NRC Physics rankings
Executive summary: Penn State Astronomy & Astrophysics ranks # 3   (S), and ranks # 5 (combined S+R), nationally.
The Penn State Physics program ranks # 7   (S), and ranks # 9 (combined S+R), nationally.
Using the two most general methods of assesment, the S (statistics of achievements) and R (reputation, perceived) methods,
the PSU Astronomy & Astrophysics rank is:
S method score: 2-7, average score 4.5, national rank: # 3 ;
R method score: 6-23, average score 14.5, national rank: # 9 ;
combined S & R Astronomy & Astrophysics average score 9.5, national rank: # 5
In more detail, the Penn State Astronomy & Astrophysics ranking according to NRC science productivity criteria is:
Average # publications(2000-2006) per faculty (2006): 7.7, rank # 1 !
Average Cites/ Publication: 5.48: rank # 6
% faculty with grants (2006): rank #8 .
Our average rank for the above 3 science indicators (S) shows we are ranked # 3, after Princeton and Caltech, with Berkeley #4.
A plot of the average S score (y-axis) against the average R score (x-axis) for Astronomy & Astrophysics programs, as determined by PHDS.ORG. is
The diagonal line is S=R (this would be the case if the two rating systems produced identical results). Programs above the line are ones
achieving above what is expected from their reputation. Penn State has a large excess measured productivity, relative to its historical reputation. The highest combined S+R ranked programs lie the furthest to the upper right, placing Penn State at rank #5.
Measuring in the upwards direction (S, scientific productivity), Penn State ranks # 3in scientific productivity overall, in absolute terms.
This # 3 ranking is also pointed out in the prestigious international magazine Nature, 467, 510 (2010, September 30 issue), see plot below.
See also the 2008 Thomson-ISI based astro department ranking, arXiv:0811.0311, where we rank as #8 (or #4).
And this is the 2010 NRC ranking of other Penn State departments (see also the PSU press release 1) and press release 2).
In particular, the NRC 2010 physics departments S & R ranking is
S method score: 4-21, average score: 12.5, national rank: # 7;
R method score: 10-29, average score: 19.5, national rank: # 14;
combined S & R Physics average score: 16, national rank : # 9 .
The physics ranking plot is below (Psu=Penn State):
The ranking of various physics departments based on the average of S and R scores is below: