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Best Physics Colleges in Florida?

DakotaWollDakotaWoll Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
edited June 2010 in Parents Forum
My son wants to go to the best Physics school possible in Florida, to get his Bachelors.
He seems set on UF, but I want to make sure its the best school for what he wants to do (in Florida, anyways) which specifically, is Theoretical or Quantum Physics.

Thanks in advance.
Post edited by DakotaWoll on

Replies to: Best Physics Colleges in Florida?

  • QwertyKeyQwertyKey Registered User Posts: 4,590 Senior Member
    I know this is probably pretty useless information, but I figure I'll post it anyway.

    ARWU SUBJECT 2009 Physics (Physics ranking)

    According to that ranking, FSU is better than UF for Physics. Whether or not that really means anything I don't know, but if he wasn't considering FSU, maybe he ought to look at it.
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Registered User Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    FSU for physics.

    FSU has the NHMFL.

    NSF funding for physics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10311/pdf/tab57.pdf

    A recent doctoral graduate of The Florida State University has earned top honors in his discipline as the author of the nation’s best doctoral dissertation in nuclear physics.

    Calem R. Hoffman, who received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Florida State in April 2009, has been named the winner of the 2010 Dissertation in Nuclear Physics Award, presented by the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society (APS). The award was formally presented to him Feb. 17 at an APS meeting in Washington, D.C.

    “To have been nominated for the Dissertation in Nuclear Physics Award was already a great honor, and then to win it was truly amazing,” said Hoffman, who also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at Florida State in 2003 and 2006, respectively. “I am happy that this award will bring even more recognition to an already world-class physics department at FSU, and I was excited to represent my alma mater at the American Physical Society meeting.

    “I simply had fun every day doing nuclear physics research at Florida State, and this honor was made possible by the opportunities Professor (Samuel L.) Tabor, the physics department and The Florida State University as a whole provided,” Hoffman said.

    Hoffman now is a postdoctoral research fellow at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, one of the leading nuclear physics laboratories in the United States. His long-term goal, he said, is “to continue on with fundamental nuclear structure research at the highest level. I hope to continue the advancement of knowledge as it pertains to the structure of nuclei and the fundamental nuclear force.

    “Being given the chance to view and participate in top-level nuclear research, especially as an undergraduate, paved the way to my current research position,” Hoffman said. “The knowledge and support I received from the physics department and the entire FSU faculty was truly wonderful.”

    At Florida State, Hoffman conducted research under the direction of Tabor, with whom he worked as both an undergraduate and graduate student.

    “Calem was the top student in my introductory physics class at FSU, and he just kept getting better!” said Tabor, the Norman P. Heydenberg Professor of Physics. “In his graduate studies, he became an absolute master of every aspect of nuclear physics research, from designing, constructing and performing experiments to conducting an extremely careful analysis of the results to a deep search for the meaning of his work in a wider context.

    “His research answered longstanding questions about the structure of atomic nuclei under extreme conditions,” Tabor said. “Calem published the research on which his dissertation was based in the leading nuclear physics journals in the world, and these have helped establish him as one of the world’s leading young nuclear scientists.”
    See: Former Student Has Nation's Top Dissertation in Nuclear Physics
  • DakotaWollDakotaWoll Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Really? Thats very suprising.
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Registered User Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    Not surprising if you know FSU. FSU has long had an excellent physics department. That's why they won the Mag Lab from MIT.

    See, for example: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/18/us/florida-state-beats-mit-for-science-center.html

    My D1 - as an undergrad biochem major - had access to and conducted her research in the Mag Lab. It was great!

    I suggest your son visit FSU and see for himself.
  • DakotaWollDakotaWoll Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    But do they have good physics programs in the right fields?
    Such a Theoretical or Quantum physics?
  • Feb158Feb158 Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    FSU has the best physics program in the entire southeast, not just Fl. and that includes quantum and theoretical. Very hard to get into, only the best of the best are in the program. UF is ok, might want to consider Florida Institute of Technology.
  • DakotaWollDakotaWoll Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    At this point I'm just at a crossroads of what to believe. Everywhere I look (respectable sources, mind you) it seems like UF beats FSU Physics, than on some sites, such as this one, signs point to FSU. I'm just at a loss of what to trust more.
  • hadsedhadsed Registered User Posts: 738 Member
    If you go to a school that actually does some substantial physics work then you'll get a good undergraduate education. When you're going to graduate school, rankings don't mean anything because your specialty and who's good (or best) at that specialty is what matters. And funding.

    So there's not much point in worrying so much over UF vs. FSU unless its grad school.
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,338 Senior Member
    DakotaWall, undergrad physics programs all include coursework in quantum mechanics and both theoretical and experimental physics. Students really don't specialize in any particular subfield of physics until grad school.
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Registered User Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    You really need to dig deeper because while UF has an effective marketing campaign, FSU really does have an excellent physics program.

    If UF physics were so much superior why on earth would the Mag Lab be located at FSU while UF is only a bit player in one of the most significant national labs in the U.S.? How could an inferior program build a student, from undergrad to doctoral level who could write the best nuclear physics dissertation in the U.S.?

    The NSF numbers alone are telling: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10311/pdf/tab57.pdf
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Registered User Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    Here is some additional information about the FSU program - the involvement with CERN.
    A small office within the university’s physics department is one of 35 sites worldwide - and one of just eight in the United States - that has been set up with video and Internet feeds that connect directly with the LHC. Via these feeds, Florida State researchers and their students will be able to monitor experiments at the collider around the clock - and even make changes based on what they observe.
    See: http://www.physics.fsu.edu/news/2010/LHC/default.asp
  • parent2nolesparent2noles Registered User Posts: 7,957 Senior Member
    This may also be of interest: FSU High Energy Physics
This discussion has been closed.