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How about the physics department in Columbia Unibersity

by alex sun
Tags: columbia, department, physics, unibersity
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alex sun
#1
Mar10-12, 03:24 AM
P: 3
I really want to know more about the physics department in Columbia. Does that count as one of the top undergraduate physics program? I heard that they aren't so good. It will be great if somebody shows me a authorized ranking. thanks soooooooo much.
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lonewolf219
#2
Mar10-12, 09:19 PM
P: 173
Not sure but I tend to think of the top 5 grad schools for physics as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech and UC Berkley. Depending on what field you want to study, the schools vary... I think Columbia has made the top 10 list (if you consider the US News rankings credible) I think a friend of mine mentioned there's a guy at the forefront of String Theory who teaches there... Brian Greene.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Greene

And this is the ranking from US News for grad school programs (2010, at least)
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsa...ysics-rankings
alex sun
#3
Mar11-12, 01:21 AM
P: 3
Well, I know that they do well in grad schools. But how about the undergraduate school? I think they are also at the top too.

lonewolf219
#4
Mar11-12, 08:33 AM
P: 173
How about the physics department in Columbia Unibersity

This is a list of someone's top ten physics undergrad programs as of 2010... as you can see, the list doesn't look much different from the top ten grad programs...

http://www.brighthub.com/education/c...les/84294.aspx

However, here is another site that has a ranking based on the NSF's database of most successful graduates... which is pretty interesting, I think. The article mentions that graduates from smaller schools appear to be more successful... have a look

http://www.getdegrees.com/careers/_b...ysics-program/
alex sun
#5
Mar11-12, 09:01 AM
P: 3
Interesting. I think there is also a ranking says that the small schools are biased. Anyway, thank you sooooooo much!!!!
Bacle2
#6
Mar12-12, 10:53 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 1,170
The book "Higher Education?" argues that (at least at the undergrad level; not sure at the grad level) that , over the long run, a degree of some of the top-ranked universities does not improve your results --tho there is, it seems, a short-term bump. Randomly-selected students from the top schools were tracked down over some 15 years . By most measures, these students did not do better than students in more modestly-ranked schools. On the flip side, the ones studying in the top schools had much-larger student loans.

Maybe you can check for yourself:
http://highereducationquestionmark.com/, or check the book: "Higher Education?"

OTOH, at the graduate-level, in some of the top schools, you may not have access to most of the top people.
lonewolf219
#7
Mar13-12, 10:08 AM
P: 173
Hey Bacle2, what a great link! Both authors have a solid connection to Columbia, of all places! Very interesting, thanks for posting
Bacle2
#8
Mar13-12, 09:42 PM
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P: 1,170
No problem, glad to be able to contribute. I myself was offered a partial scholarship, and, after reading the book, decided against it (the Math dept., in my case), and I have never regreted it.
mathwonk
#9
Mar13-12, 11:07 PM
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well i don't know about physics, but in math i just perused their website list and oh my word,...krichever, friedman, birman, bayer, kuranishi, deJong, Hamilton, Jacquet, MacDuff, Morgan, Pinkham, Procesi, Thaddeus,...

and those are just the ones an old duffer like me knows personally.

If you have the option of going there or somewhere comoparable, I think...how can you go wrong?
Bacle2
#10
Mar13-12, 11:53 PM
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P: 1,170
But do you think you'll havea chance of coming into contact with any of them, let alone work with the famous ones? Besides: is there a correlation (informally) between being a great researcher and a good teacher/advisor? I did attend a class by Thaddeus, and he was excellent as a teacher, but , is this true for others? Isn't it true that the big names are encouraged to do research, even at the expense of teaching? Do you see any medals granted to them for excellence in teaching? do you think any of these people will want to spend time with a pipsqueak beginning grad student? In the classes I took , profs taught their classes, then disappeared and left at T.A in charge.

One of my Profs. , who attended MIT in the 70's --hoping to hobnob with the big names-- told me that the closest he ever came into contact with any of them was by talking with them thru a half-open door in order to turn-in some work. As a guest in CUNY (a good school) , Denis Sullivan was more accessible than any of the people at Columbia were when I took some classes there.
Bacle2
#11
Mar14-12, 12:38 AM
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I don't mean to be argumentative here; my overall point is that these high-powered people are often too busy to hang-out and/or talk with students. They are often traveling to/from conferences and/or busy preparing for one of them. They are not that likely to interact with anyone other than other high-powered mathematicians.
mathwonk
#12
Mar14-12, 12:50 AM
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that is a good point, there is a difference between is the department good and is it good for you. what worked for me was a top undergrad school, a good state school for grad school, and then a top school again for postdoc.


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