Undergraduate Research?

  • #51
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Well, I don't think it's unacceptable to state their names if they can be googled, so thanks. However, after taking a look, I know people who showed more talent in high school but nevertheless did not take 10-12 grad courses in college. I personally thought you knew people who had actually done it. So I feel that your estimation is off the mark. And even if they do, 3-4 years from now, actually finish 10-12 grad courses in college, it does go to show that it will be very, very rare - not every year do you get only a few of them.

And P.S., case in point: Not even Terence Tao finished all of his undergrad math during high school.
 
  • #52
Well, I don't think it's unacceptable to state their names if they can be googled, so thanks. However, after taking a look, I know people who showed more talent in high school but nevertheless did not take 10-12 grad courses in college. I personally thought you knew people who had actually done it. So I feel that your estimation is off the mark. And even if they do, 3-4 years from now, actually finish 10-12 grad courses in college, it does go to show that it will be very, very rare - not every year do you get only a few of them.

And P.S., case in point: Not even Terence Tao finished all of his undergrad math during high school.
Well according to some pf mentors it is unacceptable. I have been warned against it. It could be that they're just picking on me but I don't want to take chances.

I'd say that in the current era, many, many people have more knowledge than Terence Tao had when he was 18. THe point is that when you accelerate in math, you're not necessarily doing yourself any favors. If you learn calculus and go to university immediately, you will have the same knowledge as a first year student. THe only advantage you have is age. But age doesn't matter when it comes to grad. school applications. I'm sure a grad. school wouldn't accept a 2 year-old who knew calculus, if that's all he knew.

For example see this: http://www.math.princeton.edu/graduate/generals/tao_terence .

Even I know more harmonic analysis than that in undergraduate. But that doesn't mean that I'm better than Terence Tao since for one thing I don't even want to become a specialist in harmonic analysis. The standards are much higher these days. People need to know many areas of math at a high level in grad. school. I'm only speculating but I wonder whether Terence Tao applied to Harvard for grad. school. If he couldn't get in there, it just goes to show that luck is the most important factor in grad. school applicants.

Anyway, enough of my babbling.
 
  • #53
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Well, there have been more controversial conflicts between users and admins on this site

Wow, that's a very interesting site. I ended up spending the past hour reading.

I don't think you're babbling. Most of it was worth thinking. I don't agree with some of your points, though.
 
  • #54
Well, there have been more controversial conflicts between users and admins on this site

Wow, that's a very interesting site. I ended up spending the past hour reading.

I don't think you're babbling. Most of it was worth thinking. I don't agree with some of your points, though.
Which points do you not agree with me?

Anyway, I think that he was accepted at Princeton's math grad. school simply because they saw potential in him because of his age. It's not normal for someone to go through a not-so-good (to say the least) university like Flinder's and get accepted at a top school. The main reason is that you won't be exposed to serious math before grad. school. I don't even think Tao had publications before grad. school. So it's a bit of a mystery why he was accepted over the other fierce competition. I'm pretty sure grad. schools don't give weight to gold medals at olympiads.
 
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  • #55
See also http://www.claymath.org/interviews/tao.php [Broken]

Terence Tao seems to claim that he applied to about a dozen places for grad. school but was only accepted at MIT and Princeton.
 
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  • #56
In a perfect world, Anon111, you would be right. But we don't live in a perfect world, so there will always be those people who will try to beat you out by beating the system. It just so happens now that there are so many people doing this that it's beginning to have a real effect on who gets what places in the top schools. Admissions has to do something, and the easiest thing to do is to say, 'Everyone who we think is smart enough should get amazing grades effortlessly anyway'. That way they can try and fish out the really special people from the average.

That's what I think anyway.
Who views grad. school math applicants applications? Does anyone know? I can't think of a mathematician at Harvard, who is probably super brilliant to just be appointed there, rejecting someone simply because he got a C grade in ancient history. Mathematicians, especially the very good ones, aren't the sort of people to reject applicants for bogus reasons. I can imagine a registrar or something doing that. But the funny thing is that most admitted students don't get great grades outside math anyway, especially if they're good at math.
 
  • #57
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See also http://www.claymath.org/interviews/tao.php [Broken]

Terence Tao seems to claim that he applied to about a dozen places for grad. school but was only accepted at MIT and Princeton.
I recall applying to a dozen places, and ending up with acceptance offers from both Princeton and MIT.
It sounds more like he applied to a dozen universities and two acceptances he obtained were from MIT and Princeton, noting the strongest schools he got accepted too. You can certainly infer that if he applied to other top schools like Harvard, he wouldn't have gotten in since he would have included that. However, he most likely got accepted into other univerisities as well but just chooses not to mention them because they're not as prestigious as Princeton/MIT.


But the funny thing is that most admitted students don't get great grades outside math anyway, especially if they're good at math.
That might be too broad of a generalization.
 
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  • #58
It sounds more like he applied to a dozen universities and two acceptances he obtained were from MIT and Princeton, noting the strongest schools he got accepted too. You can certainly infer that if he applied to other top schools like Harvard, he wouldn't have gotten in since he would have included that. However, he most likely got accepted into other univerisities as well but just chooses not to mention them because they're not as prestigious as Princeton/MIT.



That might be too broad of a generalization.
I'm sure he would have applied to more than those two prestigious universities. Because Garth Gaudry would've known his talent and urged him to apply to the best places in the US. I don't think he would've applied to a lowly university like Ohio or whatnot.
 
  • #59
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He certainly could have been accepted to other strong math departments in other universities that are within the top 25 or so, but simply chooses not to mention them. You can't infer that he only got accepted into 2 US universities, although that may or may not have occurred.
For example, I got accepted into Yale, Princeton, Caltech, UCLA, Berkeley, etc., but when people ask me for the best schools I get accepted to, I simply mention Yale and Princeton, and I tend to opt out LA and Caltech. And even when I just stated 5 schools that I got accepted to, I already opted out 4 others that are also pretty good universities but not nearly as strong as Yale or Princeton (JHU,SD,SB,Irvine).
 
  • #60
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Isn't Berkeley somewhat stronger than Yale in mathematics though? Do you just mention Yale for the name recognition then? Of course, Princeton has an incredibly strong math dept.
 
  • #61
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I'm actually wondering what you all mean by research in this situation. Is it actually research where you can publish an article in a journal?
 
  • #62
eri
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The research most undergrads do won't get published in a professional journal, but might end up in an undergraduate research journal (many universities have their own) or being a poster presentation at a professional conference. However, some undergrads do manage to get published in a professional journal, and that looks great to grad programs. I've seen everything from last author of 50 for contributing something small to a large collaboration to a first author Nature paper from undergrads.
 
  • #63
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Isn't Berkeley somewhat stronger than Yale in mathematics though? Do you just mention Yale for the name recognition then? Of course, Princeton has an incredibly strong math dept.
Sorry I just noticed this question. Yes, Berkeley is somewhat stronger than Yale in math, and yes I just mention Yale because people tend to view the best schools as the most prestigious and so I would just mention those two (I believe Caltech is also stronger than Yale in math). Yale does currently have a Putnam fellow (who became one freshman year), but I can't attribute that solely to a strong math department since the student placed 1st on the IMO multiple times.
I don't mention Berkeley though because I'm a student there and stating admission would be inherent.
 

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