UCLA vs Northwestern?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:48 am

UCLA vs Northwestern?

Post by Anon123 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:51 am

I am between these 2 but cannot decide. My interest is Algebraic Geometry and Topology (mainly the first).
So what are the prons/cons of each? I am talking about the living conditions as well, not only the grad programs...
Any help greatly appreciated!!

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Re: UCLA vs Northwestern?

Post by bemonocled » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:19 am

Northwestern has slightly more people working in algebraic geometry and topology than UCLA, though I have no idea which one is 'better' is any sense. When I visited UCLA I talked to a couple of the people that worked in/around algebraic geometry, and it seemed like they dealt with some of the more esoteric subjects such as motives, A^1 homotopy theory, and tensor triangulated categories (in which algebraic geometry faithfully 'embeds' in some sense). The only topologist I talked to was Kefeng Liu, and the topology he focuses on is mostly stuff relevant to mathematical physics. I didn't ask him about the other topologists because applications to mathematical physics is the primary thing I am interested in.

The weather around the Chicago area is abominable, though. I grew up in the general vicinity and weather was definitely a strong reason for me to leave when I went to college. In comparison, the weather in LA can't be beat. This is reflected in the cost of living but the grad students there said that the stipend is still plenty to live on, and since UCLA is in such a rich area they can charge $60-$100 an hour for tutoring if you need extra money.

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Re: UCLA vs Northwestern?

Post by heregoesnothing » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:17 pm

I go to a school (undergrad) near Northwestern (a slightly more depressing place), and I am mostly interested in algebraic topology. I reckon that Chicago is an excellent place to live if you are into doing other things besides math (like eating, bars etc) and I believe that Northwestern students get ready access to Chicago via a convenient shuttle bus.

Mathematically (or algebraic topologically), I've heard that Northwestern has an excellent (top tier) reputation on the calculational (as opposed to conceptual/category-theoretic) aspects of algebraic topology. They definitely have a regular algebraic topology (as opposed to subsuming it under geometry/topology like many schools do) seminar/proseminar that goes on. In fact they just hosted the Midwest Topology Seminar which is where you would want to attend if you want to do something with algebraic topology. Hope this helps!

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