The Quantum Pontiff

Quantum Postdocs

Two quantum postdoc advertisements crossed my desk this week, from two fine institutions. Good postdocs if you can land one! The first advertisement is a double wammy from Caltech

CENTER FOR THE PHYSICS OF INFORMATION
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Postdoctoral Research Positions
The Center for the Physics of Information at the California Institute of
Technology will have postdoctoral scholar positions available beginning
in September 2009. Researchers interested in all aspects of the
interface between information science and physical science are invited
to apply. The appointment is contingent upon completion of a Ph.D.
Please apply on-line at
http://www.ist.caltech.edu/joinus/positions.html#postdoc.
Electronic copies of your curriculum vitae, publication list, statement
of research interests, and three letters of recommendation are required.
The deadline for receipt of all application materials is December 15,
2008.

INSTITUTE FOR QUANTUM INFORMATION
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Postdoctoral Research Positions
The Institute for Quantum Information at the California Institute of
Technology will have postdoctoral scholar positions available beginning
in September 2009. Researchers interested in all aspects of quantum
information science are invited to apply. The appointment is contingent
upon completion of a Ph.D. Please apply on-line at
http://www.iqi.caltech.edu/postdoc_opening.html. Electronic copies of
your curriculum vitae, publication list, statement of research
interests, and three letters of recommendation are required. The
deadline for receipt of all application materials is December 15, 2008.

and the second is from the Perimeter Institute (application here)

Postdoctoral Researcher

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics invites applications for postdoctoral positions in the areas of quantum gravity, string theory, quantum information, cosmology, quantum foundations and particle physics. We will consider applications in all of these areas. Exceptional applicants in related areas, such as condensed matter physics, are encouraged to apply. The postdoctoral positions are normally for a period of three years. Outstanding candidates may also be considered for a senior postdoctoral position with a five-year term.

The deadline for applications is November 15, 2008. Qualified applicants will be invited to Perimeter Institute to attend the Young Researchers Conference, December 8 – 12, 2008.

Please email pdfrecruitment [at] perimeterinstitute.ca with any questions or concerns.

Perimeter Institute is located west of Toronto, in Waterloo, Canada and opened in September 2001 as an independent institute supporting research in foundational areas of theoretical physics. The Institute offers an exceptional research environment and is currently staffed with 20 full-time and part-time faculty members, 45 Postdoctoral Researchers, and 17 Graduate Students, and hosts hundreds of visitors and conference participants throughout the academic year.

Perimeter Institute is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents will be given priority.

Comments

  1. #1 David McMahon
    September 30, 2008

    I once read that the idea of “post-docs” was created in the 1970′s to deal with a glut of physics PhD’s. More Phd’s than positions for them, so they invented the “necessity” of a post-doc-or maybe it was two or three post-docs.

    Interestingly, the post-doc isn’t viewed as necessary in mathematics and in fact if you don’t land a professorship right away in math, you are deemed to have some kind of problem.

    Unfortunately there aren’t all that many academic jobs in physics. So a post-doc can buy someone some time to hang around, do some research and wait for a good job to pop up. The downside is that the post-doc system puts unrealistic expectations on people career-wise. It makes physics more akin to say, trying to make it in Hollywood or becoming a dancer on Broadway. A post-doc is only a couple or three years, then you have to pull up stakes and move somewhere else. Not very life friendly, especially for anyone over the age of 30 getting a PhD.

    If you are a recent PhD graduate, I advise trying the national lab system or even private industry. Get a real job that pays real money that you can keep for the long term, instead of having to move from here to there every couple of years being some slave labor for an arrogant professor. The national labs (I am talking about Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore) do have post-doc positions but they can and often lead to permanent positions so aren’t like academia. The post-doc system is a mixed bag if you ask me.

  2. #2 Jon
    October 1, 2008

    My belief is that people are living too long. That’s why postdocs are necessary. If profs would just kick off or retire, then there would be enough academic jobs. The real issue I see with the academic job is that the lifestyle benefits of being a professor are rapidly being eroded so that it is mostly just an ego thing. By this I mean that strict interpretation of the scope of a sponsored project research and contemporary policies about effort reporting make it very hard to do something novel and daring.

  3. #3 astephens
    October 1, 2008

    Yo Dave, apparently you are a Caltech alum. Is it a nice place to live and to work?

  4. #4 Pieter Kok
    October 1, 2008

    David McMahon, I think your characterization of a postdoc position as “slave labor for an arrogant professor” is a bit off the mark. I’m sure it happens, but in my three postdoc positions I have had pretty much complete control over my own research.

  5. #5 Kea
    October 8, 2008

    Well, I am applying for both things.

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