Many Paths Interpretation of Scientific Careers

Items sharing a similar topic, meandered onto in the depths of a major outpouring of procrastination...

The path less traveled by Andrea Schweitzer (via @mattleifer) on a different way to have a career as a scientist. And for a description of one of the most successful scientists from quantum computing, an interview with Ignacio Cirac (sent to me by Daniel.) Somedays, however, one might wonder about all the time professors spend working and contemplate the idea of death by tenure track. Or if you care a lot about the notion of tenure versus non-tenure AND you don't mind reading, you can amuse yourself reading Glorious Leader Gap: More Evidence Our Pretentious President Was Never a Law School Professor. Equally depressing, but perhaps in a different form, is the state of the astronomy job market. For better options, you might try computer science (unless of course you're going to start screaming about DEH TOOK OUR JRBS OVER CCCCs, in which case, go ahead rant, but please include at least one link to statistics in your rant.)


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Could you please post the last link ("try computer science") again? What you've given now is a GMail query page....

I am so strongly drawn to that path less traveled that I am baffled that anyone is drawn to tenure-track and life in the university.

Don't get me wrong, It would be great fun to walk the big campus, sit in its scenic byways and have Dave Bacon on demand for an impromptu mental jam session. But that experience would be a casual aside compared to sitting down in my comfortable chair with my sketch board in a room lit by non-fluorescent lights and working the details out of my head.

My nuclear physicist friend works at J-Lab and is always worried if he'll get extended. He has said for years, it's hard for physics PhDs to get jobs. He likes to tell stories about cab drivers in e.g. New York, who will call out "Mine was in laser spectroscopy" to each other (meaning, the thesis topic.) But engineers can get jobs and good pay. Hence, I got into that applied stuff for better job opportunities, but now it's harder to get published and other perks of being academic or research scientist.