Yes, true. Yet at the same time, in physics, UIUC = = Berkeley and Berkeley is in California nd has the pedgree outside n inside physics community. So if I were you I would go to Berkeley. Also, a lot of good people on this forum are planning to go to Berkeley
, so yes Berkeley would be my top choice if I had applied and accepted there.
Berkeley is always ranked top 5 in almost every field from study of "stone collection" to study of "supernova explosion" .
Although I do not care the ranking, Berkeley has a GREAT CM deparmtent which I realized after the application deadline was gone.
CMT ranking for me would be:
I did not apply to Berkeley, rejected from MIT, so UIUC is only left for me. I do not consider Cornell as an excellent school in CMT( they are excellent in exp though).