So, I'm doing my undergrad in physics in India. I want to apply for research internships, but when I read professors' CV's and stuff they are doing reasearch on currently, I don't understand anything, it's way too complicated, I see things like " X-ray Binaries, Neutron Stars, X-ray Polarimetry , quantification of non-linear quantum correlations at very low light intensities. etc. ". It seems way beyond what I can comprehend !

So, if I have no idea about what they are working on then should I apply for the reasearch internship ?


It's normal to feel overwhelmed with the complexity of such advanced topics at your level, the goal is to learn about it progressively. However if you don't even feel interested in discovering the topic, then there's probably no point applying.

In order to start evaluating your own interest about a particular topic before applying, it would be a good idea to read a bit about it. you won't understand everything of course, but this way you can get a sense of whether you like the topic or not. This will help you choose, and it will also help you get accepted in case you decide to apply, since an advisor is more likely to choose somebody who knows at least a little about their topic.

  • What I'm afraid of is, I get accepted and then the professor talks about highly advanced stuff which I don't know, then he thinks I'm useless which ruins the whole purpose of the internship – theenigma017 May 3 '19 at 16:33
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    As a general rule in research, don't be ashamed of what you don't know, just keep learning! Nobody knows everything, the professor is unlikely to expect you to know a lot about a particular specialized research topic. If he accepts you then he thinks you can do it. Unless you pretend to know something that you don't (don't do that of course), it won't be a problem. Be straightforward with the advisor, say that you don't know much but you want to learn. – Erwan May 3 '19 at 16:54

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