Posted on | October 22, 2010 | Comments Off
The latest National Research Council ranking of graduate programs has placed Mānoa’s physics department among the top 12 in the United States, alongside stellar programs such as those at Berkeley, Harvard, MIT and Princeton, all several times larger than UH Mānoa’s.
The Mānoa physics program achieved very high marks—near the top of all U.S. institutions—for three of the most heavily-weighted standards: the fraction of faculty with research grants, faculty productivity as measured in terms of scientific publications and citations per publication, a measure of the wider scientific impact of a published result.
This result is a huge gain from the 81st place the department occupied in the last comprehensive NRC graduate program survey completed in 1995. The 2010 NRC survey, based on data initially gathered around 2005, identifies program characteristics that can be quantifiably measured such as number of publications and citations. An overall ranking is determined by the relative weight assigned to each program characteristic.
The emphasis put by this year’s NRC rankings on the per-faculty statistics allowed Hawaiʻi’s relatively small physics department—16 professors and 28 graduate students—to shine through brightly in its areas of expertise, among them high energy particle physics, neutrino and cosmic ray physics, nanophysics and free-electron lasers. While the Mānoa physics department may not have the wide range of research programs of larger institutions, the department has been recognized for excellence in a smaller set of research areas for some time. For example, the department was ranked 39th in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities last year.