academia

Category archives for academia

linkedy links II

More random topics that crossed my path: bureaucratic entropy: “…In 1987, except at private research universities, where administrators outnumbered tenure-track faculty, colleges had approximately as many tenure-track faculty as full-time administrators. By 2008 there were more than twice as many administrators as tenure-track faculty at all types of institutions.” Cuts loom for US science. Wise…

A Kind of Alternative Magic

In which we ask, what would you do if you could change your own personal history? A Kind of Magic! – No, that is not a non-Higgs boson, it is the Astronomy Magazine competition to win a signed copy of Brian May’s PhD thesis in astronomy. “To enter the contest, submit a short essay (200…

Physics Wins Big

$3 million each for 9 theorists from Yuri Milner Foundation Fundamental Physics Prize IAS big winner. Milner Prize: Guth (MIT), Linde (Stanford); Arkani-Hamed, Maldacena, Seiberg and Witten (IAS); Kitaev (Caltech); Kontsevich (IASS); and, Sen (Chandra Institute). String theory, inflation and quantum computing. Heavy on IAS, the Techs and Russian expats. All good choices. Follows hard…

linkedy links I

time for all new linkedy links here at the new digs Quantum Frontiers – a new blog from the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter, with kickoff by John Preskill hisself. Question of the day: explain quantum mechanics in five words My attempt: Probability Amplitudes, Observables don’t Commute Good to know John still does khakis…

Comparative Exoplanetology

Why do we need to spend any more effort on extra-solar planets? We found some, they’re there. Lumps of rocks, gasballs. We’re done, right? This, loosely paraphrased, was a serious question I got last week. The context was a question of why I was spending serious effort on exoplanet research, rather than focusing exclusively on…

paying for research

there is a curious result in behavioural economics, which shows that paying people to do what they like to do, sometimes provides a disincentive for them to do it, and people correspondingly lower their effort to do the task. The example I recently came across, from the 7 Rules of Behavioural Economics, or some such,…

waste, waste not

we just switched to a “no can” policy

UDI?

Something missing…

So you want to be an astrophysicist? You’ve suffered through 3-4 years of undergrad, and you’re ready for more. You picked the places to apply to (or have you…?), and you’re ready for the paperwork. Another lightly retouched blast from the past…