twistor wrote:Everyone who has an interest in theoretical physics has to face this decision sooner or later.
zxcv is right, your chances of becoming a tenured faculty member are slim no matter where you go. I don't think the school you go to matters as much has no well connected your adviser is. If your adviser is well connected but the school is "low-ranked" (whatever that means) you could very well land an excellent post-doc. On the other hand, if you go to a "top" school and have an apathetic adviser who doesn't network much you can easily end up leaving the field. In either case the post-doc is most likely the end of the line for you since theorists aren't in high demand. At my old institution there was a theorist who was on his 4th or 5th post-doc. Obviously he had been producing papers for 4 or 5 years after graduating with his Ph.d. but still was unable to find a permanent position. Consider yourself warned.
blackcat007 wrote:as a budding theoretical physicist, i many times brood over the fact that, what will happen if i don't get a top school and get a low ranked school say 68th rank according to US news ranking? Will i get a position in academics anywhere after my PhD?
Since theoretical physics doesn't require any instruments and any such huge infrastructures, then doing a PhD from a school like Syracuse where there are good theoretical physicists, but has a low rank. will that help me in doing good research later?
yes i know it largely depends on me and my work, but will i face situations where i will be having the potential to succeed but due to the low rank or location or other such factors i will be held back? or i will never be able to work with the frontier problems even if i have the talent?
Other than these problems what all will i face if i do my PhD from a low rank university.
It may sound presumptuous but, Witten went to Princeton for applied math after his history UG from Brandeis and UW-madison(eco), i would like to ask him, how he went there?? was the admission procedure different that time? wasn't there any GRE and math GRE that time?? and what did he do for reco??
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