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Why is the entry barrier in physics research so high?? When I try to read a research paper to see the latest developments in a particular topics I am always held back by my mathematical abilities. And I don't even think I am mathematically incompetent. I am sure (or certainly hope) I am not the only one facing this. But in any case, does anyone have advice for undergrads, or newly grad students for how to read research papers in physics, given you have not the required mathematical prerequisite knowledge to understand everything in detail? Or if anyone could tell me a the most important mathematical topics after studying which this entry barrier will significantly decrease?

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  • $\begingroup$ probably a question for academia stack exchange $\endgroup$ – Buraian Dec 9 '20 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ While I sympathize with your problem, I suggested closing this question as opinion-based. The only way to be able to read research papers is to continue reading them, and continue studying. Many papers do require knowledge beyond graduate schools. Focusing on a specific subject, and tracing the original papers with derivations (or even books) could make reading easier. Do not expect to be able one day to read papers in any domain of physics - no one can. $\endgroup$ – Vadim Dec 9 '20 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ In my humble opinion patience and persistence are the two keys to understand a paper. You're trying to understand someone's work that took some time to be done and to be checked by others. Studying a paper once or twice is not gonna make it. $\endgroup$ – ApolloRa Dec 9 '20 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ Simple answer: learn more math. Note, "incompetence" is not the same thing as "ignorance". You may be perfectly competent at the subset of math you have already learned. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Dec 9 '20 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your extremely kind and helpful comments. $\endgroup$ – Loneshadow Physx Dec 9 '20 at 13:22