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France has a very strong reputation historicaly in mathematics, and many famous mathematicians studied in their top universities. But is it still the case? I am particularely interested in the current state of their top graduate programs. How do they compare to top programs in the US/UK? In your opinion, is France an atractive and competitive option for graduate math school? I have read very mixed opinions about this and rankings are very inconsistent with French universities. For example in Shangai ranking in mathematics, Marie Curie is in top 3, while in other ones using a different methodology it is not in the top 40.

  • Not exactly the same, but I did my PhD there in computer science, and every professor I talked to had an impressive grasp of the math/theory part of it. Even people that worked in non-math parts of CS. It's rather impressive... – Fábio Dias May 28 '18 at 3:44
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    I'm probably biased, but yes. France is very strong in mathematics. One thing very specific to France that directly affects the rankings is that every French mathematician has a dual affiliation: their university and the CNRS. So all their work only counts as half in the ranking of the university, and the CNRS does not appear because it is not a university, so half is lost. Just consider how many Fields medalists studied in France, even recent ones. (Rankings are garbage anyway.) – user9646 May 28 '18 at 4:14
  • (In fact, thinking more about what I wrote above: some mathematicians are not even affiliated with a university, but only to places like IHES, Collège de France and so on. Also note that the university "Pierre et Marie Curie", Paris-VI, does not exist anymore, and has merged with another university to produce "Sorbonne-Université". Your rankings are outdated.) – user9646 May 28 '18 at 16:15
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    I agree with @NajibIdrissi. One should also notice that all those Fields medallists studied in Paris. So Paris is a top place in maths, other parts of France maybe less so. – Bernie May 28 '18 at 23:57