1. Harvard University

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1. Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Harvard University is the standard by which all other research universities are measured. No school in recent history has challenged its position as the world’s premier academic institution. It is the oldest school in the world’s richest nation, and has capitalized on the benefits this grants. Under financial guru Jack Meyer’s management, the school’s endowment grew from $4.6 billion to $25.8 in 15 years. Today, the school possesses over $35.7 billion and its fortune is still growing. But there is more to Harvard than massive wealth. The school has produced 49 Nobel laureates, 32 heads of state, and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners. It boasts the largest academic library in the world, leading medical, law, and business schools, and an alumni network integrated across the globe. Not only is Harvard dominant across a broad spectrum of fields, it is also ideally situated to work alongside a variety of other schools. The most obvious example is MIT, situated at the opposite end of Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge; however, the greater Boston area is also home to Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Brandeis University — some 60 institutions of higher learning, all in all. This equips both students and faculty with endless opportunities for collaborative research.
2. University of Cambridge
Cambridge, England, U.K.
As the seventh-oldest university in the world, Cambridge is an ancient school steeped in tradition dating back to 1209. It is but small exaggeration to say the history of Western science is built on a cornerstone called Cambridge. The long list of great scientists, mathematicians, and logicians who either studied or taught there (or both) includes Isaac Newton, Augustus De Morgan, Charles Darwin, Charles Babbage, James Clerk Maxwell, J.J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford, Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, G.H. Hardy, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Alan Turing, Francis Crick, James D. Watson, Rosalind Franklin, and Stephen Hawking, among many others. Whether in fundamental physics, mathematical logic, number theory, astrophysics, the theory of computation, or structural chemistry and biology, Cambridge has been at the forefront of humanity’s quest for truth longer than most nations have existed. Nevertheless, its great achievements have not been restricted to the sciences. Numerous towering intellects in the humanities such as Erasmus of Rotterdam, William Tyndale, Francis Bacon, John Milton, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Maynard Keynes, C.S. Lewis, Sylvia Plath, and Ted Hughes all studied or taught here. But despite the many memories that tread past its imposing Gothic architecture, Cambridge does not live in the past. Cambridge remains one of the world’s elite research institutions, with only Oxford to rival it in the U.K. and only a handful of American schools able to do so from overseas. Its over 18,000 students represent more than 135 countries and its faculty have earned over 80 Nobel Prizes.

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