Penn State Astronomy Places High in National Rankings

Penn State Astronomy and Astrophysics is one of the most productive astronomy departments in the United States, according to a multi-year study released today by the National Research Council.

The Data Based Assessment of Graduate Programs, produced by the NRC for a consortium of universities, used a broad range of measurements to rank the performance of thousands of graduate programs across hundreds of U.S. universities -- its first such rankings in 15 years.  The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State jumped into the top 10 of astronomy departments, ranking No. 1 in the nation in the category of number of publications per faculty member per year -- a crucial measure of scientific productivity. Penn State ranks in the top eight programs in three significant categories: publication rate, citations per publication, and fraction of faculty supported by grants. In an average of these three key aspects, Penn State astronomy has a rank of third, trailing only the California Institute of Technology and Princeton University.

Department Head Larry Ramsey stated that the NRC study accurately reflects the current stature of Penn State astronomy, saying "It is widely known that a program's reputation is a lagging indicator. The significant discrepancy between the objective and the reputation rankings is a striking indication of the rapid increase of the scientific impact of Penn State astronomy over the past decade."

Last Updated November 18, 2010