Here at Foresight we get continual requests from students for advice on which schools to attend to pursue nanotechnology. Small Times has generously posted their second annual survey of U.S. universities’ abilities in nano and micro work. (Or, download the whole May/June issue in pdf, 5.5 MB — this is easier to read.)
It’s a long survey, but you can cut to the chase by turning to page 24 (numbered as page 26 in the pdf file) and see “Top 10 universities by category”. The Research list looks a bit odd; these are all solid schools, but it doesn’t look like a list of the best. Instead, see the two categories “Nano Research” and “Nano Commercialization”. The former, in order: MIT, Cornell, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, Stanford, Rice, Harvard, UCSB, Caltech, Illinois. This list looks pretty good to me (full disclosure: I went to MIT, so there may be some bias on my part).
Important note for students: the schools are being ranked by the quality of their nanotech research, not their nanotech education. These do not necessarily correlate: the best researchers often loathe teaching, especially undergrads. I’m not sure that the Education rankings shown on the same page are correct either — in fact, I doubt it. You’ll need to dig harder to find out which schools do the best job at teaching nanotech. However, if you go to the schools listed as being good for research, some of the other students will be able to teach you; that’s how it worked for me. Good luck! —Christine