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California State University, Long Beach
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Student Resources

Student Resources


Careers in Physics

Physics Society

Preparing for the topical GRE

We host a GRE bootcamp on campus targeted at minorities, but accessible to all. This is organized by the California Professoriate for Access to Physics Careers (CPAPC). The first took place in February 2011. Useful information on preparing the topical GRE can be found on the CPAPC webpage. If you look at the UC Davis and the CSULB pages you will find at the bottom of these pages some powerpoints prepared by successful PhD students on strategies to be succeessful at the GRE exam.

Writing your thesis

It is strongly advised (especially for theoreticians) that you write your thesis in LaTeX as it is used by many if not most of the Physics journals. Best is to discuss the matter with your thesis advisor!

Writing a Poster

Writing and printing a poster about your work must be done together with, and approved by a faculty member of the department. General information can be found on the site of the Jensen SAS Center.

  • Template in LaTeX  (courtesy of Z.Papp). Clicking on the underlined words will download the zipped folder PosterTemplate.zip. Unzip it (double click on the folder name in Mac, or Windows, use the unzip command in Linux/Unix). This will create the folder PosterTemplate (the original downloaded file remains in the process). Read the "README_PosterLate.rtf" file first! It describes how to write the LaTeX poster and how to compile it. General LaTeX resources can be found below.
  • Template in Powerpoint. This link leads you to the page of the Jensen SAS Center where you can download the template for Powerpoint. Informations on writing the poster in Powerpoint can be found there and in the help pages of Powerpoint.

Writing a scientific article

Writing an article with LaTeX is easy!

  • Most scientific journals have a class file (ending with .cls) that contains the layout of the journal. You can download it from the journal homepage. For APS journals (Physical Review, etc.) the class file is presently revtex4.1. Website of revtex4.1. Installing TeX Live is
  • On top of the LaTeX document you have \documentclassX]{Y}, where X are various options and Y is the class name (the name of the file given by the journal, without the ending .cls)
  • Most journals do not like or do not allow the use of "home-made" commands (with "newcommand" or "renewcommand"). Though useful for writing a text, you will need to remove them at the end. This is easily done with any editor.
  • Some journals such as those of the American Physical Society (APS) want the figures in eps format. Others want pdf formatted figures. Keep this in mind when finalizing your figures. Note also that you cannot insert a pdf figure into Powerpoint. It is best to do one copy of the figure in jpeg format for that matter.
  • more to come...

Writing and preparing a presentation the abc of a good talk

The preparation of a scientific presentation requires to choose a media and to follow a few rules:

  • You may choose to write your presentation for example with Powerpoint (link to the bookstore where a student license can be purchased), or Open Office or LaTeX (downloads a zip file; follow the instruction above under "Writing a Poster" to unzip the folder; courtesy of Z. Papp).
  • There are a few rules to follow when writing slides for a presentation. (more to come).

Installing LaTeX on your computer

The use of LaTeX (presently it is LaTeX2e) depends on your operating system. General information can be obtained here.

LaTeX resources

There are many resources on the web. Here are a few that may be useful.

Feel free to contact Andreas Bill if you believe something should be added to this page or if you notice that one of the links is no longer valid. Thank you!

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