If you were standing on either pole of the earth, and you were holding a compass, which way would the compass point?
At Urbana, you don’t get mountains (elev. 730 ± 0.5 ft) or ocean views (876 mi east). What you do get is a vibrant academic community located in a small cosmopolitan city in America’s heartland. In addition to doing world-class physics in a department recognized internationally for its excellence, you will have a chance to experience a rich and varied intellectual, cultural, and recreational environment in a safe community that maintains Midwestern traditions of friendliness and hospitality.
The Champaign-Urbana community offers many amenities. Both cities have won national awards for their outstanding parks and recreation programs—every neighborhood has a city park within a few blocks’ walking distance, and numerous bike trails are available. The park districts offer very inexpensive tennis and swimming lessons, children’s after-school programs and summer camps, and adult education classes on everything from ballet to Chinese cooking. Public transportation is cheap and convenient, and the MTD has twice won the coveted America’s Best Little Transit System Award. A recent service is its innovative "Bikes on Buses" program that provides handy bike racks on the front of every bus for bike-and-ride passengers. Because of the presence of the University’s Division of Rehabilitation Education Services (established in the late 1940s), the C-U community has long led the nation in handicap accessibility. For example, all buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts, and all city sidewalks in commercial areas (and nearly all residential areas) have ramps and curb cuts. The University offers an excellent intramural sports program (Physics has a long tradition of ferocious soccer teams) and outstanding recreational facilities at the Ice Arena, CRCE, the Atkins Tennis Center, and two 18-hole golf courses.
Numerous museums and cultural attractions grace the community, including the new Spurlock Museum, which provides a home for 45,000 ethnographic and cultural artifacts in the University’s collections. Champaign County’s Early American Museum tells the story of earlier residents of the Grand Prairie, and its surrounding grounds and botanical gardens showcase the natural history of the prairie ecosystem. More than 1000 student organizations provide cultural events, support groups, and social activities and contribute to the diversity of our community. For sports enthusiasts, Illinois has nationally ranked teams in many sports.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is home to the Krannert Art Museum. Strengths of the museum's permanent collection include European and American painting, European and American decorative arts, and pre-Columbian art. The museum also features a small but exquisite collection of Asian art and a growing collection of African art.
The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, located one block from Loomis Laboratory, is a nationally heralded cultural center—a facility frequently compared to New York's Lincoln Center. It hosts more than 350 performances each year in its four individual theatres and outdoor amphitheater. Performances feature professional artists from around the globe as well as University productions and range from the Russian National Ballet to kabuki Medea. Among those who have appeared at Krannert are Luciano Pavarotti, Itshak Perlman, Duke Ellington, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In addition, resident producers in dance, opera, and repertory theatre utilize the facility. Free lunch-hour performances, audience discussion sessions with artists, and involvement of visiting artists in the schools all epitomize Krannert's commitment to the community.
Urbana is an easy drive from St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis. For the excitement of a major city without the crowding, crime, or cost-of-living, consider Urbana. We don't have mountains or oceans, but we have great physics, and the whole world is waiting just around the corner.
U.S. News & World Report graduate program rankings:
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