Making it as a Theoretician - can it be done so late in "the game"? Hi everyone, I'm going to ask a somewhat-rhetorical question, in pursuit of some measure of reassurance (but not gaurantee) that I'll make it as a theoretician. I'm studying, right now, at the M.S.-only grad program at U-Minnesota, Duluth. I had to "start here" in order to make up for my lack-of-physics B.S. without steeping myself further in loans. I'm assuming that it's not a terribly-reputable or respected program. - I'm taking 3 courses right now - doing unprecedentedly-stellar work as a TA (ask the guy I work for). A future selling-point: I am extremely and inherently skilled as an instructor, and have great people-skills. - not having time for a certain research project I've been assigned, thanks to not-so-great time-management My goal is to gain a professorship as a theoretician and make a decent living researching and teaching....or perhaps just teaching at a liberal-arts college. However, it seems to me that theoreticians need to be REALLY GOOD...and have gotten their PhD at a highly-respected institution. (You know the Big Schools I'm talking about...the Ivy-Leaguers). Even so I've started physics "so late in the game", do you think I could still make it into one of these great schools? Or, do I even need to make it to these Big Schools if I my "teaching-strength" is a sufficiently-strong selling point? Ideally: I would make it into one of these Big Schools...but I'm really afraid it can't be done without getting my M.S. at a sufficiently-respected school.