Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

Student research projects

In our LHC and phenomenology group we are always interested in students who share our excitement for physics. This includes candidates for bachelor theses, master theses, and PhD theses. We offer an international and open research environment, all doors are always open, and everyone is happy to help everyone else. This means that in particular more senior students in the group work on different projects often with different postdocs. Unless the weather is horrible, we all go for lunch together to the Mastall Mensa, so you can also approach the other group members more informally. In return, we expect some dedication to a physics project of your choice and a healthy level of communication with the group. Examples for theses as well as some information on current and former group members are listed on our group pages.

More specifically, what you can expect from a project in our group is:

bachelor First, your general grades are not all that relevant. However, it should be obvious which of your courses you liked and consider the basis of your future physics work; there, your grades should be very good. Because our field relies on numerical simulations, you should be willing to work on the computer. Aside from that we are trying to come up with proper research topics for bachelor theses, which with some luck might lead to a publication. This might not always work, but it means that there probably exist groups with less time-consuming bachelor thesis projects.
master Concerning grades, the same as for the bachelor thesis applies. However, for a master thesis the core courses are obvious: field theory, particle physics, Standard Model, or any advanced lecture in this direction. A specialization on theory (rather than experiment) is not necessary. Heidelberg offers many advanced lectures in particle physics, and we encourage students to attend them. This makes the start of a scientific master thesis project easier for everybody. As before, we try hard to offer projects which will likely lead to a scientific publication and guarantee that a master thesis in our group will be a good basis for a PhD in Heidelberg or elsewhere. As for the bachelor theses, our group works hard to give all master students a good start into a research career. If this is not what you are after, there are probably less work-intensive opportunities. Finally, in particular for former bachelor students we offer a master thesis project in collaboration with some groups abroad, but with a regular degree from Heidelberg.
PhD The number of PhD students in our group is roughly the same as the number of postdocs, so you can expect an ambitious supervision. Moreover, we offer PhD projects in collaboration with a network of collaborators around the world. Every PhD will consist of different projects, often with different collaborators. This is not only more fun, it also gives you a better starting position for the international postdoc market. All our PhD students will be a member of the IMPRS on Precision Tests of Fundamental Symmetries or the Graduiertenkolleg on Particle Physics Beyond the Standard Model. Again, the idea is to give you the best possible start into a research career, while we of course know that not all students choose this option at the end of their PhD. Every PhD student has three years of guaranteed funding and will be able to finish within that time, unlike some of the horror stories published by Der Spiegel or Die Zeit.

While nobody knows what will happen during a set of bachelor, master, and PhD projects, you should know that our group is trying to educate young scientists with a strong interest in fundamental physics, who can at least imagine a career as an academic researcher somewhere in the world. From our list of former group members you will see that some people follow that path, others do not, but we definitely hope that everyone had a fun and inspiring time in Heidelberg.

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