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Faculty Search April 25, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in university.

Well, our faculty search isn’t done yet. A few months ago we got Nikolai Tolich to work on neutrino physics. A very cool guy full of lots of energy. But that wasn’t the full story.

There were actually two official searches going on this year at UW. First was the neutrino search. Last year we attempted to hire someone in neutrino physics but couldn’t get the person we wanted. We call that a failed search here at UW. The cool thing about UW is that when a search fails they let you repeat the search the next year. This is particularly important because if you don’t allow for this then a department might be inclined to compromise quality to keep its size (a real worry).

The second search was a joint search. We had one position and we were looking to fill it with either an astrophysics or a particle physics person. A department like ours has two options when in that situation. Internally decide and put forward one candidate. Or think outside the box: find two really outstanding candidates that the university can’t say no to, one from each subfield. We did the second. 🙂

Our offers have been outstanding since mid March now. Once you make an offer the candidate holds all the cards: the goal of the physics department is to attract the candidate. The goal of the candidate is to make sure they get enough resources out of the university to make their research program successful. The negotiations are exhausting. And if the candidate comes for an extended visit you end up going out to dinner almost every night! NOT that I’m complaining, but I have had to loosen my belt a notch! 😉 The other thing that happens is all other balls are dropped: I’m so far behind now it isn’t even funny.

But our particle physics candidate accepted! Woo hoo! I can’t tell you how much of a relief that was. First of all, someone close to me in age: I was not looking forward to doing all the administrative work on the NSF grant as I got older (somehow we forgot to mention this aspect of the job during the interview process). Second, they are very good so they will make our group stronger. I’m really looking forward to next year!

You want to know who it is? I’ll post their name in the next few days. They wanted some time to tell others they were joining UW rather than having people find out from the blog (a totally reasonable request!).

And we still have an astrophysics offer out. We are doing everything we can to get this person as well. If we were able to land them, that would make for an amazing hiring year. Wow. Ok, I shouldn’t dream too much.

You can watch how the search game at all universities is shaping up, if you would like, on the HEP rumor mill page.



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