The past lightcone, part 2

I would describe my undergraduate department as follows: it is long on astrophysics and, to a lesser extent, condensed matter and plasma, and, as far as particle physics is concerned, it is more of an experimental school. So my dear particle cosmology is contained in a rather small group of particle physics theorists. As an undergraduate program, one has three programs to choose from and the vast majority of the students are enrolled in one of the two honors programs, physics honors (more popular among experimentalists) and physics-mathematics joint honors (more popular among theorists) but the third choice, which is a physics and computer science joint-honors degree, is much less common than the other two. Virtually no one minored in physics unless one was placed on probation, hence the minor being used as a second chance to earn a physics degree. And, as far as quality is concerned, it’s one of the best undergraduate physics programs I’ve seen in my lifetime; it’s a very demanding program, as one would expect from a honors physics curriculum.

But, due to its particular context, my undergrad is, simply put, the most consanguine physics department in the world at that level of physical reputation. Here consanguinity means that students tend to stay at that school from a degree to another, which, from my viewpoint, is not the best move, unless one is industry-bound.


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