CU Boulder vs Duke

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CU Boulder vs Duke

Post by phyz » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:27 am

I have offers from both schools but having trouble choosing. I can't visit either of them since I'm an international. Looking at condensed matter and/or quantum information theory. Any advice is appreciated!

Boulder because:
1) Boulder has a stronger department that is far better ranked too. Lots of people doing work that sounds very cool and Duke simply can't match up here.
2) Nicer city, but this is really not important to me.

Duke because:
1) Two professors at Duke have expressed interest in working with me and I think their research sounds interesting (although not Boulder level). At Boulder, no commitments yet so I'll go there and find a boss.
2) Better stipend, especially relative to the cost of living, guaranteed funding for five years (Boulder only guarantees for two) and no teaching required.
3) Better overall reputation - I will most likely work outside academia after graduation.
Last edited by phyz on Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CU Boulder vs Duke

Post by danielfaraday » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:39 am


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Re: CU Boulder vs Duke

Post by harrisa » Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:24 pm

Just from your description Duke seems better, but I haven't visited either of these schools so I'm going off of that alone. Your two points about CUB don't seem to effect you in the long run because if you're not going into academia then overall reputation is better to look at and if you can be happy in North Carolina as well as in Colorado then Duke seems like the better option as it has more positives.

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Re: CU Boulder vs Duke

Post by matscientist » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:17 am

CU Boulder offers two PhD research settings that may be of interest, JILA, which is a joint venture between NIST fellows and CU physics and chemistry professors: JILA gets NSF funding, and works on Bose Einstein condensates and many other areas of physics including quantum devices and optical devices. Dr. Eric Cornell is a NIST Fellow at JILA who accepts PHD and post docs and won the Nobel prize for Bose Einstein Condensate work.

There are many other good PhD mentors at JILA, the CU Physics Department and CU Department of Applied Mathematics to choose from. NIST Fellows work exclusively on the CU Boulder campus at JILA, mentor PhD students but do not have to teach, so they focus exclusively on their PhD and post docs.

About a mile from the CU campus, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has a laboratory on Broadway and Baseline Road in Boulder.
NIST is part of the US Department of Commerce and trains some theoretical and experimental PhD students at CU, in areas like superconductivity, laser trapping of ions and atoms. You do not need to be a US citizen to work on a PhD at NIST Boulder. While some NIST physicists are jointly appointed to CU Boulder Department of Physics, most work exclusively on their research work. There is theoretical and experimental work on quantum bits and circuits, magnetic devices, superconducting devices, single photon counters, optical devices and superconducting sensors for cosmology research on South pole and other telescopes. (See Dr. Gene Hilton). There is a state of the art clean room, and lots of low temperature physics equipment such as dilution refrigerators, to do experiments at a few degrees Kelvin. The atomic clock resides at NIST and time and frequency research is conducted there as well. Dr. David Wineland, a physicist at NIST in Boulder recently won a Nobel Prize for his work on laser cooling trapped ions, a quantum phenomena. Dr. Wineland is known as an amazing PhD advisor: ... e-students

CU Boulder is located in a city of 100,000, which is about 30 miles north of Denver, and the international airport.

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