What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

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grae313
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What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:31 pm

Sorry. I'm having a decision-making crisis over here. What would people say are the "top tier" physics graduate programs, as in, there is essentially no distinction between the prestige of the schools you list, given no specification of subfield?

I'm thinking of turning down Stanford and Berkeley to go to Cornell and I don't want to regret it later.

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will
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby will » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:38 pm

You will. Cornell is a diploma mill. Realistically, you might as well off yourself now, rather than suffer a lifetime of being an unhireable leper.

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quizivex
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby quizivex » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:00 pm

I have a feeling that this thread will not go over very well on the forum ;)... maybe your question could be rephrased so it doesn't sound too repulsive to those on the forum who weren't as fortunate in the admission process...

...especially after so many threads of the form, "Which place would be better to attend, 'Montana Badlands University' or 'Saint Lucifer Institute of Technology'?"

I had similar thoughts, grae313, realizing that Caltech would probably me the most badass extreme impressive place in the world to get a science PhD from... but I didn't let that cloud my head...

In short, since Cornell is still top 10, I don't think it's a sacrifice... I've heard a few negative stories about Berkeley on the forum (and the outrageous political fanatics would be enough to keep me away), and while Stanford sounds awesome, you may or may not like much of their research. I couldn't care less about particles and wanted to avoid astro so I would've had a hard time finding something to do there. So in the end, go to wherever fits you best.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby bronco199 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:33 am

if nothing else matters - go to Berkeley or Stanford, I'd say. If you've never lived in either place,then realize that the weather in Cornell is awful (hot humid summers, and cold, long col, cold, winters) and the weather at Berkeley/Stanford is amazing. Also, Cornell is in the middle of freaking nowhere and you will be bored out of your mind.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby physicsdude » Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:57 am

<>
Last edited by physicsdude on Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

excel
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby excel » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:01 am

Been there, done that! I went through the whole prestige of Cornell vs. prestige of Stanford thing in my mind a week back. Let me point out the following:

*12 graduates of Cornell won the Nobel prize (vs. 7 of Stanford). 4 graduates of Cornell won Nobel in physics vs. 3 graduates of Stanford.

*Stanford was founded with considerable help from Cornell. The first Stanford president was a Cornell alum. Most of its initial faculty members were drawn from Cornell. In a sense, Cornell is the father of Stanford.

*In the Times Higher Education international ranking, both Cornell & Stanford have scored 100 in peer review. In Employer Review Score, Stanford has scored 99 and Cornell has scored 98. So, Cornell does have a stellar reputation among employers. This is not specific to physics, of course.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/h ... peCode=144

So, I think there are indicators of prestige on which Cornell can easily rival Stanford. Mind you, I dont think anything I have written here should have much to do with one's decision on which graduate school to attend. I only mentioned these because we are talking about the prestige associated with being a student at these two universities.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby AppPhy » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:26 am

...
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby twistor » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:34 am

physicsdouche:

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PLZ GRACE US WITH UR INFINITE WISDOM MORE OFTEN SO THAT WE ARE NOT LOST SHEEP!!!!11111

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby jwc914 » Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:33 pm

As a student at Cornell, i can tell you that this is a terrific place for condensed matter/nanotech.
(you said not to mention 'subfield', but that should be the most important factor in the decision...no?)
but it's pretty competitive to get into high profile groups (well, competition would be there at any other top tier schools). but i can also tell you that general atmosphere among students is not so cut-throat. people here are generally collaborative, laid back and friendly. i dont know what causes that trend but i think it's there. (maybe because there is no 'blood bath' for quals...maybe because it's something about people who choose Cornell over other schools)
i've heard some horror stories about how cut-throat it is at other schools so...

but winter here is long and gruesome. summer is gorgeous i think (not so humid!)
you cant get much culture here. but the nature here is great.

but seriously, you shouldnt base your decision on some random people's opinions (for your info, i tend to be an optimist...). most important factor should be who you want to work for and if he/she is willing to take a person (hopefully you) in next year. maybe contact the profs and seriously start lobbying?

i wouldnt mind too much about some negative replies (well, you asked for it!). this IS a legitimate question for you but it could be an ego smasher for some people. and people are eternally interested in themselves and constantly driven by pride and vanity (including you and me)...so it is natural response

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fermiboy
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby fermiboy » Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:06 pm

So you're saying you visited all these programs, talked to professors, and all that other stuff, and now you want to pick based on the overall perceived prestige of the department? Why did you even visit the places? Just go to Stanford, they're ranked #1.

megatron
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby megatron » Sat Apr 05, 2008 5:44 pm

I would choose Stanford>Berkeley>Cornell, based on prestige and environment. It'd be a tough choice for me between Berkeley and Stanford, though.

But whatever I would do, I'd notify those schools which I know I'll decline. Cough cough.

excel
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby excel » Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:08 pm

I do not think grae meant that she is weighing prestige heavily in choosing between the three programs. I think she finds Cornell most attractive, and wants to be sure that there is not such a prestige gap between, say, Cornell and Stanford that it is less of an advantage to say "PhD from Cornell" than "PhD from Stanford" in front of a post-doc recruiter.

I think the answer to that is: it is considered more or less equally a good thing to get one's PhD from Stanford or from Cornell. Hardly any PI will have a better first impression of person A vs. person B because person A has a PhD from Stanford and person B from Cornell.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby megatron » Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:25 pm

excel wrote:I do not think grae meant that she is weighing prestige heavily in choosing between the three programs. I think she finds Cornell most attractive, and wants to be sure that there is not such a prestige gap between, say, Cornell and Stanford that it is less of an advantage to say "PhD from Cornell" than "PhD from Stanford" in front of a post-doc recruiter.

I think the answer to that is: it is considered more or less equally a good thing to get one's PhD from Stanford or from Cornell. Hardly any PI will have a better first impression of person A vs. person B because person A has a PhD from Stanford and person B from Cornell.

I agree with your assessment, both of what she meant and of the importance of prestige. I would still place Stanford above Cornell, but any discernment between these schools will largely be a matter of splitting hairs (subfields aside).

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby gcensr » Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:39 pm

I think the answer is, in fact, sub-field dependent. But for condensed matter experiment (which is what you are interested in, no?), then Cornell is just as good if not better in terms of reputation.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby nvanmeter » Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:53 pm

i think of cornell as being a more prestigious school than berkeley (in the general public's eyes i mean). as for cornell vs. stanford - i'd put stanford above cornell, but not by enough to make a difference. personally, i'd prefer stanford b/c of location and sports, but if you like cornell any better, then i don't think you'd ever regret going there. if it was like stanford vs. some unkown university that you really liked, the story might be different, but cornell is a well-known ivy league school...can't go wrong with the prestige derived from that..

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:39 pm

quizivex wrote:I have a feeling that this thread will not go over very well on the forum ;)... maybe your question could be rephrased so it doesn't sound too repulsive to those on the forum who weren't as fortunate in the admission process...


Yeah, I was aware when I posted, but I'm over it. Seriously. *** it. The people I care about on this forum already know me well enough to know what kind of person I am.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:41 pm

bronco199 wrote:if nothing else matters - go to Berkeley or Stanford, I'd say. If you've never lived in either place,then realize that the weather in Cornell is awful (hot humid summers, and cold, long col, cold, winters) and the weather at Berkeley/Stanford is amazing. Also, Cornell is in the middle of freaking nowhere and you will be bored out of your mind.


Well, Cornell has the professor I'm most interested in working with, and the best facilities for the type of research I want to do... :)

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:46 pm

excel wrote:Been there, done that! I went through the whole prestige of Cornell vs. prestige of Stanford thing in my mind a week back. Let me point out the following:

*12 graduates of Cornell won the Nobel prize (vs. 7 of Stanford). 4 graduates of Cornell won Nobel in physics vs. 3 graduates of Stanford.

*Stanford was founded with considerable help from Cornell. The first Stanford president was a Cornell alum. Most of its initial faculty members were drawn from Cornell. In a sense, Cornell is the father of Stanford.

*In the Times Higher Education international ranking, both Cornell & Stanford have scored 100 in peer review. In Employer Review Score, Stanford has scored 99 and Cornell has scored 98. So, Cornell does have a stellar reputation among employers. This is not specific to physics, of course.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/h ... peCode=144

So, I think there are indicators of prestige on which Cornell can easily rival Stanford. Mind you, I dont think anything I have written here should have much to do with one's decision on which graduate school to attend. I only mentioned these because we are talking about the prestige associated with being a student at these two universities.


Thanks! This was exactly the type of information I wanted to hear.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:46 pm

AppPhy wrote:...


Why do I always miss the good stuff?

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:46 pm

fermiboy wrote:So you're saying you visited all these programs, talked to professors, and all that other stuff, and now you want to pick based on the overall perceived prestige of the department? Why did you even visit the places? Just go to Stanford, they're ranked #1.


No, not even close.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:47 pm

excel wrote:I do not think grae meant that she is weighing prestige heavily in choosing between the three programs. I think she finds Cornell most attractive, and wants to be sure that there is not such a prestige gap between, say, Cornell and Stanford that it is less of an advantage to say "PhD from Cornell" than "PhD from Stanford" in front of a post-doc recruiter.


Exactly. Thanks.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:49 pm

Well, I guess that settles it. Wish me luck during the long winters. I've never lived in a place where it snowed before.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby vroomfondel » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:03 am

I hear it snowed last week. I also hear it's pretty. good luck.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby fermiboy » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:20 am

grae313 wrote:Sorry. I'm having a decision-making crisis over here. What would people say are the "top tier" physics graduate programs, as in, there is essentially no distinction between the prestige of the schools you list, given no specification of subfield?

I'm thinking of turning down Stanford and Berkeley to go to Cornell and I don't want to regret it later.

grae313 wrote:
fermiboy wrote:So you're saying you visited all these programs, talked to professors, and all that other stuff, and now you want to pick based on the overall perceived prestige of the department? Why did you even visit the places? Just go to Stanford, they're ranked #1.


No, not even close.


Then what exactly are you saying? Do you honestly think it's going to matter if your CV says "Cornell' or "Stanford?" Like others have said, if there is any distinction between the two it's so fine in the overall scheme of things that it's negligible. I'm having difficulty understanding the nature of your question. I just don't see how "top tier" status would even matter when all three 3 choices are top tier. You're really splitting hairs here.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby fermiboy » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:25 am

excel wrote:I do not think grae meant that she is weighing prestige heavily in choosing between the three programs. I think she finds Cornell most attractive, and wants to be sure that there is not such a prestige gap between, say, Cornell and Stanford that it is less of an advantage to say "PhD from Cornell" than "PhD from Stanford" in front of a post-doc recruiter.

I think the answer to that is: it is considered more or less equally a good thing to get one's PhD from Stanford or from Cornell. Hardly any PI will have a better first impression of person A vs. person B because person A has a PhD from Stanford and person B from Cornell.


If anyone out there thinks there is a "prestige gap" between Cornell and Stanford then they are out of their freaking minds. Seriously.

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fermiboy
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby fermiboy » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:28 am

grae313 wrote:
Well, Cornell has the professor I'm most interested in working with, and the best facilities for the type of research I want to do... :)


Well then the decision should be trivial. Sounds to me like you know you should go to Cornell and are looking for reasons not too. That should be the strongest indicator that deep down you know you should go to Cornell.
Last edited by fermiboy on Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

vroomfondel
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby vroomfondel » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:43 am

please be advised that going to a school for a single professor is very risky. especially if s/he is a superstar.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby twistor » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:57 am

grae313 wrote:Well, I guess that settles it. Wish me luck during the long winters. I've never lived in a place where it snowed before.


hahahahahahahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHhahahahahahahahahahahHAHAHAHAHAHHhahahahahahahHhahahah

But seriously, your misery is shared.

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will
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby will » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:06 am

vroomfondel wrote:please be advised that going to a school for a single professor is very risky. especially if s/he is a superstar.


Or Molly Shannon.

By the way, Cornell doesn't have the highest suicide rate among U.S. universities anymore, so, that's good.

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby excel » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:49 am

From an article in MIT's newspaper:

"Cornell University is one peer institution that does maintain moderately complete records of their student deaths in response to a common perception that they have a high suicide rate. Cornell had eight students take their own lives in the past ten years. With about 19,000 students on campus, Cornell has a suicide rate of about 4.3 per 100,000 student years for that time period, far below both MIT and national rates. "

http://www-tech.mit.edu/V120/N6/comp6.6n.html

According to the article, the public perception of Cornell's "high" suicide rate is not justified by available data. This article is from the year 2000. If the article is correct, the suicide rate at Cornell did not used to be high a few years back, forget highest among universities.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:42 pm

fermiboy wrote:Do you honestly think it's going to matter if your CV says "Cornell' or "Stanford?"
I don't know. That's why I was asking.
Like others have said, if there is any distinction between the two it's so fine in the overall scheme of things that it's negligible.
Cool, that's what I was hoping to hear.
I just don't see how "top tier" status would even matter when all three 3 choices are top tier. You're really splitting hairs here.
I didn't know if Cornell was considered as being on the same tier as Stanford or Berkeley or not, that's why I asked.

It may or may not have affected my decision if I found out that Cornell was considerably "below" Stanford, I just wanted to find out. As people have inferred, Cornell is my first choice based on research, people, and facilities.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:56 pm

fermiboy wrote:Sounds to me like you know you should go to Cornell and are looking for reasons not too.
You are exactly right. I just want to be sure. I don't want to have regrets later.

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grae313
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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:06 pm

vroomfondel wrote:please be advised that going to a school for a single professor is very risky. especially if s/he is a superstar.


yeah you are absolutely right. I have backup options, I just really think I need to give it my best shot or I'll always wonder "what if."

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby fermiboy » Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:15 pm

Hey Grae I didn't mean to sound like a jerk in those replies. I guess deep down I'm a little jealous of your choices, since all 3 of those places rejected me. I'm 100% sure there is no prestige gap between Cornell and Stanford. In fact my advisor has told me that he wishes he would have gone to Cornell over Stanford when he had the choice for grad school. Have fun with that cold. :D

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Re: What are the top tier physics graduate schools?

Postby grae313 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:20 pm

fermiboy wrote:Hey Grae I didn't mean to sound like a jerk in those replies. I guess deep down I'm a little jealous of your choices. I'm 100% sure there is no prestige gap between Cornell and Stanford. In fact my advisor has told me that he wishes he would have gone to Cornell over Stanford when he had the choice. Have fun with that cold. :D


No worries, and thanks for the info about your advisor.




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