Top choices?

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peder
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Top choices?

Postby peder » Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:14 pm

What are the top choices for all y'all? This might be interesting if we compare to a month from now when we actually do submit our letter of intents.

As for me, it probably goes:

1a. UCSB Physics
1b. Yale Geophysics
2. NYU Physics

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:33 pm

So far, I have only visited Illinois, and I was very impressed. I don't even mind the location. It's a college town, with plenty to keep grad students entertained. One can easily visit Chicago or St. Louis on the weekends.

So, for now, my list goes:

1. Illinois
2. Berkeley
3. UCSD

However, there are some personal reasons that I won't discuss, which give the California schools a slight bias, so if after visiting and doing further research, I find Berkeley to be about equally attractive as Illinois, I will probably choose Berkeley.

christopher3.14
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Re: Top choices?

Postby christopher3.14 » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:39 pm

I'm visiting schools at the end of this month. But right now, on paper, it looks like:
(All in exp. condensed matter)
1) UIUC
2) Columbia
3a) Rutgers
3b) NYU

nvanmeter
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Re: Top choices?

Postby nvanmeter » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:59 pm

for me:

1) Harvard
2) MIT
3) CalTech

all of which i will visit...we shall see

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zxcv
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Re: Top choices?

Postby zxcv » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:28 pm

Well, let's see.

1. Berkeley
2. Caltech (supposing I get in)
3. University of Washington

ibbgs
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Re: Top choices?

Postby ibbgs » Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:48 pm

1a. Harvard
1b. Caltech
3. Stanford

2-body problem makes a hard choice easier.

LucasWillis
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Re: Top choices?

Postby LucasWillis » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:37 pm

1. Yale
2. CU Boulder
3. Michigan
4. Maryland

I know there seems to be quite a bit of animosity towards Yale on this board, but they have been extremely kind throughout the application process, and unlike some schools they have been constantly sending information since I have been accepted. Their stipend is gigantic for the price of living in New Haven, too. When I was applying to programs, I had specific advisers in mind. David DeMille at Yale does very good work in parity nonconservation and cooling polar molecules. Although Boulder is #1 for AMO, I feel like it would be a better place to do a post-doc than graduate school.

In general, it is a very tough decision, as Michigan is very strong and Maryland is quickly becoming a power house of atomic.

myass
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Re: Top choices?

Postby myass » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:53 pm

1a MIT
1b Berkeley
3a Stanford
3b Chicago
3c Columbia

God I hope visiting schools help me although I'm visiting one of them...

400nm
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Re: Top choices?

Postby 400nm » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:58 pm

<deleted>
Last edited by 400nm on Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

hintonburgdisaster
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Re: Top choices?

Postby hintonburgdisaster » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:21 am

1a. Berkeley
1b. Cornell
3. UCSB

As a condensed matter guy, I know Cornell is the holy land, but Berkeley has a slight edge due to location/girlfriend reasons. I know these are bad reasons, so sue me. UCSB is similarly awesome, but its harder for me to find people I get really excited about working with there. I'm sure everything will change after the department visits.

doom
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Re: Top choices?

Postby doom » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:23 am

1. Minnesota
2. Washington

3. Maryland




4. Ohio State
(Only visited OSU so far.)

cancelled20080417
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Re: Top choices?

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:28 am

1) UIUC (unanimous)

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:38 am

@RG

Were you at the open house last weekend?

inverseErfc
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Re: Top choices?

Postby inverseErfc » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:48 am

pretty much set on UIUC, unless something extraordinary happens.

cancelled20080417
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Re: Top choices?

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:52 am

Nope, I visited UIUC long before their formal openhouse(cuz I had to go back home for some domestic reason). UIUC is very close to my College. (2 hrs drive). UIUC is excellent in CM theory ( I donno about exp.). So I decided to accept their offer and declined all others.

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:56 am

Do you already know who you want to work with?

By the way, CM experiment is great there, as well.

cancelled20080417
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Re: Top choices?

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:11 am

Goldenfeld!


I just realized that people outside physics community do not care how good UIUC is in physics. I should have applied to Berkeley. Oh well, I am set for UIUC.

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:18 am

A friend of mine works with Goldenfeld. That's great. His research is pretty cool.

I think in many ways UIUC is underrated. It seems a lot of students applying to grad school don't realize how amazing their department is. The general consensus among those who visited this last weekend, to me, seemed to be that the department is great, even if you are interested in something other than condensed matter.

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fermiboy
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Re: Top choices?

Postby fermiboy » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:59 am

When is UIUC going to send out rejections? I'm still in limbo here.

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fermiboy
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Re: Top choices?

Postby fermiboy » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:04 am

RG, I was looking at Goldenfeld's web site and now I know why your name is RG. Duh!

Hint for other readers: Kenneth Wilson

donkey
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Re: Top choices?

Postby donkey » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:58 am

butsurigakusha wrote:I think in many ways UIUC is underrated. It seems a lot of students applying to grad school don't realize how amazing their department is. The general consensus among those who visited this last weekend, to me, seemed to be that the department is great, even if you are interested in something other than condensed matter.


I totally agree. Their condensed matter is in a class of its own really, but the department is incredibly diverse and it seems that every conceivable branch of physics is covered. I also got the feeling that they have a genuine interest in their students and that the faculty is quite close knit, especially considering how large it is.

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zxcv
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Re: Top choices?

Postby zxcv » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:49 am

Goldenfeld's research looks fascinating.

I've been getting the feeling lately that maybe I should have applied to grad school based more on actual research interests as opposed to prestige/location :(.

My theory was that with ill-defined interests, I could find a lot of stuff nearly anywhere interesting. I guess that has indeed held true so far for me when I've gotten to understand a field of research: I could blame my current uncertainty on a lack of significant exposure to some major fields of physics (e.g. condensed matter). That theory of mine is probably right, but right now I look at research descriptions of a lot of physics research and it's not clear to me why it's interesting, or moreover, why I care about it. That frightens me, even if I'm pretty sure it won't hold.

EDIT: By the way, the main reason I'm posting so much this week is because I'm on spring break... nothing to do but stress out about my future.

hpharty
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Re: Top choices?

Postby hpharty » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:11 am

I have no idea?! I've got 6 acceptances, 2 rejections, and haven't heard back from two (waitlisted?). I will most likely decline one offer very soon, which leaves five. So my top choices in no particular order (CM-Exp):

Johns Hopkins
NYU
Rutgers
Carnegie Mellon
Boston University

Help! I will say Boston is probably in the right place near the bottom. This is in large part due to my own two-body problem.

cancelled20080417
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Re: Top choices?

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:53 am

Yes, fermiboy you got it rite. Goldenfeld is also a 'hero' in finance. He also works on RG method. However, there are many Professors in UCSB and UCB doing similar stuff in CM th. or exp, so I do not think people accepted to Berkeley have anything to loose. On top of it, you will be in California. (I did not eve look at Berkeley's and Stanford's websites when I was applying to grad schools, which is a terrible mistake. I am more concerned with the fact that nobody outside the physics community has heard of UIUC :evil: ****)


EDIT: grae, March meeting that I was talking about is the APS march meeting where many students and Profs present their research work. I am thinking of presenting one next yr, and I am sure many of us will be doing so too.

VT
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Re: Top choices?

Postby VT » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:12 am

welcome back RG!

my top choices are so far:
1) UIUC( if accepted)
2) Wisconsin-Madison---- Brown
3) University of Minnesota, Minneapolis ( have not visited, so it may change)
(I turned down most of my other offers.)

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:46 am

@RG
UIUC is a pretty well respected school, even outside the physics community. A lot of people have heard of them. But they may not realize what UIUC refers to. But most people have heard of the University of Illinois. The fact that their football team was in the top 25 and played in the Rose bowl I am sure helps a bit, too.

Sure, Illinois doesn't have the name recognition of schools like Harvard and Stanford, but I think it falls in the same category as schools like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Texas. People who are somewhat familiar with the universities in this country know that these schools are good schools.

cancelled20080417
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Re: Top choices?

Postby cancelled20080417 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:18 pm

butsu..
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 :wink: , 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:
Berkeley
MIT
UIUC

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).

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:09 pm

One of my biggest qualms with going to Berkeley is the political atmosphere. Check out yesterday's segment on the daily show. I am a little bit uncomfortable living in a place where such lunacy is the norm.

mrmagoo
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Re: Top choices?

Postby mrmagoo » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:02 pm

Hi folks,
Long time listener, first time caller here.

I happen to know a little about Berkeley, as I am currently a student here, and I thought it my duty to dispel butsurigakusha's fears a bit.

First off, Berkeley is not some ultra-liberal hippy-fest of a place. It has an incredibly diverse student body, with no less of the usual athletes and Republicans you might find at other top-tier schools. You are NOT required to drive a Prius OR wear Birkenstocks in order to pass quals.

Re: the political atmosphere... Sure.. Berkeley is definitely a vibrant place. No one, regardless of their specific political affiliations, has any problem expressing their views. When I walk to class in the afternoon, I see equal numbers of pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian student demonstrators, equally large contingents of students supporting Obama, Clinton, Ron Paul AND McCain.

Lately there has been increased coverage of Berkeley on the national news scene, mostly owing to about a dozen people camped out in some trees by the football stadium and the recent US Marine recruiting station protests. An important thing to remember, which some of you might know if you have ever had any interaction with the media, is that its very difficult to get the whole story.. or even a true story.. watching the television. I can tell you first-hand that, while I am sure many people in Berkeley are cognizant of global warming and would like to see US troops come home from Iraq, extreme protests are confined to a rather small segment of the campus population.

I am proud to attend Berkeley as an undergraduate. It is an amazingly stimulating environment, utterly dripping with some of the brightest people and most fascinating ideas you could imagine. The weather is nice too! Yesterday it was knocking on 70 degrees F!

Although I like the Daily Show as much as the next guy, be careful in forming your view of the Berkeley 'norm' from a 2 minute comedy sketch.

If anyone has any specific questions about Berkeley, don't hesitate to ask.

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grae313
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Re: Top choices?

Postby grae313 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:16 pm

butsurigakusha wrote:One of my biggest qualms with going to Berkeley is the political atmosphere. Check out yesterday's segment on the daily show. I am a little bit uncomfortable living in a place where such lunacy is the norm.


Don't go to Berkeley

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zxcv
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Re: Top choices?

Postby zxcv » Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:23 pm

Okay thanks RG, you make me feel a little better there. But I feel just as silly never having looked at the websites for UIUC, MIT, Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, etc. just because they were on the wrong coast.

I can say that so called "political lunacy" does not scare me as it scares you guys... it might even attract as my beliefs can be toward the loony side.

I'm actually going to be visiting Berkeley at the end of the this week and meeting with a couple professors doing quantum computing theory whose research I'm interested in (I'm down in the bay area for a wedding). I'll also be back for the visiting days.

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butsurigakusha
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Re: Top choices?

Postby butsurigakusha » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:09 pm

In all honesty, the political atmosphere of Berkeley is not much of a concern for me. As long as all the activism doesn't interfere with my life, I have no problem with it. I'm pretty much apathetic when it comes to politics. I have no doubt that I will be able to tune out all the politics, so it won't be a factor in my decision.

I am fully aware that watching the Daily Show is not a good basis for finding the facts about a story or a city. I was joking when I said that was a concern for me.

myass
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Re: Top choices?

Postby myass » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:51 pm

>mrmagoo

Amazing. I'm a berkeley student, too. But I never care about those politics issues. Indeed, I never knew how many of my classmates are blah blah about iraq or whatever.

One thing I hate about berkeley: so many students are similar about the point that they believe they live in a diverse environment and each member has a unique contribution to the diversity. Many don't think about how they contribute, but just say that.

One thing I hate about physics department: many undergrads are proud of themselves although I don't see students here as exceptionally smart. There are, indeed, some people very, very smart. But many are just folks being busy with copying HWs in the physics reading room on Friday (typical HW due day), and also busy with looking for ways to get more points on exam other than understanding topics. Also, some graduate students here are disappointing. I know a few who havent finished undergrad courses (when they came) that are requirement to get bachelor degree. And a few even fail in a graduate course which is usually much much less competitive compared to undergrad courses here. I had some of them as my GSI (grad student instructor), and that was terrible. Again, some grad students are really impressive. It's just that grad students here are from wide range of academic level.

Other than that, it's a good school. There are lot of research opportunities I am very interested in. I like many faculties. I like views and environments of Lawrence Berkeley Lab. I like my office there and campus. I like living environment in North side of the campus while I hate that of South side. Happy hour on every Friday is a good time to have beer in physics building with colleagues. I never ever cared about politics during my undergrad life here. Oh well, I did see politics among faculties about how to get funded for ther experiments though.

By the way, this is probably a wrong thread to discuss about this. We should concentrate on posting our personal rankings of schools!

peder
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Re: Top choices?

Postby peder » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:49 pm

Another Berkeley student chiming in!

I will have to disagree with myass here, but subtlely. Yes, it's true that some of the undergrads are very proud of themselves. I'm the type that people definitely don't assume I'm smart, especially at a place like Berkeley. As a result, some other undergraduates really can get arrogant.

However, I caution that it is some undergraduates, not all of them, that can get arrogant. And a good hefty chunk of them are very, very, intelligent. I don't consider myself in that top tier of Berkeley undergraduates (say, top fourth), but from visiting my friends at other institutions, I can tell you that classes in other places by and large are easier. This is after examining homework and tests from places that are supposed to be known for their Physics (Cornell, Harvard, Stanford, and Illinois). Like myass said, there are some graduate students who got straight A's at their undergrad institution, only to do miserable in the Berkeley UNDERGRADUATE courses. Graduate students at Cal get up until the final to decide to drop classes, and I have seen a number of graduate students do so.

I'm of the firm opinion that to even survive Berkeley physics classes takes a good modicum of intelligence to be able to get through them. Say what you will about the kids who are in the the physics reading room on Friday, but most classes are structured in such a way such that at least 50% of class grades are examinations, and I have yet to meet a professor in an upper division course who was not afraid to give an F on a final or midterm.

myass
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Re: Top choices?

Postby myass » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:03 pm

>peder

I feel like I know who you are! But anyway, yes, I agree with your statement, which means I slightly disagree with my previous post.

What I wanted to mention is those students who are proud of their group identity, "Cal." They don't assume they are smart inside Berkeley, but still they make themselves feel good by saying that they are students at Berkeley and surviving in physics courses at Berkeley. I think people including you know better about other institutions than I do. But still, I don't think courses here are exceptionally hard. I look at HW sets on other UCs and they have really good problems to attack, too....

peder
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Re: Top choices?

Postby peder » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:31 am

That's no good, myass. I carefully conceal my identity. :P




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