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Genius vs. Prestige?

FermatABCFermatABC - Posts: 79 Junior Member
edited November 2007 in Harvard University
So I google the smartest people in the world. The smartest people on this planet are no doubt the ones with the most creativity, logic, pattern recognition--those who would score the highest on IQ tests. Five names appear.

1. Andrew Wiles, solved Fermat's last theorem (unsolved for 300 years)
2. Edward Witten, mathematical physicist
3. Albert Einstein, physicist
4. Terence Tao, mathematical field medalist
5. John Nash, Nobel prize winning economist

My surprising "wikipedia" conclusion--all came from Princeton. Princeton mathematicians, physicists, and economists have undoubtedly helped history moved forward and can be rightly acknowledged as the world's greatest minds ever set foot on this planet. In fact, Princeton is the institution with the most Field Medalists--the Nobel Prize for mathematics.

But I'm just a high school senior now, and I want the best education possible. And it gets me thinking. Harvard has the prestige, but it also has 22,000 students enrolled. That's a lot of people getting a Harvard degree. Princeton, on the contrary, is still able to win so many fields medals, still able to house so many MacArthur fellows with a mere 6,500 (undergrad+grad) students. During WWII, Princeton mathematicians broke the Japanese Codes, helped save U.S. from destruction. To me, a Princeton degree just seems so much more rare and special.

And then you have the world's greatest geniuses who studied in Princeton. And then it's the #1 university, but I'll neglect USNEWs since it's still very subjective. When it comes down to taking the best of the best from Princeton against the best of the best from Harvard, Princeton, with its ultimate geniuses, will prevail. Even though it only has less than 1/3 of the students at Harvard.

My conclusion: Princeton is pretty damn powerful and sweet. I think if it comes down to it, I'll have to go with Princeton. A once in a life time opportunity to mingle with the greatest minds this world has ever witnessed.

After all, it wouldn't be hard getting one out of those 22,000 seats at Harvard for grad school.
Post edited by FermatABC on
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Replies to: Genius vs. Prestige?

  • epistrophyepistrophy Registered User Posts: 1,547 Senior Member
    You must have gotten lost.

    If you want to post something about how splendiforously stupendous Princeton is, well, that's done on the Princeton board.

    And that's spelled P-R-I-N-C-E-T-O-N . . . .
  • coureurcoureur Registered User Posts: 11,386 Senior Member
    Fermat - you clearly already have your mind made up, so why are you posting here? Your Princeton boosterism would fit better on the Princeton board. Posting it here on the Harvard board just makes it look like you are desperately trying to convince yourself of Princeton's superiority but that you have a troubling suspicion that it isn't true.
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Registered User Posts: 12,374 Senior Member
    Ah, the magic of small-number statistics using cherry-picked data sets.
  • AileyAiley Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    FermatABC, your logic is quite faulty, and your data are not comparable - to choose just one example, Harvard has a lot more grad schools. And there's a big difference between studying at a university and being on the faculty, etc etc etc. I would worry about improving your own deductive reasoning, rather than trying to choose between 2 schools that may not have admitted you yet :)
  • ChelmarChelmar Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    Ah, the beauty of subjectivity. :) FermatABC, show us your admission letters in April, and maybe we'll listen to you then.
  • lotf629lotf629 Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    epistrophy, *I love your post*.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    those who would score the highest on IQ tests

    I know Mollie knows that you are doing some world-class conclusion-jumping here, but I'll point that out for anyone else who is reading the thread. As Stephen Hawking says, "People who boast about their I.Q. are losers."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/12QUESTIONS.html
  • mtpapermtpaper Registered User Posts: 782 Member
    FermatABC - I think your post - whether here at the Harvard forum, at the Princeton forum, or anywhere - will be more appreciated once you are sitting with acceptance letters from Harvard and Princeton, and are forced to make the decision.

    Until then, the question is moot and fantasy.
  • kenf1234kenf1234 Registered User Posts: 1,865 Senior Member
    FermatABC wants to go to Princeton, why should he apply to Harvard? I don't understand this talk about "two acceptances".
  • auxsoleilauxsoleil Registered User Posts: 426 Member
    "FermatABC, show us your admission letters in April, and maybe we'll listen to you then."

    CLASSIC!
  • tongchen1226tongchen1226 Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    i will be surprised if you get into princeton (i dont believe im as good at euphemisms as Chemar et al).
    "geniuses" at "genius" institutions only show their pride over other colleges in a peaceful, creative, and funny manner. when have you ever heard of a MIT student log onto a Caltech forum and post his opinions of how much better MIT is? what about in the harvard-yale rivalry? MIT-harvard rivalry (unless you want to count the t-shirts with "Harvard University... because not everyone can get into MIT" i saw in COOP)?
    as i also notice, you registered CC on october, 2007 and have only posted 1 thread and 1 post. is posting an argumentative piece of "theory" the only reason you are here?
  • cosarcosar Registered User Posts: 696 Member
    I seem to be in the mood for digging up old threads this week (probably because I've been away for a while and I'm not familiar with any new threads), but this one by coureur was always my favorite Harvard v. Princeton thread:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=188584
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    "The smartest people on this planet are no doubt the ones with the most creativity, logic, pattern recognition--those who would score the highest on IQ tests."

    ? I have administered IQ tests and aren't familiar with any in which creativity is measured.
  • lotf629lotf629 Registered User Posts: 703 Member
    Wooooow, cosar, thank you so much for bringing that to all of our attention. You made me laugh out loud.
  • svalbardlutefisksvalbardlutefisk Registered User Posts: 691 Member
    You do realize that aside from the sheer randomness of your list (though heavily science biased), not a single one of the 5 people you list received an undergrad degree from Princeton. 2 of them did not receive any degree from Princeton, and one of them never was affiliated with the University (Albert Einstein was at the Institute for Advanced Study, which has no official affiliation with Princeton).
    So even if you assumed that the affiliations of 5 random brilliant people (there's absolutely no reason to call them "the smartest people in the world" - one of them is dead, why does he count? All of them are randomly selected) had any relevance to what university is best, note that none of them were Princeton undergrads, so it provides absolutely no evidence that being an undergrad at Princeton has any special correlation with genius.
    Incidentally, the list of where the 5 actually did their undergrad degree is Oxford, Brandeis, ETH Zurich, Flinders University, and Carnegie Mellon.
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