Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Where Are You Applying?

This isn't so much a post as a request for information. I want to ask Jared and Ryan what, if anything, they have decided to do with themselves after they graduate from BYU. Are you heading to grad school? In physics? Where are you planning on applying? Please, enlighten me.

And just so you don't feel like I'm totally wasting precious blog space with this post, here's a sign that was posted on the door of one of the grad students here that does research in cosmology:

"Will compute the size of the universe for food"


  1. Lately I have been looking at Texas (Austin) and Penn State, but most recently I have been looking into University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The more I investigate UNC the more I think that that would be a good place to go. They have a strong Physics program and also a good Astronomy program which I have always been interested in. I have also looked at Wisconsin, Maryland and others.

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  3. I've heard a lot about UNC and NC State expanding their astrophysics programs recently. NC State has a guy, John Blondin, who does some cool stuff in computer modeling of accretion disks. Are you thinking you'd like to do computational research or more pure theory?

  4. Also, this may be a bit of a biased comment, but you should check out Colorado's Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Department (my department). It is a nice mix of physics and astronomy, and the first semester classes are pretty easy as well.

  5. Hey guys,
    So far Baylor is top of the list. I am still searching for phenomenology (yes, Firefox had to help me spell that correctly...AGAIN) groups but they aren't really good at broadcasting it. Any ideas? Other schools so far are: Texas A&M, Wisconsin-Madison, U Penn, Liverpool,and I'll probably add Columbia and Chicago for good measure.

  6. PS. How do you get a photo on your profile?

  7. Like Nick I will say I'm biased, but seriously, Irvine has done a lot of hiring in Cosmology, Astrophysics, and particle areas. I will not force anyone to look into it, but don't say I didn't tell you.

    One really good phenomenology school I never applied to but is really good is Michigan. They have several Phenomenologists and a few of them do String Phenomenology.

    One side note, I won't do this, but Irvine has several groups working at CERN. If you join one of these groups you move out to CERN in Switzerland your third year. If I wanted to see the world I should jump into high-energyexperiment! :)

  8. Jared I must say that Madison is an attractive school. I've been there and I have a sister and a brother-in-law that have their PhD's from there.

    Nick, I think I'll put Colorado on my list to consider. NC State does have Blondin, but that's about all they have. If you recall, last year I was making fun of a grad school because they don't require the Physics GRE and they even accept English majors into their program? Well, I was making fun of NC State. The deadline for their applications is in June which means they accept people that have been rejected from everywhere else (which probably means I'll end up going there.)

    Joe: DO YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE PROMOTING THE BRAIN DRAIN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? ;-)

  9. Ryan, you make a good point about NC State - you need a program with at least a little prestige. That being said, I think who you work with is probably the single most important factor in success in grad school and in getting a good post-doc afterwards.

    I am here mostly because I met Juri Toomre when I visited Colorado in February. His current grad students are happy, he still collaborates with most of his past students, and his research group gets about 15% of the publicly awarded supercomputer time in the country every year. And so far, so good...

  10. If you know David Silvers, he is at the U right now and he is hating it and wants to go to another school. There are various reasons for this but mostly it is because his advisor doesn't speak English (mostly) and also he is not very supportive of David. So having a good advisor is very important, so the first thing I look for is an advisor who I can work with.

  11. ***Caution: Biased comments***

    One really nice thing about Colorado is that they have an attitude, at least in my department, that grad students are pretty much free to change adviser's within their first 2-3 years.

    Part of the comprehensive exam here is a publication quality research project and it is actually encouraged by the department for students to do that with someone other than their potential thesis adviser. Of course, if you like your research topic and your adviser, it is easier (and leads to faster graduation as your research can be a part of your thesis)to stay with your thesis adviser. However, I'd say about 50% of students here end up working with someone else on their project and about half of those end up switching permanently.

    Overall, I like the fact that here, I work with Juri Toomre's group and could work with someone else if I wanted. Here, I am not considered my adviser's indentured servant but rather my adviser's junior colleague.


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