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UCSB vs. Stanford

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:47 pm
by berkphys
Any advice on deciding between Stanford and UCSB high energy theory? They both seem string theory heavy, but I think I'd be looking at more non-string quantum gravity.

Thanks for any help.

Re: UCSB vs. Stanford

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:53 pm
by nowhereguy
As far as I know, those schools don't have people working on other approaches to quantum gravity. Maybe I am wrong, have you found any professor working on non-stringy stuff? For string theory, both places are among the very best. If you wanted to do string theory, then I would advice to have a look at the specific research going on at both schools. Lucky you for getting to choose between those two!

Re: UCSB vs. Stanford

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:54 pm
by ibbgs
I don't know how hell bent you are on non-string QG but if you are hell bent on it, I would recommend Perimeter Institute over both (if you applied there. If you didn't, I think they take late applications if you contact a particular professor to start with). It is the only current stronghold for non-string QG people that I know of (They have Smolin and others). Between the two I have heard UCSB to be less stringy than Stanford, but you may want to take advice from a more knowledgable source than me.

Re: UCSB vs. Stanford

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:01 pm
by nowhereguy
Oh, yeah, forgot to add that. I you definitely want to do LQG, you should apply to Perimeter Institute. They also have a very strong string theory group, so, you would get a good idea of what's going on in both approaches. The thing is that if you apply directly to PI, they will most likely accept you to work within a specific group, so, it might be harder to change fields. But you could also apply to the University of Waterloo and get a supervisor at PI. For stringy research, I would suggest going to either UCSB or Stanford over PI, simply because they have larger groups.

Re: UCSB vs. Stanford

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:06 pm
by woooster
Unless you really know about string theory or have experience in quantum gravity, you should just have open mind and take some classes first. You need to get out of the country for quantum gravity.

As far as choosing between both. Stanford has accepted a lot of high energy theory last year (partly due to people don't stick with what they apply under), so they don't have enough space and have way too many HET candidates. And they are becoming a bit stick on people switching field. On the other hand, UCSB have like 8 advisor to choose, and some gravity oriented people.

Unless you are 100% sure about your ability in theory, and have taken grad classes, you may have a tough time to fight for an advisor at stanford.