have published a paper about scattering amplitudes in quantum field theories, or expect to publish one within the next year or so.

Physics (or related field) PhD: You have a PhD in physics, or in a field with related background such as astronomy or some parts of mathematics.

Physics (or related field) Grad Student: You are a graduate student in physics or a related field. Specifically, you are either a PhD student, or a Master’s student in a research-focused program.

Undergrad or Lower: You are currently an undergraduate student (studying for a Bachelor’s degree) or are in an earlier stage of education (for example a high school student).

Physics Autodidact: Included by popular demand from the last poll: while you don’t have a physics PhD, you have taught yourself about the subject extensively beyond your formal schooling.

Other Academic: You work in Academia, but not in physics or a closely related field.

Other Technical Profession: You work in a technical profession, such as engineering, medicine, or STEM teaching.

None of the Above: Something else.

If you fit more than one category, pick the first that matches you: for example, if you are an undergrad with a published paper in Amplitudes, list yourself as an Amplitudeologist (also, well done!)

17 thoughts on “Reader Background Poll 2.0

  1. Marees

    I chose others as I work in IT

    I did undergrad in engineering but level of academics used in IT industry is pretty low

    Only recently due to interest in machine learning, I am trying to pick up related concepts in probability

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    1. 4gravitons Post author

      I’ll keep that in mind for next time, it’s a bit too late to add categories at this point. For this one, just put yourself under your current profession (so Other Academic, Other Technical Profession, or None of the Above).

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  2. Leonard Baker

    I selected Autodidact. Left school in England just before I turned 16 and was a computer operator a year or so later. Taught myself to program and spent 40+ years in the industry. Read “An intelligent Man’s Guide to Science” by Asimov which opened my mind up and have been reading New Scientist, Scientific American and, mainly popular, science books ever since. Got through some of Feynman’s Lectures in Physics but gave up when the maths got too hard. Enjoy reading your blog despite not understanding it all.

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  3. itaibn

    As someone just currently on the transition from a math undergrad to a graduate school I wasn’t sure which one to select. In the end I selected “Physics Autodidact”, which is also accurate.

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  4. Andrew Oh-Willeke

    “If you fit more than one category, pick the first that matches you: for example, if you are an undergrad with a published paper in Amplitudes, list yourself as an Amplitudeologist (also, well done!)”

    This is the kind of rigorous attention to detail we expect from an Amplitudeologist.

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. Andrew Oh-Willeke

    Exactly two-thirds (as of the time of this comment) of respondents have at least some graduate education in physics. Impressive.

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  6. JollyJoker

    Given that such a strong majority of readers are physics professionals, you could switch to less layman-friendly language. I hope you don’t

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Andrew Oh-Willeke

      In fairness, an understanding of the word amplitude in this context alone restricts an audience to the top 1%-2% or so, so even very straightforward exposition is still pretty sophisticated as one must be pretty immersed in the quantum physics worldview to even have enough related concepts in your head for it to be meaningful. Most people doing new research in math and more theoretical physics are addressing problems that the average person is several steps away from even knowing could exist.

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      1. 4gravitons Post author

        One takeaway here is that I should be more careful to define “amplitudes” in anything aimed at a general audience, even if that definition is just “the thing I do that isn’t otherwise relevant to this post”.

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  7. Kevin Han

    I’m in the unusual position of recently obtaining a PhD in electrical engineering (really more applied physics), but having self-studied way too much high-energy theory. Currently working through some of Nima Arkani-Hamed’s papers on classification of scattering amplitudes, and came across this quite nice blog. Will definitely check it out regularly!

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