Speaking very generally, both schools have about the same reputation, with Purdue maybe having an edge in science reputation based on its engineering. But I think for other sciences, including physics, they are about even in reputation in terms of people who really know. They are only separated by about two spots on the last NRC rankings.
I don't know a lot about HEP exp at IU, but I spent a summer REU there working on accelerator physics simulation. One thing to keep in mind is that the department is physically divided: the main department is in Swain Hall in the oldest corner of campus, while the cyclotron facility is about as far away as you can get, north of the football stadium. Lots of professors have their offices out there, including many of the HEP exp people, I believe. The cyclotron doesn't do a lot of new physics, as one of its primary current uses is for cancer treatment (proton therapy, which is really cool if you're into that at all). The cyclotron facility is a perfectly fine building, but a little isolated from campus.
Bloomington is a very cool college town, much better than West Lafayette. There are lots of restaurants of different ethnicities to try, and places to see music, etc. There is also natural beauty nearby, with lots of hills, state parks, and some lakes. Purdue has a less attractive campus, and Lafayette is surrounded by cornfields, which fewer people find interesting (although I am one of them). Both are about the same distance from Indianapolis, although Purdue is 2 hours from Chicago, while IU is four hours away.
Last bumped by arieszen on Sat May 08, 2010 6:21 am.