Yale or Caltech

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Singularity
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:00 pm

Yale or Caltech

Postby Singularity » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:18 pm

Should I choose Yale or Caltech? I have people that I want to work with at both places. I do like that professors at Caltech are younger in general (more like Yale is old...) I just wanna hear what others think, so you could share what you think without regard to what areas of math I want to do.

lambert
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:41 am

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby lambert » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:35 pm

If by old you also mean 'more renowned' this might work in your favor for future positions in academia.

But, all else being equal, I'd rather live in Pasadena, California than New Haven. Can't beat California weather.

FreddieBiddleBooty
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Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby FreddieBiddleBooty » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:50 pm

Another factor that could help you make a decision is the city/state it's in and the cost of living. Are you an outdoors person? Do you like craft beer? Do you like good food? Do you like the cold? the heat?

Singularity
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Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby Singularity » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:19 pm

lambert wrote:If by old you also mean 'more renowned' this might work in your favor for future positions in academia.

But, all else being equal, I'd rather live in Pasadena, California than New Haven. Can't beat California weather.

Is it really true that Yale professors are more renowned than Caltech's?

Singularity
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby Singularity » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:20 pm

FreddieBiddleBooty wrote:Another factor that could help you make a decision is the city/state it's in and the cost of living. Are you an outdoors person? Do you like craft beer? Do you like good food? Do you like the cold? the heat?

Definitely! I believe I would love Pasadena, but academics take priority.

EGA
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:59 am

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby EGA » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:23 pm

They're both excellent schools, but they both have tiny math departments - so academic fit is extremely important. On top of being really small, they seem to have distinct strengths. From what I know, Yale is particularly strong in representation theory, while Caltech is particularly strong in mathematical physics (e.g. it's a good place to think about mirror symmetry) and have a seemingly growing group in algebraic geometry. Despite knowing professors you'd like to work with, I wouldn't choose one over the other on the basis of a single professor. Plans change, and in any case, it's nice to have several professors working in your desired area to chat with.

Professors at both schools are world renowned, and ceteris paribus, I would opt towards working with a younger professor. Professors at either school will have lots of top connections when it comes time to think about post-Phd employment.

okmokm
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:49 pm

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby okmokm » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:29 am

Also, as to Yale, you should check with professors that they plan on taking students (and aren't planning on moving to other institutions) because some are pretty close to retirement and others I think are too busy to take more. And you can pm me if you have more questions about Yale.

Singularity
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby Singularity » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:26 pm

EGA wrote:They're both excellent schools, but they both have tiny math departments - so academic fit is extremely important. On top of being really small, they seem to have distinct strengths. From what I know, Yale is particularly strong in representation theory, while Caltech is particularly strong in mathematical physics (e.g. it's a good place to think about mirror symmetry) and have a seemingly growing group in algebraic geometry. Despite knowing professors you'd like to work with, I wouldn't choose one over the other on the basis of a single professor. Plans change, and in any case, it's nice to have several professors working in your desired area to chat with.

Professors at both schools are world renowned, and ceteris paribus, I would opt towards working with a younger professor. Professors at either school will have lots of top connections when it comes time to think about post-Phd employment.



So you are suggesting Caltech? (as the profs seem younger).

EGA
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:59 am

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby EGA » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:15 pm

Singularity wrote:
So you are suggesting Caltech? (as the profs seem younger).


Provided you find the research environments of both schools equally attractive and have comparable financial support, yes, I would probably choose Caltech. Hopefully you can visit both schools though, as this would likely be enlightening.

lambert
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:41 am

Re: Yale or Caltech

Postby lambert » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:46 pm

Singularity wrote:
lambert wrote:If by old you also mean 'more renowned' this might work in your favor for future positions in academia.

But, all else being equal, I'd rather live in Pasadena, California than New Haven. Can't beat California weather.

Is it really true that Yale professors are more renowned than Caltech's?


Didn't mean to imply that, I just don't see why age is an important factor. (unless a professor is going senile and can't advise well anymore...)

I guess what's more important is a professor's reputation in their field and how active they are in it. Anyway both Yale and Caltech are good unis but, like another poster said, their math departments are very small (like 6-8 people incoming class?) and you wanna make sure there are people working in your areas of interest. But since you've figured that part out and research interests change over time, I don't think that's much of an issue. Both unis should have people with good connections for post-phd positions in academia.

Edit: yeah as EGA said, visiting will give you information straight from the horse's mouth. Surely that's much better than strangers' opinions in a forum




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