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Be Angry! July 12, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in university.

A friend of mine pointed me to an anonymous physicist blog, called Angry Physics. A tenure track professor at a university. The cool thing is his/her blog is anonymous – so he can rant all he/she likes (actually, he/she is rather restrained). I’ve mentioned before there are lots of things I’d like to talk about that I can’t (department politics, papers, talks, etc.), and the Angry Physicists does touch on some of this. But his/her specialty is advice to young people: in particular some of the politics that goes on in a academic job. His/her blog is unique, and a reflection of his/her experiences (i.e. not everyone has his/her perspective).

His post on the first job out of graduate school – and how much you a difference your advisor can make is good. I’ve been very lucky (ok, and a lot of hard work) but what if I’d not caught the breaks I have?

On the other hand, his post on sucky students doesn’t match my experience. The students for the last two years usually ask for harder and more work. Then again, I’ve been lucky enough to be teaching honors students…

But this I can whole-heartedly agree with, despite all the stresses and difficulties and lost nights of sleep and social oportunities:

It’s still a great job. I can’t even imagine having any other type of job.


1. andy.s - July 13, 2006

Personally, I got out of physics as a career on the advice of my roomate’s dad – he had worked on the Manhattan Project and was at the time running a sporting goods store in Chicago as there weren’t any career options in physics (’76). So he said.

That was a somewhat silly decision on my part; maybe he was a sucky physicist; maybe he drank himself out of a job, who knows? I continued to take courses in Phys, but when I got out I went into software – I never even considered it as a career after that point.

2. AG - July 15, 2006

I love physics. I got my PhD in 1973, had a bit of a hard time finding a job, but found work for a DoD contractor. Over the past 30 years I’ve done the classical transition from science to management and back to science again. I’m working now at NRL and (at least in my perception) I have fun all day, do what I want, and then go home and do the same. The inventions of Mathematica, Matlab, and VBA never fail to excite and amuse. Participating in field experiments is great fun with dirty hands and late night bull/analysis sessions. I have to say most sincerely, I would reccomend a physics career to anyone with a bit of scientific curiosity. And if you do get in, don’t forget that a responsibility is passing on whatever you learn to others.

3. andy.s - July 18, 2006

I know what the first two are; what’s VBA?

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