Chicago vs Cornell in HEP-th?

spongebob
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:14 pm

Chicago vs Cornell in HEP-th?

Postby spongebob » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:13 am

Hello Friends,

As the title says, I am trying to decide between University of Chicago and Cornell University and field I am interested in is HEP-th.

Although I did lots and lots of research about both universities, I will not share my findings here to not affect your opinions. I would love to hear what do you think about both schools, and which one to choose.

Thank you in advance!

GaugeGravityDuality
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:06 pm

Re: Chicago vs Cornell in HEP-th?

Postby GaugeGravityDuality » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:57 pm

Hi spongebob!

I'm very familiar with hep-th at both departments so I'll try to offer my views on both. Both Cornell and Chicago have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to hep-th so neither is certainly absolutely better than the other. I'll list the pros and cons of each below (n.b. I'm only listing the pros and cons of the departments, not weather or quality of living). Also keep in mind that when I say hep-th I mean the topics that show up under hep-th on the arxiv (i.e. not pheno).

Cornell University:

Pros:

-Recently hired Tom Hartman who is a very strong hep theorist working on gauge/gravity and field theory problems
-Strong in String pheno/String cosmology because of Liam McAllister
-Strong in classical/semi-classical gravity because of Eanna Flanagan
-Very close knit and open door theory group

Cons:

-Not so strong in CMT which is quite important these days for budding hep theorists
-Has a noticeably more prominent pheno culture than hep-th culture
-Does not have a strongly affiliated theoretical physics institute i.e. Cornell isn't actively investing in its theory department

University of Chicago:

Pros:

-Very strong for pure string theory as it has Savdeep Sethi, Jeffrey Harvey, Emil Martinec, and David Kutasov
-Also strong for classical/semi-classical gravity because of Robert Wald
-Chicago seems to be investing heavily in its theory department; recently established Kadanoff Center for Theoretical Physics, has KICP
-Strong for CMT; in particular Chicago recently hired Dam Son who is right at the intersection of hep-th and CMT

Cons:

-Has no one doing research in gauge/gravity or related aspects of quantum gravity and black holes, which is one of, if not the most popular avenues in modern hep-th
-In a similar vein to the above, research wise Chicago seems to be somewhat isolated from the most popular hep-th departments
(in terms of number of hep-th post-docs, number of hep-th faculty, number of visiting professors etc.) i.e. Princeton, Harvard, UCSB, Berkeley, and Stanford

-There seems to be a rather noticeable disconnect between the hep-th group and gravity group at Chicago (as opposed to say the strongly connected hep-th and gravity groups at e.g. UCSB or Harvard)

All in all, which school you pick depends quite crucially on your specific interests within hep-th. At Chicago you will basically have to do pure string theory. At Cornell you will have more flexibility as you can do hep-th along the lines of string pheno/string cosmology or hep-th along the lines of gauge/gravity and CFT. At both schools you can go along the route of classical/semi-classical gravity research although I think the gravity group at Cornell is more connected with the hep-th group than at Chicago. Both schools are great options. If you want more flexibility I would definitely go with Cornell but if you're entirely set on doing pure string theory then maybe Chicago would be the better option.

Also I'll be visiting both of these schools during their respective open houses (I'm also interested in doing hep-th) so message if you want to meet up during the open houses; we can discuss schools in more detail in person. Best of luck!
Last edited by GaugeGravityDuality on Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

spongebob
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:14 pm

Re: Chicago vs Cornell in HEP-th?

Postby spongebob » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:13 pm

Wow, THANK YOU! I’m sure your comments will help many others too, since there are no comparisons of physics departments of these universities on the web, let alone HEP-th. You’ve made a significant contribution!

I am an international applicant and when I ask my professors about these two schools, (since they are not familiar with these departments) they simply say both are perfect and I can flip a coin to decide. Your detailed comment was really a blessing to me.

You already told much more than what I was expecting, yet having found a such well-informed person in the field, can I ask some more (minor) questions?

1-) Can you please also share your views on phenomenology work done in both departments? Maybe some of your favourite Professors doing phenomenology?

2-) I was admitted by Yale too, but their particle theory group looks small and less fruitful compared to Uchicago and Cornell. (They have very few professors who hire only 3 grad students. Source: http://www.yale.edu/het/people.htm ) Therefore I am trying to decide between Cornell and Chicago. Do you also think that Yale is not as good as the other two in particle theory?

I would love to meet you during open houses, however, since I am living in another continent, I will not be able to participate in any of the open houses. Hopefully If we end up in the same school I will be delighted to meet and thank you face-to-face (I will be following your post in applicant profiles to see where you choose). Best wishes!

GaugeGravityDuality
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:06 pm

Re: Chicago vs Cornell in HEP-th?

Postby GaugeGravityDuality » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:00 pm

(1) Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with the pheno being done at Chicago but I can share what I know about pheno at Cornell. The most active pheno faculty there are Csaba Csaki, Yuval Grossman, and Maxim Perelstein.

They all do different things (which is good!) and all three of them are well-regarded and well-known in pheno. Maxim has recently moved into dark matter physics and early universe particle physics. Csaba does a lot of different things in BSM (Beyond the Standard Model). Unfortunately I'm not as familiar with Yuval's work.

I would suggest looking at recent arxiv papers of all three of the aforementioned faculty. That way you can decide for yourself whose work interests you the most.

(2) All else equal (location, funding etc.) I would definitely place Yale below Cornell and Chicago for hep-th. If I were you I would focus time and effort in deciding between Cornell and Chicago.

Feel free to ask anymore questions you may have! I'd love to help as much as possible, especially since you can't make it to the open houses.




Return to “School Selection”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest