Or inverserly, where do academic theoreticians/mathematicians try to sell their ideas and hypothesis depending on how:

  • rigorous
  • speculative
  • potential for applications

Can some of such share here their strategy? With which kind of ideas/theorems are you going to a conference, potential collaborator, journal, blog entry. Where could a experimentalist hear about it at all and most likely?

Especially in fields where theoreticians and experimentalist are not working closely together or when there are rather interdisciplinary thematics overlaps. E.g. Topological condensed matter physics is now booming but most experimentalist also trained in higher mathematics during their studies might not understand any of the theoretical knowledge and hypothesis not specially written for physicists. Where would a topologist go thinking his work is of importance in physics and testing the waters?

Of course you could also ask how to find unexplained experimental data as a theoretician, but as this is the majority and most data cannot be reproduced, it's a rather pointless and asymmetric question as the answer is google, read, goole,....

But related to question in the title I'm wondering also how to spot easily if too much theoretical/experimetnal work in a field exists or how the balance is. There are huge unbalances in many fields of physics I know of due to staff, financial, political reasons, but how to spot this as a non-theoretician and postdoc not working for over a decade in a field and maybe work also more on theory/experiment parallel like at least some researchers in physics do? Any bibliographic or heuristic trikcs/hacks here?

  • 2
    This is a bit confusing. You have two threads here: finding ideas and disseminating them. Can you narrow it to your main concern? I think it may be too broad as is. "How does a mathematical physicist behave, anyway?" Then there is the last paragraph. – Buffy Nov 1 '19 at 19:59
  • @Buffy the confusion is on your side, experimentalist have to find theoretical ideas, therefore I have to know how theoreticians dissiminate them, you can answer it from either perspective, just two sides of one coin...I like many of your answers, but give other users a chance ;-) – user48953094 Nov 1 '19 at 21:40
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    I doubt I'm the only one confused, actually. "Too broad" is a reason for closing. – Buffy Nov 1 '19 at 21:42
  • For what it's worth, I think your example of topological condensed matter physics is rather misleading. This is an area that has seen extensive collaboration between theorists and experimentalists. And the relationship to topologists (i.e. mathematicians) is rather tenuous. – Anyon 2 days ago

You read research papers. A lot of research papers.

By reading these papers, you build up an understanding of the current state-of-the-art in your head, and by doing that, you can begin to understand where the “holes” in the current research are. For instance, you might find a paper that qualitatively describes a phenomenon, but no follow up papers that quantitatively measure it.

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