Research profiles of the top 32 physics departments
and those ranking between 100 and 133 in the latest
National Research Council study. Data on faculty numbers
are from the American Institute of Physics Graduate Programs in Physics 1989/90.
In the figure we have omitted for clarity the intermediate ranked physics departments which, as might be expected, form a cloud overlapping the top departments and the low ranked departments. We have also omitted the very low ranked departments (from 134 to 147) which tend to occupy the lower left hand corner of the figure. The figure plots only the primary physics department or physics and astronomy department in each university omitting the highly regarded optics institute at Rochester and many (unranked) auxiliary departments. Astronomy faculty within the primary physics departments do not enter into the figure. The numbers are obtained by reading the self-descriptions of each faculty member in the AIP directory of physics faculties and assigning him/her to one of the three broad sub-divisions of physics. Cases of overlapping interests are decided by gauging the priorities of the faculty member in question. Data for the highly ranked Rockefeller University department of physics which does not appear in the 1989/90 AIP directory is obtained from the following year's directory.
It is possible to compare the research profiles of the US physics departments in 1989/90 with the corresponding profiles in 1998/99.
What does it all mean? Some analysis.
It is also possible to quantitatively understand the National Research Council rankings.
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