I'm writing a 25 year old Canadian (male, and still named Rodney McKay for anyone keeping score) genius. He started college in Canada around 17, finished a BA in 3 years (probably with honours) and now wants a PhD in Astrophysics. For my story I need him to be 25 and somewhere on the road to getting his doctorate. This is set in present time.
So, question #1:
If he's getting his MA/PhD in the states, what Uni would be the most awesome he could apply that's currently considred to have a strong physics department (or, ideally, astrophysics) for him to go to? Also, I know some Universities allow studnets who enroll in MA programs to advance to PhD programs after 1 year of excellent performance, in that case would the PhD still take about 4-5 years from that time (I've read that that's pretty average for the sciences and this guy is a pretty motivated genius, so) or would it be longer?
I've read that it's common (or at least not unheard of) for grad students in the sciences to spend some time in advisory/observational capacities in other departments/establishments over the course of their study. Would it be feasible for my character's advisor to send him to another country, assumign there was some super cool research going on there and the person conducting it was a friend of my character's advisor or something, for at least a few months during the PhD process? If so, at what point would this be likely to happen? Towards the beginning/end? How would this impact thesis writing and other responsibilities of a