Working at a frontier of mathematics that intersects with cutting edge research in physics.
Mathematicians can benefit from discoveries in physics and conversely mathematics is essential to further excel in the field of physics. History shows us as much. Mathematical physics began with Christiaan Huygens, who is honoured at Radboud University by naming the main building of the Faculty of Science after him. By combining Euclidean geometry and preliminary versions of calculus, he brought major advances to these areas of mathematics as well as to mechanics and optics. The second and greatest mathematical physicist in history, Isaac Newton, invented both the calculus and what we now call Newtonian mechanics and, from his law of gravity, was the first to understand planetary motion on a mathematical basis.
Of course, in the Master’s specialisation in Mathematical Physics we look at modern mathematical physics. The specialisation combines expertise in areas like functional analysis, geometry, and representation theory with research in, for example, quantum physics and integrable systems. You’ll learn how the field is far more than creating mathematics in the service of physicists. It’s also about being inspired by physical phenomena and delving into pure mathematics.
At Radboud University, we have such faith in a multidisciplinary approach between these fields that we created a joint research institute: Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics (IMAPP). This unique collaboration has lead to exciting new insights into, for example, quantum gravity and noncommutative geometry. Students thinking of enrolling in this specialisation should be excellent mathematicians as well as have a true passion for physics.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/mathematics/physics
Why study Mathematical Physics at Radboud University?
- This specialisation is one of the few Master’s in the world that lies in the heart of where mathematics and physics intersect and that examines their cross-fertilization.
- You’ll benefit from the closely related Mathematics Master’s specialisations at Radboud University in Algebra and Topology (and, if you like, also from the one in Applied Stochastics).
- Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups. This ensures that at Radboud University you’ll get plenty of one-on-one time with your thesis supervisor.
- You partake in the Mastermath programme, meaning you can follow the best mathematics courses, regardless of the university in the Netherlands that offers them. It also allows you to interact with fellow mathematic students all over the country.
- As a Master’s student you’ll get the opportunity to work closely with the mathematicians and physicists of the entire IMAPP research institute.
- More than 85% of our graduates find a job or a gain a PhD position within a few months of graduating. About half of our PhD’s continue their academic careers.
Mathematicians are needed in all industries, including the industrial, banking, technology and service industry and also within management, consultancy and education. A Master’s in Mathematics will show prospective employers that you have perseverance, patience and an eye for detail as well as a high level of analytical and problem-solving skills.
The skills learned during your Master’s will help you find jobs even in areas where your specialised mathematical knowledge may initially not seem very relevant. This makes your job opportunities very broad indeed and is why many graduates of a Master’s in Mathematics find work very quickly.
Possible careers for mathematicians include:
- Researcher (at research centres or within corporations)
- Teacher (at all levels from middle school to university)
- Risk model validator
- ICT developer / software developer
- Policy maker
Radboud University annually has a few PhD positions for graduates of a Master’s in Mathematics. A substantial part of our students attain PhD positions, not just at Radboud University, but at universities all over the world.
Our research in this field
The research of members of the Mathematical Physics Department, emphasise operator algebras and noncommutative geometry, Lie theory and representation theory, integrable systems, and quantum field theory. Below, a small sample of the research our members pursue.
Gert Heckman's research concerns algebraic geometry, group theory and symplectic geometry. His work in algebraic geometry and group theory concerns the study of particular ball quotients for complex hyperbolic reflection groups. Basic questions are an interpretation of these ball quotients as images of period maps on certain algebraic geometric moduli spaces. Partial steps have been taken towards a conjecture of Daniel Allcock, linking these ball quotients to certain finite almost simple groups, some even sporadic like the bimonster group.
Erik Koelink's research is focused on the theory of quantum groups, especially at the level of operator algebras, its representation theory and its connections with special functions and integrable systems. Many aspects of the representation theory of quantum groups are motivated by related questions and problems of a group representation theoretical nature.
Klaas Landsman's previous research programme in noncommutative geometry, groupoids, quantisation theory, and the foundations of quantum mechanics (supported from 2002-2008 by a Pioneer grant from NWO), led to two major new research lines:
1. The use of topos theory in clarifying the logical structure of quantum theory, with potential applications to quantum computation as well as to foundational questions.
2. Emergence with applications to the Higgs mechanism and to Schroedinger's Cat (aka as the measurement problem). A first paper in this direction with third year Honours student Robin Reuvers (2013) generated worldwide attention and led to a new collaboration with experimental physicists Andrew Briggs and Andrew Steane at Oxford and philosopher Hans Halvorson at Princeton.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/mathematics/physics