The 2013-2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings' Physical Sciences table judges world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The ranking of the world's top 100 universities for physical sciences employs 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.

Top 100 universities for Physical Sciences 2013-14

Rank Institution Location Overall score
1 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) United States
92.0
2 Princeton University United States
91.0
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
91.0
4 Harvard University United States
90.2
5 University of California, Berkeley United States
89.9
5 Stanford University United States
89.9
7 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
88.8
8 University of Oxford United Kingdom
87.3
9 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States
85.1
10 University of Chicago United States
84.9
11 Yale University United States
83.6
12 ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich Switzerland
83.2
13 Imperial College London United Kingdom
82.5
14 Columbia University United States
81.0
15 Cornell University United States
80.7
16 The University of Tokyo Japan
73.5
17 University of Toronto Canada
71.7
18 University of Washington United States
71.5
19 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Germany
71.3
20 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
71.1
21 University of Texas at Austin United States
71.0
22 University of Michigan United States
70.0
23 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
69.4
24 University of Melbourne Australia
68.9
25 Université Pierre et Marie Curie France
67.6
26 University of British Columbia Canada
67.0
27 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
66.6
27 Northwestern University United States
66.6
29 Australian National University Australia
65.8
29 École Normale Supérieure France
65.8
31 Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Germany
65.5
32 Peking University China
65.3
33 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign United States
65.0
34 Rice University United States
64.7
35 Brown University United States
64.6
36 Kyoto University Japan
64.3
37 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
61.6
38 École Polytechnique France
61.5
38 Pennsylvania State University United States
61.5
40 Carnegie Mellon University United States
61.4
41 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore
61.2
42 Technische Universität München Germany
61.0
43 Universität Heidelberg Germany
60.5
44 University of Colorado Boulder United States
59.9
45 University of California, San Diego United States
59.6
45 Boston University United States
59.6
47 Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) United States
59.4
48 Stockholm University Sweden
58.1
49 University of Minnesota United States
58.0
50 University of Manchester United Kingdom
57.9
51 University College London (UCL) United Kingdom
57.6
52 University of California, Santa Cruz United States
57.4
52 University of Bristol United Kingdom
57.4
54 Ohio State University United States
56.5
55 Universität Bonn Germany
56.4
56 Université Paris-Sud France
56.3
57 Lund University Sweden
55.7
58 University of Geneva Switzerland
55.6
58 Duke University United States
55.6
58 McGill University Canada
55.6
61 RWTH Aachen University Germany
55.3
62 University of Zürich Switzerland
55.1
63 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Russian Federation
55.0
63 University of Helsinki Finland
55.0
63 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
55.0
66 Durham University United Kingdom
54.8
66 Universität Basel Switzerland
54.8
68 Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7 France
54.3
69 University of Maryland, College Park United States
54.0
70 Tsinghua University China
53.7
71 Leiden University Netherlands
53.5
72 New York University (NYU) United States
53.0
73 Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
52.8
74 Moscow State Engineering Physics Institute Russian Federation
52.5
75 Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble France
51.6
76 Colorado School of Mines United States
51.5
76 University of California, Irvine United States
51.5
76 University of Sussex United Kingdom
51.5
79 University of Groningen Netherlands
51.4
80 University of Arizona United States
51.3
81 Stony Brook University United States
50.9
82 Purdue University United States
50.7
83 Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
50.6
83 Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan
50.6
85 University of California, Riverside United States
50.5
86 The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
50.4
87 University of Southampton United Kingdom
50.1
87 University of Strasbourg France
50.1
87 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Republic of Korea
50.1
90 University of Victoria Canada
49.8
91 University of California, Davis United States
49.7
91 Carleton University Canada
49.7
91 University of Notre Dame United States
49.7
91 Texas A&M University United States
49.7
95 Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
49.5
95 University of Queensland Australia Australia
49.5
95 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey United States
49.5
98 University of Massachusetts United States
49.1
98 University of Pennsylvania United States
49.1
100 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Germany
49.0

Scholars in the Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy (PMA) at the California Institute of Technology have never been afraid to tackle the big existential questions: How did the universe begin? What is it made of? How do galaxies, stars and planets form?

Caltech has come further than most in providing the answers: since Times Higher Education’s world number one institution for the physical sciences was founded in 1891, it has developed world-leading telescopes, explained the solar system’s structure, identified the chemical elements inside stars and been involved in striving towards a “theory of everything”.

Caltech professors and alumni have won 32 Nobel prizes, 14 to the PMA alone (indeed, Linus Pauling is the only person to be awarded two solo Nobels). In 2004, H. David Politzer shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for work he began as a graduate student on how the elementary particles known as quarks bind together to form the protons and neutrons of atomic nuclei.

“PMA researchers explore the universe from today back to the Big Bang, and from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of atoms and electrons…The division pursues a vision of this magnitude by attracting outstanding people, creating conditions that facilitate discovery, and encouraging high-risk, high-reward work focused on fundamental challenges,” the institution says.

Teamwork and collaboration is key: PMA scientists work closely with Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech and the US’ leading centre for the robotic exploration of the solar system. To infinity and beyond!