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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azseroffs View Post
    I feel like I need the freedom to learn what I want and I don't really have a passion for anything but learning things I'm interested in. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just trying to convince myself of that though. I usually can't work with others. I feel like I'm dragging loose baggage most of the time. Either that or I get lazy and let them drag me. I can never get that happy medium of really working evenly with someone.

    That's why I have been considering it.
    Be an independent scholar.

  2. #32
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    Good post Ygolo. There's an old fossil Cognitive psych Professor at our department, pretty sure he's INTP. But anyway, during one of the department presentations, he went on a side rant about how BAFFLED he was that no one in the social science community seems to be jumping at Epigentics, which poses HUGE HUGE research problems for ANYONE doing research in the social sciences...... Epigenetics blurs the lines between nature and nurture to the point where the distinction might literally be meaningless. ITs quite possible that simply being in a particular room or being with another person over a period of time can ALTER YOUR GENETIC EXPRESSION! Epigenetics is fucking crazy, really! He was utterly befuddled that no one in our department was jumping at this.... why? Well because they were taught the same bullshit you were nonseq: focus and specialize cuz that's "the way to do it".


    I think if you can't get a good post doc position or a professorship anywhere, I don't think it's because there's none out there, but rather because you're not right for the position because you have no real Love of Knowledge. Specialization is for career-driven individuals, not genuine scientists.

    I don't knwo what you're doing nonseq, but you should diversify IMO. Learn more stats, learn Chem, Computer Science..... hell learn about the mideval europe and the history of science in the west.... anything. If you're not getting into positions I guarantee a huge part of the reason is they don't think you genuinely love science and learning. Of course demand/supply matters, but you need to in the right place mentally

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post

    Seems that the proportion of physics PhDs who make tenure track is relatively high in the US.
    This needs some processing...

    The columns are what add up to 100%--meaning 52% of the permanent positions are in industry, while 76% of the postdocs are in academia. But it doesn't tell you what %-age of the academic positions are "potentially permanent," directly.

    We have interms of overall percentages:
    Career in Academia-physic-empl-adj-jpg

    So that means interms of initial placement, only 7.22% of all the graduating Ph.D.'s had potenteially permanent academic positions. About 26.76% had some potentially permanent position somewhere.

    A full 51.59% of the initial graduates were academic post-docs. 67.88% were post-docs somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    I think if you can't get a good post doc position or a professorship anywhere, I don't think it's because there's none out there, but rather because you're not right for the position because you have no real Love of Knowledge. Specialization is for career-driven individuals, not genuine scientists.

    I don't knwo what you're doing nonseq, but you should diversify IMO. Learn more stats, learn Chem, Computer Science..... hell learn about the mideval europe and the history of science in the west.... anything. If you're not getting into positions I guarantee a huge part of the reason is they don't think you genuinely love science and learning. Of course demand/supply matters, but you need to in the right place mentally
    Let's not be too presumptuous. Considering the type of work hours she puts in, I'd be surprized if she didn't have some love for her work and the knowledge associated with it.

    All of us are specialists because there is only a limited number of things we can learn in our limited time on earth.

    But research has shown, that combinations of ideas is the driving force behind science. It is a stochastic process where each combination is very unlikely to be a success (and thus modeled as a poisson process), but that is essentially what it is.

    The more concepts you have to combine the faster you will come up with combinations and the faster you come up with sucessful combinations, and tthe faster you come up with really successful combinations. (It is faster production, rather than a longer career for reasons I won't go into now)

    In addition, working in cross-disiplinary groups, geting on review boards, reading journals, etc. aid in increasing the rate of combination of ideas.

    Also, certain personality traits, like Jaunsian thinking, and latent inhibition affect how easily scientists combine ideas.
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  4. #34
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    ok, but what % of those actually want to move on?

    there's gotta be more than that.... 'cuz the attrition rate is huge.

    What about gender differences? many cynical people say women in grad school are still looking for a high class meal ticket, no? what are the %s like for males and females actually WANTING to go onto post-doc and professor status? This looks like the entire population, or am i reading it wrong?

  5. #35

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    I don't know, but I'm pretty sure the stats are for general population of people who reported back. The numbers add to 100%. So I don't think those who are no longer physicists are counted.

    It doesn't surprise me at all that >50% of all physics Ph. D.'s are placed as post-docs (though it is initial placement). That's what I'm expecting too. I figure this is the sacrifice scientists have to make for following their curiosity.

    As far as money goes, go to Law School after whatever you decide, and do patent law or something similar. This is another 3 years of your life though.

    Of course going to med. school after a a biophysics or biochemistry Ph.D. will probably give you an easier time than for those fresh out of pre-med, allowing you focus on the practical stuff. You will be that much older, however.

    For me, if money was that strong a determining factor, I'd stay put where I am.

    How much am I willing to "pay" for happiness? A LOT. I calculated that my career decision to move from engineering to physics will cost me over $2.25 Million over my lifetime (that is without the lost investment income on the difference in savings).

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Well, we certainly have different experiences regarding this. Industry is generally much more forgiving in terms of letting people move to positions they want. The "premium" for Ph.D.'s vs. Master's is only needed if you want it. There are all sort of fields that have no "experts" in them yet. That's what I meant by new fields.

    Admittedly fields like physics, math, electrical engineering, and computer science tend to focus on skills that are widely applicable, whereas Biology and Biochemistry may require a much more focused attention. Perhaps that is the root of our disagreement on this point.
    We do. I think that must be the sticking point. Biosciences typically tend to focus on the specific skills that you acquire during your PhD, e.g. being able to do HPLC, x-ray crystallography, NMR, affinity chromatography, expression/purification, pull-down assays etc. Because every one of the above (and many more) takes MONTHS/YEARS to pick up and understand fully (to the point where you can write your own protocols and trouble-shoot), these skills are exactly what you put on your resume.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I suppose I take a "project oriented" view to work, as opposed to a "field oriented" view.
    So do I, but my experience is that when changing fields people are looking for what you CAN do, on top of whether you can pick up what you need on the job. So if they're looking for a biochemist to work in the field of... say, nanoparticles, you don't focus on the nanoparticles. Most of the work that you do is still biochemical. That's the nature of the collaborations.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Edit:
    I propose you take a look at the work by Simonton on Creativity in Science.

    In it he talks about the "style" of the most productive scientists, and he notes the following...

    It's all about cross-pollination.

    Also, read the advice of one of the leading academic Computer Architects:
    How to Have a Bad Career in Research/Academia (pdf)

    One of the key points here is that you are judged on your years after Ph. D. not in terms of age. "Career age" is the driving factor for the life-cycle of research scientists (in aggregate) according to Simonton's research as well.
    Indeed, cross-polination and ensuring that I don't become too specialised is why I decided to do my PhD in 3 different departments, across 2 universities. I'm just saying that this is not typical. Most people think that I'm crazy and/or hyperkeen on research.

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    Good post Ygolo. There's an old fossil Cognitive psych Professor at our department, pretty sure he's INTP. But anyway, during one of the department presentations, he went on a side rant about how BAFFLED he was that no one in the social science community seems to be jumping at Epigentics, which poses HUGE HUGE research problems for ANYONE doing research in the social sciences...... Epigenetics blurs the lines between nature and nurture to the point where the distinction might literally be meaningless. ITs quite possible that simply being in a particular room or being with another person over a period of time can ALTER YOUR GENETIC EXPRESSION! Epigenetics is fucking crazy, really! He was utterly befuddled that no one in our department was jumping at this.... why? Well because they were taught the same bullshit you were nonseq: focus and specialize cuz that's "the way to do it".
    He's talking crap, like most INTPs in academia do.

    Genetics is a lot more complicated than that, and the reason why it's been close to impossible to bring studies of epigenetics into social science is because there are too many confounding variables that can't be controlled for.

    Most of the studies on epigenetics are in model systems precisely because of this. It's also the reason why I scoff at topics trying to link genetics to something as artificial and inaccurate as the MBTI/psychology. Oh, NTPs. It's exciting to talk about things in the "big picture", but you wouldn't be publishing anything of statistical significance. It would mostly be hand-waving and speculation that means absolutely nothing except to the media.

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    I think if you can't get a good post doc position or a professorship anywhere, I don't think it's because there's none out there, but rather because you're not right for the position because you have no real Love of Knowledge. Specialization is for career-driven individuals, not genuine scientists.
    ... and now with the INTP intellectual condescension and personal attack.

    I won't start looking for postdoc positions till 2011, but I've been talking to people since 2006 so that I can plan to do whatever I want to do. I would rather much have a job and do what I want to do than be a proud "genuine scientist".

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    I don't knwo what you're doing nonseq, but you should diversify IMO. Learn more stats, learn Chem, Computer Science..... hell learn about the mideval europe and the history of science in the west.... anything. If you're not getting into positions I guarantee a huge part of the reason is they don't think you genuinely love science and learning. Of course demand/supply matters, but you need to in the right place mentally
    I did a double-major in chemistry and biochemistry precisely to diversify. Studied in 3 continents across 3 nations, am doing my PhD in 2 different institutions across 3 departments and am planning on going overseas again during the process to study more techniques. Your ridiculous assertions that I need to "prove" that I love science are just that. I don't "love" science. I happen to be good at it, and lab work brings me peace of mind.

    I had a conversation with 2 people the other day in the department who said "if you go into science, it must be because of 3 things. Fame, altruism or knowledge. Because it's certainly not for the money." I said that it was none of the above for me, and immediately was despised by the one who self-identified as doing it for altruism, and misunderstood by the one who was doing it "for knowledge". I was going to set up a separate topic, but this place is as good a place as any since it applies to all of research and academia. These external motivating factors may apply to some, but not all researchers.

    It's not enough for me to say that I do research because I "want to know", because what I "know" will be replaced in the next 10 years anyway. Besides, that seems pride-driven. I don't do it because I "want to help humanity", because I sincerely believe that a lot of what I'm doing won't have any practical effect on anyone's lives in the short/long term, despite what the grant proposals say. I sure as hell am not doing this for fame because I usually just want to be left alone.

    So I've distilled it down to this: I'm temperamentally suitable, I get a sense of "wholeness" and fulfillment when I'm doing work, and the thinking keeps me occupied for a large part of the day so I don't have time to think suicidal thoughts. I can't help it. My diversification keeps me interested and brings up new problems for me to think about, and new directions to keep exploring. But I don't believe that research is anything but a game that various people play for different reasons - whether to serve their pride, to serve other people or to keep them sane.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    So that means interms of initial placement, only 7.22% of all the graduating Ph.D.'s had potenteially permanent academic positions. About 26.76% had some potentially permanent position somewhere.
    7% seems a reasonable number, and the percentage is probably much lower for my field because competition is so much more intense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    A full 51.59% of the initial graduates were academic post-docs. 67.88% were post-docs somewhere.
    That's an interesting split. So that means that 5X more initial grads continued in academia compared to industry.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Let's not be too presumptuous. Considering the type of work hours she puts in, I'd be surprized if she didn't have some love for her work and the knowledge associated with it.
    Refer to above.

    Quote Originally Posted by nozflubber View Post
    What about gender differences? many cynical people say women in grad school are still looking for a high class meal ticket, no? what are the %s like for males and females actually WANTING to go onto post-doc and professor status? This looks like the entire population, or am i reading it wrong?
    ... riiiiiiiiiiiight. "Many cynical people". Yes, you are reading it completely wrong.

    Research is anything BUT a high class meal ticket, and the renumeration is disproportionate for the number of years that you spend in school. I would do a LOT better financially if I worked for a few years and did an MBA instead. Or if I had studied medicine. Anyway, the point is that you don't go into research for the meal ticket.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    ... riiiiiiiiiiiight. "Many cynical people". Yes, you are reading it completely wrong.

    Research is anything BUT a high class meal ticket, and the renumeration is disproportionate for the number of years that you spend in school. I would do a LOT better financially if I worked for a few years and did an MBA instead. Or if I had studied medicine. Anyway, the point is that you don't go into research for the meal ticket.
    +100 million

    The "will work for anything" syndrome is pretty strong for the freshly graduated PhD student. It's tough to land something and everybody in the business knows this. That's why everybody who wants to continue with research puts in ungodly hours without any extra pay to get results published.
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