For undergraduates seeking research opportunities in my lab


Every year, dozens of undergraduate students -- locals, nationals, and internationals -- email me asking for research opportunities in my lab. The majority of them are naïve, in that they have done zero homework to find out what skills a professor like me might expect. I got sufficiently tired of repeating myself during answering that I wrote this page to help cut through the general confusion.

I am a theoretical physicist, so I do not have a lab. My research field of gravitational string theory is quite technical, and it does not lend itself easily to training undergraduates in research, especially those looking for a publication. The machinery it uses is first introduced in fourth year undergraduate and first year graduate courses. So the vast majority of undergrads simply do not have the tools to contribute to working in my research group.

I therefore refer all undergraduates seeking research opportunities towards experimental particle physics or astrophysics, especially those who want a publication on their record before they graduate. There are tons of positions available in these experimental fields and, even if you really want to be a theorist, you gain invaluable experience doing experimental research in the same field or a closely related one. Here is a compilation of various research, employment and summer opportunities in our Department of Physics, put together by the Undergraduate Chair's office.

Note: if what you imagine you want from me is general undergraduate mentoring, rather than specific supervised research work in my field, please apply to the Physics Mentorship Program. This local program is open to 3rd and 4th year students in the Physics Major, Specialist, and Joint Specialist programs at the University of Toronto, St. George campus.

Background needed for working with me

For a few local undergraduates, I am willing to offer reading courses at third or fourth year level (usually fourth). I require excellent performance in core physics and mathematics courses from the regular curriculum, and I am not willing to re-teach material available elsewhere in the university's offerings (such as graduate QFT). I also expect intense curiosity about physics, a willingness to work hard, and a decent degree of academic nous. If you think this sounds like you, then please be prepared to produce an excellent transcript and to tell me in person about why you want to do research with me when you contact me.  I am open to well thought out proposals! Please just ensure that you have read this entire page before contacting me. Thanks.

Past PHY472H course topics

Reading course topics I have previously offered to qualified UofT undergrads:-

General requirements

Upper Level Coursework

Stuff I wrote for aspiring string theorists

Starter articles/textbooks by others