Sussex Physics – Among The World’s Best Again!

After a hectic week, filled with loads of other Head of School type things besides UCAS Clearing, I’ve decided to take a rare Saturday off. I did however see some good news about the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sussex, so I thought I would share it here.

The latest (2015) Academic Rankings of World Universities (often called the “Shanghai Rankings”) have just come out so, as I suspect many of my colleagues also did, I drilled down to look at the rankings of Physics departments.

Not surprisingly the top six (Berkeley, Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Caltech, & Stanford) are all based in the USA, as are many others in the Top 100.

The top British university is, also not surprisingly, Cambridge in 9th place. That’s the only UK university in the top ten for Physics. The other leading UK physics departments are: Manchester (13th), Imperial (15th), Edinburgh (20th), Durham (27th), Oxford (35th). I don’t think there will be any surprise that these all made it into the top 50 departments worldwide.

Just outside the top 50  in the world is the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex. For a relatively small department in a relatively small university it is a truly remarkable result to be in the Top 100. These rankings place the Department  in joint 8th place in the UK, just behind UCL,  level with Bristol, and ahead of Birmingham, Lancaster, Leicester, Queen Mary, Nottingham, St Andrews, and Warwick all of whom also made the top 200 in Physics.

Although I have deep reservations about the usefulness of league tables, I’m not at all averse to using them as an excuse for a celebration and to help raise the profile of Physics and Astronomy at Sussex generally.  I’d therefore like to take the opportunity to offer hearty congratulations to the wonderful staff of the Department of Physics & Astronomy on their achievement. 

With the recent investments we’ve had and further plans for growth I hope over the next few years we can move even further up the rankings. Unless of course the methodology changes or we’re subect to a “random” (i.e. “downward”) fluctuation…

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