Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

coconut
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby coconut » Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:18 pm

shouravv wrote:But NONE of this even matter: the author (Anne L. Kinney) simply was too lazy to do her research, and screwed up her publications and citations search. The UCSC press release noted her as a "top NASA scientist", so I did a little background search. It appears that Kinney is a highly powerful top-NASA-bureaucrat who had about ~20 publications ever of which she was the first author in only 1.

Yes, ONLY ONE first authored paper!!! Go check on astro-ph and ADS if you don't believe it.

No wonder she messed up so badly ...


The Chandra website says she has written about 75 scientific papers (http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/bios/kinney_bio.html) and I just did a search on ADS for "kinney, anne l." (querying astro, physics, and arxiv), which yielded 187 abstracts.

If this paper and her past research history is as bad as you say it is, I wonder how she got all of her prominent jobs at NASA, Space Telescope, Hubble, etc.?

shouravv
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:26 pm

coconut wrote:
shouravv wrote:But NONE of this even matter: the author (Anne L. Kinney) simply was too lazy to do her research, and screwed up her publications and citations search. The UCSC press release noted her as a "top NASA scientist", so I did a little background search. It appears that Kinney is a highly powerful top-NASA-bureaucrat who had about ~20 publications ever of which she was the first author in only 1.

Yes, ONLY ONE first authored paper!!! Go check on astro-ph and ADS if you don't believe it.

No wonder she messed up so badly ...


The Chandra website says she has written about 75 scientific papers (http://chandra.harvard.edu/press/bios/kinney_bio.html) and I just did a search on ADS for "kinney, anne l." (querying astro, physics, and arxiv), which yielded 187 abstracts.

If this paper and her past research history is as bad as you say it is, I wonder how she got all of her prominent jobs at NASA, Space Telescope, Hubble, etc.?


I see that I did this wrong. I searched for "kinney a. l.". I am removing that part.

___
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby ___ » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:11 am

shouravv wrote:That is the biggest piece of c**p that came out ever: HONESTLY

physicsdude wrote:It seems to have gotten the Santa Cruz losers excited, though…

Sheesh, so much animosity! I'm not quite sure how two anonymous undergraduates can dismiss the work of the director of NASA's astronomy and physics division with such conviction, but I'd tend to side with the NASA scientist on this one. To all prospective students who might get stressed-out by the rankings game and the university name-calling on this board (God knows I did last year), please remember that the other prospective students probably don't know more about grad school than you do.

Anyways, I think Anne Kinney's ranking is useful, at least in as much as it shows that traditionally non-elite schools can still do excellent research. Of course, it is more important to find a school that fits your research interests, and once you're admitted the rankings should be far less important than things like finding a good potential advisor, faculty availability, and how good the program is at giving its grads good postdocs.

As for Santa Cruz, I'm a first year here right now and very pleased with my decision. I'm not the only one who turned down Ivies to come here. It's certainly a good enough institution (and the astronomy community is small enough) that it would not be wise to go around calling the people that work here losers.

physicsdude
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby physicsdude » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:42 am

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Last edited by physicsdude on Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:24 pm

Hi all,

a new guy here, applying to astronomy. I am confused about this ranking controversy. I tried to read that astro-ph paper, but I could not figure out how it was relevant for chosing which graduate program to go to? Also, some places had huge shifts between the two tables.

shouravv
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:09 pm

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:... I tried to read that astro-ph paper, but I could not figure out how it was relevant for choosing which graduate program to go to?

Well, I guess that's because it isn't. I mean, honestly: would you seriously choose SUNY Stony Brook over Cornell simply because that article says Stony Brook is #6 and Cornell is #34 out of the 36 programs it found worth mentioning, while you know that probably it'd only make sense the other way round ?

Once you have the offers in hand and have visited the schools, you'll know which one is the best for you, and no ranking can tell you that. At most these can help you decide where to apply to, to make sure that you are picking a balanced mix of schools matching your interests and strengths, but not much more.

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby physicsdude » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:26 pm

blah, blah, blah, blah, rankings, blah, blah
Last edited by physicsdude on Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:13 pm

Thanks guys, this is useful to know.

Dark energy is more popular these days:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/science/space/17dark.html?_r=1&em

But dark matter still creates a lot of excitement:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/science/25dark.html

Alistar
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:27 pm

I dont believe on choosing graduate school based on some general ranking list. Rankings are usually based on statistical properties but choosing your grad school is more dependent on the topic youre interested in and the strength of different schools and even potential advisers in that topic rather than the general reputation of schools.
Btw, general statistical measures of quality for grad schools could be helpful if you take care of their limitations in your decision making.
Ive don some simple and rough quality measurements for myself which might be interesting, so I am sharing it with you:
People have tired to quantize the quality of scientific contribution of researchers, usually based on the number of citation their publications have received. In this context there is a measure which is called h-index. If someone has 'n' publications which have all at least 'n' citations, then her/his h-index is 'n'. This quantity is more or less a linear function of scientific age(the number of years someone has been active in publishing papers). If we divide h-index by scientific age, we get a quantity which more or less indicate the quality of scientific contribution, independent of age(Hirsch 2005).
It was interesting for me to see what is the typical measure of this factor(i.e. h-index/Sci-age) for different astronomy grad schools. I measured it for all faculty members in some selected schools and report here the median for each school:

Harvard: 2.2
CalTech: 2
Leiden: 2
Princeton: 1.9
Arizona: 1.7
UCSC: 1.6
UT Austin: 1.4
Yale: 1.4

For calculating those numbers I just taken into account people who were in the webpage of those schools as faculty members. Certainly there are huge biases involved. For example citation and h-factor in theoretical works is usually less than observational ones. I guess this issue is important for Princeton more than others. I should say again those numbers are not a useful way to choose your grad school. They are just some interesting statistical measures and only may help to some extent.
Last edited by Alistar on Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:37 pm

PSU now HAS A APPLICATION FEE i paid $65

I dunno about UT aging faculty.... they just hired a bunch of people as it seems

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:49 pm

Helio wrote:I dunno about UT aging faculty.... they just hired a bunch of people as it seems


That is true, looking at their website Bromm, Gebhardt, Jogee, Komatsu and Milosavljevic are all fairly recent hires.

I would be more worried about the huge number of graduate students they have (close to 50). That can't be good for getting face time with your adviser.

Fritz "I See Dead Stars" Zwicky

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:20 pm

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:
Helio wrote:I dunno about UT aging faculty.... they just hired a bunch of people as it seems


That is true, looking at their website Bromm, Gebhardt, Jogee, Komatsu and Milosavljevic are all fairly recent hires.

I would be more worried about the huge number of graduate students they have (close to 50). That can't be good for getting face time with your adviser.

Fritz "I See Dead Stars" Zwicky


with 22 faculty and 50 students that is 2 each... that is better than condensed matter lab I have ever seen and they have another 21 research scientist, so you can always ask them

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:33 pm

Helio wrote:with 22 faculty and 50 students that is 2 each... that is better than condensed matter lab I have ever seen and they have another 21 research scientist, so you can always ask them


You are absolutely right. I dont think the PhD-student/faculty ratio of 2 would be problematic by any measure. I have not seen much better numbers in other astro schools.

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:50 pm

Alistar wrote:
Helio wrote:with 22 faculty and 50 students that is 2 each... that is better than condensed matter lab I have ever seen and they have another 21 research scientist, so you can always ask them


You are absolutely right. I dont think the PhD-student/faculty ratio of 2 would be problematic by any measure. I have not seen much better numbers in other astro schools.


sry it is 21 teaching faculty and 17 research scientist, so there is plenty of time to go around even then

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:31 pm

Alistar wrote:I have not seen much better numbers in other astro schools.


I think UT is a good astronomy program, and I have at least a slight twinge of regret I have not applied there, but let's not start "cooking the numbers" because they have admitted you:

Caltech: 25 faculty/25 graduate students (+spirit of Fritz)
OSU: 20 faculty/26 graduate students
Princeton: 17 faculty/22 graduate students

just quickly looking at some of the astronomy websites.

Fritz "I Still Can Count" Zwicky

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:04 pm

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:
Alistar wrote:I have not seen much better numbers in other astro schools.


I think UT is a good astronomy program, and I have at least a slight twinge of regret I have not applied there, but let's not start "cooking the numbers" because they have admitted you:

Caltech: 25 faculty/25 graduate students (+spirit of Fritz)
OSU: 20 faculty/26 graduate students
Princeton: 17 faculty/22 graduate students

just quickly looking at some of the astronomy websites.

Fritz "I Still Can Count" Zwicky


no i am not cooking up numbers... it might be not be as good as at other institutions when it comes to student:faculty, but you have to consider that it is still better than most physics program... UWisc is 160:54 overall and their astrophysics group is 21:4 (Plasma is 31:5 these guys must be getting no time at all with their advisor). Stanford is 195:48 and astrophysics is 28:12. You make it seem like having more than 1 grad student will limit your time and commitment to your students. I guess you need to be in condensed matter lab with 1 faculty for up 6 grad students.

And now you will tell me that Caltech gets 33% of Keck I and II and that they have way better facilities, are getting a new building, that everything is pass/fail, etc. etc. Still they don't have enough TAs for next year, they have one first year advisor, who has to deal with up to 12 grad students, so please don't make it seem like these places are the land of honey and milk, just because the long-term faculty:student ratio is so awesome.

Colorado must be heaven as well with 48:40 and Yale must be on the level with Caltech with 20:20... just wondering why only 42 applied last year and 250 applied to caltech

astrophysicist2b
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby astrophysicist2b » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:22 pm

apparently there were 4 penn state departments who did the shady fee waiver before and they finally were caught by the grad admissions office, who confronted each department. I didn't hear about it until last week; it's certainly not going to do good things for penn state (despite their high ranking in that astro-ph paper, which I think measures very little).

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:30 pm

I just care about the number of people I am interested to work with in different schools. I believe the faculty/student ratio is a good indicator of the quality of large educational systems(such as a country) and could be important in decision making when you are going to use your undergrad school. Anyway, Lets forget about faculty/student ratios and go back to the main subject of this thread:
Ive come up with some new raking based on the number of Hubble fellowships each department has received. There are 220 astronomers who received Hubble fellowship(1990-2008) which are from 65 different schools, mainly from US.
here is my ranking based on this measure:

1- CalTech (20)
2- Berkeley (15)
2- Princeton (15)
4- Arizona (13)
5- Harvard (11)
6- UCSC (9)
7- Leiden (8)
8- Cambridge (7)
9- Australian nat's U (6)
9- Chicago (6)
9- Colorado (6)
9- Ohio (6)
9- Texas (6)
9- Yale (6)

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:31 pm

Helio,

I know next to nothing about condensed matter labs, and they are entirely irrelevant to this thread and discussion, as we are discussing astronomy programs.

I was simply reacting to (not yours) claim that "I have not seen much better numbers", which is simply not true. This doesn't mean I would use that ratio as a sole parameter to make a decision, were I lucky enough to have a choice few months from now, but it would certainly be one of the factors. As I said, I think UT is a good place, I just remarked on what I think is a rather large number of graduate students, compared to some other astronomy programs I knew more about because I applied there.

I also understand that you are happy to have an admission, but making any decisions or ranking places BEFORE visits sounds like a bad idea, and all the profs I talked to strongly advised to visit as many places as possible (for example, Texas has all these new people there, so it is a very different department from the one many of them knew ~20 years ago).

I don't think we have a major disagreement here, but always happy to argue if you think otherwise :)

Fritz "Dark Energy Sucks" Zwicky

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:36 pm

Alistar wrote:Ive come up with some new raking based on the number of Hubble fellowships each department has received. There are 220 astronomers who received Hubble fellowship(1990-2008) which are from 65 different schools, mainly from US. Here is my ranking based on this measure:

1- CalTech (20)
2- Berkeley (15)
2- Princeton (15)
4- Arizona (13)
5- Harvard (11)
6- UCSC (9)
7- Leiden (8)
8- Cambridge (7)
9- Australian nat's U (6)
9- Chicago (6)
9- Colorado (6)
9- Ohio (6)
9- Texas (6)
9- Yale (6)


How about doing the same thing, but only since 2000? I don't really care if some department was strong (Hubble Fellowship-producing) in 1990, I want to know who is producing them now.

Fritz "There Should Be a Fellowship Named After Me" Zwicky

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby astrophysicist2b » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:00 pm

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:
How about doing the same thing, but only since 2000? I don't really care if some department was strong (Hubble Fellowship-producing) in 1990, I want to know who is producing them now.

Fritz "There Should Be a Fellowship Named After Me" Zwicky


Okay, so a combination of Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer fellowships since 2000 (well, Spitzer since 2002 since they started then):

1-- Caltech, 18
2-- Berkeley, 12
3 (tie)-- MIT and Princeton, 10
5-- Santa Cruz, 9
6-- Arizona, 8
7-- Harvard, 7
8-- Cambridge, 6
9 (tie)-- UT Austin, Colorado, Columbia, Ohio State 5
Last edited by astrophysicist2b on Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:06 pm

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:Helio,

I know next to nothing about condensed matter labs, and they are entirely irrelevant to this thread and discussion, as we are discussing astronomy programs.

I was simply reacting to (not yours) claim that "I have not seen much better numbers", which is simply not true. This doesn't mean I would use that ratio as a sole parameter to make a decision, were I lucky enough to have a choice few months from now, but it would certainly be one of the factors. As I said, I think UT is a good place, I just remarked on what I think is a rather large number of graduate students, compared to some other astronomy programs I knew more about because I applied there.

I also understand that you are happy to have an admission, but making any decisions or ranking places BEFORE visits sounds like a bad idea, and all the profs I talked to strongly advised to visit as many places as possible (for example, Texas has all these new people there, so it is a very different department from the one many of them knew ~20 years ago).

I don't think we have a major disagreement here, but always happy to argue if you think otherwise :)

Fritz "Dark Energy Sucks" Zwicky



What i meant with "much better numbers" was compared to other programs in physics or astronomy. I am just saying that putting astronomy out there as research field that is so much different than other just seems wrong. Some schools would have certain research projects in their astronomy department, while others have it in their physics department, so you can't discard the physics numbers as well. Look at IceCube, it is in the Physics department at UWisc and in the Astronomy department at PSU. Stanford does not even have an Astronomy department, but still has Gravity Probe B, SOHO (Astronomy at Hawaii), SDO, GLAST, KIPAC, etc. so we have to take the whole picture and can't just be like... only if there is astronomy on it, there is astronomy in it.

i don't think we have either. I think we are just talking past each other... anyway beer anyone? :P
Last edited by Helio on Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alistar
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:12 pm

astrophysicist2b wrote:
Fritz.Zwicky wrote:
How about doing the same thing, but only since 2000? I don't really care if some department was strong (Hubble Fellowship-producing) in 1990, I want to know who is producing them now.

Fritz "There Should Be a Fellowship Named After Me" Zwicky


Okay, so a combination of Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer fellowships since 2000 (well, Spitzer since 2002 since they started then):

1-- Caltech, 18
2-- Berkeley, 12
3 (tie)-- MIT and Princeton, 10
5-- Santa Cruz, 9
6-- Arizona, 8
7-- Harvard, 7
8-- Cambridge, 6
9 (tie)-- UT Austin, Colorado, Columbia, 5


I guess the combination of those fellowships is more interesting but just in case only taking into account the Hubble:

Between 2000 and 2008 there are 98 Hubble fellowships:

1- Caltech (12)
2- Berkeley (8)
3- Princeton (7)
4- Arizona (6)
4- UCSC (6)
6- Ohio (5)
7- Harvard (4)
8- Australian Nat's U. (3)
8- Colorado (3)
8- Leiden (3)
8- MIT(3)
8- Texas (3)

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:13 pm

astrophysicist2b wrote:Okay, so a combination of Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer fellowships since 2000 (well, Spitzer since 2002 since they started then):

1-- Caltech, 18
2-- Berkeley, 12
3 (tie)-- MIT and Princeton, 10
5-- Santa Cruz, 9
6-- Arizona, 8
7-- Harvard, 7
8-- Cambridge, 6
9 (tie)-- UT Austin, Colorado, Columbia, 5


Ohio State seems to be missing from your list, with 5 Hubble Fellows since 2000 (I did not check the other fellowships). Thanks for doing that, this is useful to know.

And not to belabor the point, but if a small program (Caltech) is producing 2 times (or more) as many fellows as a program with twice the number of graduate students (Harvard, for example), that is certainly something to consider, again if one is lucky enough to have a choice.

Fritz "The Zwicky Fellow" Zwicky

EDIT: Oops, our posts have crossed. Thanks for checking as well.

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:15 pm

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:
astrophysicist2b wrote:Okay, so a combination of Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer fellowships since 2000 (well, Spitzer since 2002 since they started then):

1-- Caltech, 18
2-- Berkeley, 12
3 (tie)-- MIT and Princeton, 10
5-- Santa Cruz, 9
6-- Arizona, 8
7-- Harvard, 7
8-- Cambridge, 6
9 (tie)-- UT Austin, Colorado, Columbia, 5


Ohio State seems to be missing from your list, with 5 Hubble Fellows since 2000 (I did not check the other fellowships). Thanks for doing that, this is useful to know.

And not to belabor the point, but if a small program (Caltech) is producing 2 times (or more) as many fellows as a program with twice the number of graduate students (Harvard, for example), that is certainly something to consider, again if one is lucky enough to have a choice.

Fritz "The Zwicky Fellow" Zwicky


Well the person at CalTech I know got her acceptance within 1.5 weeks, so I dunno how it works. The numbers are also pretty erratic from year to year... 12 one year, 4 the next. At the moment I have no choice because Colorado and Hawaii won't tell me... and JHU seems pretty silent as well

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby astrophysicist2b » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:39 pm

Hawaii's not supposed to accept many this year; they had a huge class last year (16, I think, when they wanted half that), and thus need to take fewer now.

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:56 pm

astrophysicist2b wrote:Hawaii's not supposed to accept many this year; they had a huge class last year (16, I think, when they wanted half that), and thus need to take fewer now.


Yeah, I heard that too. Also, last year (by April 15, don't know about later) -

OSU got 7 while looking for 5.
Austin got 14 while looking for 20
Yale got 1 while looking for 5

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:31 pm

shouravv wrote:
astrophysicist2b wrote:Hawaii's not supposed to accept many this year; they had a huge class last year (16, I think, when they wanted half that), and thus need to take fewer now.


Yeah, I heard that too. Also, last year (by April 15, don't know about later) -

OSU got 7 while looking for 5.
Austin got 14 while looking for 20
Yale got 1 while looking for 5


Well Yale say they want a class of 3... And 20 really seems a bit too much for Austin considering their largest entering class was 17 in 2000, see http://www.as.utexas.edu/astronomy/educ ... ntion.html

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:51 pm

Helio wrote:Well Yale say they want a class of 3... And 20 really seems a bit too much for Austin considering their largest entering class was 17 in 2000, see http://www.as.utexas.edu/astronomy/educ ... ntion.html


Austin got only 3 in the year before, that's why I guess. About Yale I heard from a current student I met at the AAS.

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:51 pm

shouravv wrote:
Helio wrote:Well Yale say they want a class of 3... And 20 really seems a bit too much for Austin considering their largest entering class was 17 in 2000, see http://www.as.utexas.edu/astronomy/educ ... ntion.html


Austin got only 3 in the year before, that's why I guess. About Yale I heard from a current student I met at the AAS.


they got 12 the year before and with their average of about 7 it seems to really average out.... but i will ask during the open house.... AAS i didn't go even though i live in LA... ohh well

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:45 pm

Helio wrote:they got 12 the year before ...


Hi Helio,

Just pointing out the facts, please don't take it personally or something.

According to the link you posted to UT website, they got 10 in 2005, 12 in 2006, and *3* in 2007. In my earlier post , I just said that I heard that in 2008 they got 14 while looking for 20, and that's just what I heard from a visitor from UT.

In my latter post, I only conjectured that the reason they probably were looking for 20 new students last year (2008) may be because they had only 3 in the year before (2007).

Anyway, Austin has a very strong and diverse Astro program, and I am sure that you will have a productive and wonderful time if you decide to go there.

Just a friendly suggestion: don't try to decide before you visit all schools. When I ranked my acceptances before visiting last year (let's say A,B,C,D,E as 1,2,3,4,5), I never imagined that I will ultimately choose E and have my relative rankings totally reversed (E,D,C,B,A as 1,2,3,4,5) after visiting. On a similar note, let me also mention that of the 10 students who visited Caltech as prospects last year, only 3 finally accepted (they hired 1 more later to make it 4), while the others went to institutions that are often perceived as not-in-the-same league.

All the best!

- Shouravv.

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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:08 pm

shouravv wrote:
Helio wrote:they got 12 the year before ...


Hi Helio,

Just pointing out the facts, please don't take it personally or something.

According to the link you posted to UT website, they got 10 in 2005, 12 in 2006, and *3* in 2007. In my earlier post , I just said that I heard that in 2008 they got 14 while looking for 20, and that's just what I heard from a visitor from UT.

In my latter post, I only conjectured that the reason they probably were looking for 20 new students last year (2008) may be because they had only 3 in the year before (2007).

Anyway, Austin has a very strong and diverse Astro program, and I am sure that you will have a productive and wonderful time if you decide to go there.

Just a friendly suggestion: don't try to decide before you visit all schools. When I ranked my acceptances before visiting last year (let's say A,B,C,D,E as 1,2,3,4,5), I never imagined that I will ultimately choose E and have my relative rankings totally reversed (E,D,C,B,A as 1,2,3,4,5) after visiting. On a similar note, let me also mention that of the 10 students who visited Caltech as prospects last year, only 3 finally accepted (they hired 1 more later to make it 4), while the others went to institutions that are often perceived as not-in-the-same league.

All the best!

- Shouravv.


no it is nothing personal.... why hell does everybody think that anyway... I am just going through the facts as well... I am just scratching my head why they would suddenly want to many when we don't know how many they had in 2008 and they haven't had that many in 17 years. With the current funding cuts in research (cause NASA has to go to the moon and mars and NSF is just being a cry baby as always) and the fact that it might even get worse I am a bit surprised they would want that many if they plan to keep 90% retention rate.

Well I am visiting most schools I get into... I already told austin I can't come to the first one because I have a midterm... I need to squeeze Steven Hawking visit to my school, a paper and the trip to austin right before spring break. My ranking of schools is just from what I see atm. I will still visit that is for sure. I am just annoyed some places (NYU and OSU) for one, who I have to either babysit to complete my file or that have the holier than thou complex, who have turned me off 95% and will only make re-consider with funding. Austin is #3 atm (parents are also influencing a bit)... there is still UWisc and Stanford ontop, I am planning to visit UIUC, Stanford, UWash, UHawaii (the flight is the scary part here, 6 hours in economy at 6-7 is far from comfortable), UWisc, Yale and JHU, and maybe Penn State (depending on time and how many of the former I get into) if I get in, where I personallz

I know one of the people that is part of that ominous class at Caltech and I know she decided because of the visit against Chicago.

IDL
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby IDL » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:45 pm

If you guys are admitted to the UT Texas, Columbia U, and U of Wisconsin, what school program do you prefer?

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:58 pm

IDL wrote:If you guys are admitted to the UT Texas, Columbia U, and U of Wisconsin, what school program do you prefer?



i will answer that with confidence after I visit both UT or UWisc (pending acceptance). At the moment I would still choose UWisc over UT because of neutrino physics

I didn't apply to columbia or considered it because I dunno with living cost in NYC plus my friend who got in last year was not too impressed

Alistar
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:37 pm

shouravv wrote:On a similar note, let me also mention that of the 10 students who visited Caltech as prospects last year, only 3 finally accepted (they hired 1 more later to make it 4), while the others went to institutions that are often perceived as not-in-the-same league.


I know selecting grad school highly depends on personal situations but when I hear something like from 10 people who have been interested in the program and offered admission, only 3 people accepted the offer, I would think something is wrong. What do you think are the CalTech's main problem? any idea?

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Fritz.Zwicky
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Fritz.Zwicky » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:54 pm

Alistar wrote:I know selecting grad school highly depends on personal situations but when I hear something like from 10 people who have been interested in the program and offered admission, only 3 people accepted the offer, I would think something is wrong. What do you think are the CalTech's main problem? any idea?


I am back. It turns out I am an astronomy professor, so you should really listen to my advice :lol:

But seriously, any program has up and down fluctuations. Looking at Caltech website, their previous year was huge, and their fourth year has one student :shock:

I should now tell you about OSU, but their (I mean our) website doesn't say who is which year :)

Fritz "call me physicsdude" Zwicky

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:57 pm

Alistar wrote:
shouravv wrote:On a similar note, let me also mention that of the 10 students who visited Caltech as prospects last year, only 3 finally accepted (they hired 1 more later to make it 4), while the others went to institutions that are often perceived as not-in-the-same league.


I know selecting grad school highly depends on personal situations but when I hear something like from 10 people who have been interested in the program and offered admission, only 3 people accepted the offer, I would think something is wrong. What do you think are the CalTech's main problem? any idea?


it has the pass/fail advantage... it is getting a new building... it has 30% of keck I and II, but I think it is the people and size that make the difference. There are more grad students than undergrads, some of the faculty is younger than the grad students (makes you feel really smart doesn't it), but also the culture of the whole thing. It is just weird to be around people that you know are mostly smarter than you. It intimidates people to be frank and that is also the aura of caltech. Then again Pasadena is not the cheapest place on earth and I dunno how much they pay exactly.

Fritz.Zwicky wrote:I am back. It turns out I am an astronomy professor, so you should really listen to my advice :lol:

But seriously, any program has up and down fluctuations. Looking at Caltech website, their previous year was huge, and their fourth year has one student :shock:

I should now tell you about OSU, but their (I mean our) website doesn't say who is which year :)

Fritz "call me physicsdude" Zwicky


They had to get ride of some of the students in that class because of lack of english skills or simply that they could not handle it

hoho
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby hoho » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:24 pm

Alistar wrote:I know selecting grad school highly depends on personal situations but when I hear something like from 10 people who have been interested in the program and offered admission, only 3 people accepted the offer, I would think something is wrong. What do you think are the CalTech's main problem? any idea?


Their "problem" is that they accept students who also get into Berkeley and Harvard. They're not naive. They accept as many students as they think are qualified, not as many as they can take.

Alistar
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:47 am

hoho wrote:
Alistar wrote:I know selecting grad school highly depends on personal situations but when I hear something like from 10 people who have been interested in the program and offered admission, only 3 people accepted the offer, I would think something is wrong. What do you think are the CalTech's main problem? any idea?


Their "problem" is that they accept students who also get into Berkeley and Harvard. They're not naive. They accept as many students as they think are qualified, not as many as they can take.


Of course I am familiar enough with the process to know this ;). But the lost of 70% is not normal base on what I heard. Maybe 50% at max. Anyway, youre in the system and know better than I do...

Alistar
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Alistar » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:50 am

Helio wrote:
Alistar wrote:
shouravv wrote:On a similar note, let me also mention that of the 10 students who visited Caltech as prospects last year, only 3 finally accepted (they hired 1 more later to make it 4), while the others went to institutions that are often perceived as not-in-the-same league.


I know selecting grad school highly depends on personal situations but when I hear something like from 10 people who have been interested in the program and offered admission, only 3 people accepted the offer, I would think something is wrong. What do you think are the CalTech's main problem? any idea?


it has the pass/fail advantage... it is getting a new building... it has 30% of keck I and II, but I think it is the people and size that make the difference. There are more grad students than undergrads, some of the faculty is younger than the grad students (makes you feel really smart doesn't it), but also the culture of the whole thing. It is just weird to be around people that you know are mostly smarter than you. It intimidates people to be frank and that is also the aura of caltech. Then again Pasadena is not the cheapest place on earth and I dunno how much they pay exactly.


Thanks for the helpful explanation Helio.

tharkun
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby tharkun » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:16 pm

I applied to the OSU Physics program (and was accepted!), with the intention of studying astrophysics. I made my interest in astrophysics clear in my personal statement and application. It seems that the OSU astronomy department is more reputable than the physics dept., but I applied to the physics department because I am not as interested in instrumentation or observation, which I often associate with astronomy. Where is the line between astrophysics and astronomy? Also, where might you rank the OSU astrophysics in their physics department? To what degree do physics students studying astrophysics at an institution cooperate and work together with the astronomy program?

evilclaw2321
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby evilclaw2321 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:19 pm

I don't know much about OSU but just in general I've heard there is a lot of cross over between astronomy and physics departments. Unless you're explicitly interested in observational astronomy then being in the physics department shouldn't be an issue. You can most likely still have either a physics or astronomy professor as your advisor, still take astro or physics classes. One difference will be in TA work as you will be TAing for most likely intro physics courses where astro TAs usually do it for astro classes. But otherwise it shouldn't matter much.

astrophysicist2b
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby astrophysicist2b » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:55 pm

anyone know what's going on with arizona's department in terms of economic issues? I've been hearing rumors for a while (something about the astro department potentially merging with physics), and the university just announced that it was closing its science center and planetarium. plus they lost their status as an astrobiology center in the fall, which can't help.

shouravv
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:47 pm

astrophysicist2b wrote:anyone know what's going on with arizona's department in terms of economic issues? I've been hearing rumors for a while (something about the astro department potentially merging with physics), and the university just announced that it was closing its science center and planetarium. plus they lost their status as an astrobiology center in the fall, which can't help.
All departments (physics and astro, public and private univ.) are going through some difficulty, since many of the private grant institutions such as the Sloan Foundation etc. having trouble with their assets at the same time as the state budget and university endowment is shrinking. Also senate has just chopped off half of the education spending from the recovery bill. However, I haven't so far heard any rumor about Arizona. Give the size of their department and the fact that it is essentially the best graduate program in that school, I would find it difficult to imagine them doing something similar. Shutting down an "astrobiology center" or "cosmology center" (these are essentially paper institutions , not physical establishments) or a planetarium are probably preemptive actions aimed at cutting overheads.

tharkun wrote:I applied to the OSU Physics program (and was accepted!), with the intention of studying astrophysics. I made my interest in astrophysics clear in my personal statement and application. It seems that the OSU astronomy department is more reputable than the physics dept., but I applied to the physics department because I am not as interested in instrumentation or observation, which I often associate with astronomy. Where is the line between astrophysics and astronomy? Also, where might you rank the OSU astrophysics in their physics department? To what degree do physics students studying astrophysics at an institution cooperate and work together with the astronomy program?
When you visit you should try to figure out if any of the physics faculty members hold joint appointments with the OSU astro department. If so, figure out if they will need new recruits this year in their group. I have heard that OSU's astro program is really great in terms of research environment, low TA workload, and higher salary. You may try it, but I don't think they will let you switch department. Working with a joint appointment faculty member is probably your best shot.

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Helio
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby Helio » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:30 pm

shouravv wrote:
tharkun wrote:I applied to the OSU Physics program (and was accepted!), with the intention of studying astrophysics. I made my interest in astrophysics clear in my personal statement and application. It seems that the OSU astronomy department is more reputable than the physics dept., but I applied to the physics department because I am not as interested in instrumentation or observation, which I often associate with astronomy. Where is the line between astrophysics and astronomy? Also, where might you rank the OSU astrophysics in their physics department? To what degree do physics students studying astrophysics at an institution cooperate and work together with the astronomy program?
When you visit you should try to figure out if any of the physics faculty members hold joint appointments with the OSU astro department. If so, figure out if they will need new recruits this year in their group. I have heard that OSU's astro program is really great in terms of research environment, low TA workload, and higher salary. You may try it, but I don't think they will let you switch department. Working with a joint appointment faculty member is probably your best shot.


Actually, I can answer that right now. Ironically, the department chair olds a joint appointment:

http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~beatty/

astrophysicist2b
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby astrophysicist2b » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:15 am

shouravv wrote:
astrophysicist2b wrote:anyone know what's going on with arizona's department in terms of economic issues? I've been hearing rumors for a while (something about the astro department potentially merging with physics), and the university just announced that it was closing its science center and planetarium. plus they lost their status as an astrobiology center in the fall, which can't help.
All departments (physics and astro, public and private univ.) are going through some difficulty, since many of the private grant institutions such as the Sloan Foundation etc. having trouble with their assets at the same time as the state budget and university endowment is shrinking. Also senate has just chopped off half of the education spending from the recovery bill. However, I haven't so far heard any rumor about Arizona. Give the size of their department and the fact that it is essentially the best graduate program in that school, I would find it difficult to imagine them doing something similar. Shutting down an "astrobiology center" or "cosmology center" (these are essentially paper institutions , not physical establishments) or a planetarium are probably preemptive actions aimed at cutting overheads.


See this news story: http://uanews.org/node/24075, detailing already implemented Arizona budget cuts, the potential for future budget cuts, and claims that dozens of departments are merging.

astrophysicist2b
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby astrophysicist2b » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:41 pm

Okay, I got the info on Arizona: Arizona Physics voted unanimously to merge with Arizona astro, but Arizona astro voted unanimously against the merger, so it doesn't sound like it's happening.

shouravv
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:37 pm

astrophysicist2b wrote:Okay, I got the info on Arizona: Arizona Physics voted unanimously to merge with Arizona astro, but Arizona astro voted unanimously against the merger, so it doesn't sound like it's happening.

It seems that Obama's 3.6T new budget ('08-'09) will follow the same line as his 800B recovery plan in terms of the education & research sector: more funds for fundamental research, more aid for college students, and increased number of graduate research fellowships. Politics aside, I think this will really help the public universities like Arizona / Berkeley / OSU / Chicago / UIUC etc. to refrain from trimming their physical sciences graduate programs. Personally, I feel that the big private universities like Stanford / Harvard / Princeton / Columbia etc. will be in deeper trouble due to the dwindling endowments which serve as their primary life-line.

In any case, the schools will always need TA's, specially for physical sciences intro and intermediate courses, and there is no cheaper source than the Graduate Student pool. So I really would not worry.

bosem
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby bosem » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:51 pm

I have a choice now between UCSC and UCSD. I am interested in theoretical astroparticle physics (darkmatter/dark energy/inflation). Which school is better in this field?

shouravv
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Re: Astronomy / Astrophysics Graduate Program Ranking etc.

Postby shouravv » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:28 pm

bosem wrote:I have a choice now between UCSC and UCSD. I am interested in theoretical astroparticle physics (darkmatter/dark energy/inflation). Which school is better in this field?
UCSC is definitely better than UCSD, by factors of many. I have friends at both schools: UCSC's astro and UCSD's phys/astro programs. But of course, it also depends on if there are any specific faculty members there who you'd like to work with, how you like the department during your visits etc.

One point though: in addition to my general cautious notes about the UC school hire/fire practices, California is also a financially extra-hard-hit state as of now. So you might want to wait for your other offers to come in.




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