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First of all, sorry if this is off-topic

I have decided I want to do a PhD related to causal dynamical triangulations. Unfortunately, there are very few people who are familiar with the subject. Obviously I am going to apply to try to work with these individuals. However, I was wondering if it is possible to apply to work with people who aren't directly familiar with CDT, but instead specialize in relevant topics (e.g. statistical mechanics or some branch of mathematics)  and then work on CDT under their supervision. Can a PhD work like this? If so, what types of fields should I be looking into?
recategorized Jan 20, 2015

Why not try to work with the individuals who actually do this? In principle you are right, you can work on similar or close enough projects and also try to learn/work on CDT. For example, you could send some mails to the relevant people and ask for some kind of guidance or even problems of CDT to work on gradually. It works fine for me )

I think it depends on if your adviser from the related field supports your ideas, even though he is probably not an expert on CDT himself. If he supports you, he will probably allow you to collaberate with an external CDT group too, let you visit them from time to time etc to discuss things that can not be solved by email.

In my experience (currently a PhD student), it's very difficult to organize and carry out a research program in some area unless at least one among you and your advisor are well-versed with the topic. So, if you're working with someone who's not working on CDT, they have their own research agenda to pay attention to, and it will not be easy find someone who wishes to learn and understand CDT. Of course, doing it by yourself is not impossible -- but it would be very very hard. In my opinion, (generally) one of the biggest obstacles in doing science is how alienating and isolating it can be to work on a narrow and esoteric problem by yourself (unless you're actively collaborating with someone, nobody else will understand the nuts and bolts of your research).

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