Too many scientists?

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SU3SU2U1
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Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:26 pm UTC

Every now and then, I hear people talking about what a tragedy that so few Americans go into math and science. But isn't it in fact the opposite? There are far TOO many scientists. We seem to graduate roughly twice as many phds as there are jobs to fill, and the majority of mathematics and physical science phds end up outside their fields in consulting, finance, project management, etc.

I used to tell my students that upon graduation I could make sure they were competitive for a good postdoc, but the rest was up to them, and that they should expect 5 years or so of low pay postdoctoral positions before they could land an R1 position, but liberal arts colleges were a good alternative. Now, I tell them that they should expect 7-10 years at low pay postdoctoral positions before they can land anything at all, and to take the first permanent position that comes their way, liberal arts college or research institution. I understand that in hotter fields, things might be a bit easier, but it appears to me that there isn't really a tenable middle class career path for scientists anymore.

Given that, why do I hear speakers at meetings every week bemoaning the lack of Americans in scientific fields? Why do we as a society perpetuate this myth? Who gains from it?

Also, to anyone planning on getting a hard science phd- if you love the science, by all means, do it as a labor of love. However, know going in that you're going to spend up to a decade after getting your phd earning less then you would with an engineering undergraduate degree.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby psychosomaticism » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:38 pm UTC

Does it not have to do with the subject matter? I would think that (relatively) newer fields like molecular biology, microbiology, any health science, energy production chemistry and physics, etc., would have a better chance than say, theoretical math, non-atomic physics, etc. Really though, it's what one does with the degree rather than what one learns, although proving old math equations probably won't give you a large job market.

Although I do agree that there are a lot of scientists graduating. Even in my small school in Canada I'm a bit concerned about post-bachelor work because of the amount of classmates I have relative to the population of the area.

And on the other other hand (or something to that effect), is there not something to be said about the amount of specialization available, similar to the supposed doctor/nurse shortage; there are a lot of health professionals graduating, but a good number of fields to fill. Not that I have any actual data or anecdotes for this idea, that's just my thinking.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Krikkit_Robot » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:18 pm UTC

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I recently started graduate school for physics and am seeing for the first time the lack of research positions that will be available to me if I finish out. I have seen people who I consider much more talented scientist than I end up leaving their field to go into law or economics, two fields which I could never see myself in, just because there was no real need for them in science. I myself am considering leaving graduate school to study nuclear, materials, or even aerospace engineering.

But the real question is, shouldn't we consider this a deficiency in scientific jobs and not a surplus of scientist? After all, I honestly don't think I have met a scientist outside of university, there can't be that many of them.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

Krikkit_Robot wrote:But the real question is, shouldn't we consider this a deficiency in scientific jobs and not a surplus of scientist? After all, I honestly don't think I have met a scientist outside of university, there can't be that many of them.


Its not as if the scientific job market has suddenly shifted dramatically. We have, for many years now, trained many more scientists than jobs were available. Hence the rise of consulting and quantitative finance.

What I don't understand is why the NSF in particular, seems determined to perpetuate a myth that there is a shortage of scientists. Students should be made fully aware of just how devalued scientific labor is before they make the graduate school decision.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Yakk » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

The NSF wants scientists and scientific labour to be dirt cheap?
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby achan1058 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:06 pm UTC

As far as I know, layman tend to include engineering, CS, and the like when they talk about "math and science". If you add these in, there is indeed a shortage, a big shortage, in fact. I think that's what they really mean.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:37 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:As far as I know, layman tend to include engineering, CS, and the like when they talk about "math and science". If you add these in, there is indeed a shortage, a big shortage, in fact. I think that's what they really mean.


Its not as if engineering unemployment is extremely low. I agree they don't have the incredible glut that the hard sciences have, but there does not appear to be any major shortage. What jobs are not being filled?

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby MildlyUpsetGrizzlyBear » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:44 pm UTC

This is a problem worth pursuing.
I'm not nearly educated enough to contribute to this topic, but this is relevant to my interests and I really would like to hear from some people who are.
As scientists, what changes would you like to see in the job market?
Do you think it would be better for the scientists to instead be trained to fit the mold (for example, the business sector requests academies for scientists with certain sets of skills)?
Or maybe the scientific community can exist as a single entity that works as a resource to which businesses (including governments) can outsource?

I think I might've gotten too hypothetical to the point of risking devaluing the quality of this discussion,
but why, if at all, couldn't this work?
Part of this, I think, probably has to do with the more general issue of the public's perception of scientists, but in terms of viable solutions, the media could easily fix this.

It's a shame that our scientists aren't granted super-civilian statuses.


@ninja: achan1058: CS is a science. Maybe you're thinking about the tech guys. And the number of CS majors are growing rapidly.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby achan1058 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:44 am UTC

SU3SU2U1 wrote:
achan1058 wrote:As far as I know, layman tend to include engineering, CS, and the like when they talk about "math and science". If you add these in, there is indeed a shortage, a big shortage, in fact. I think that's what they really mean.


Its not as if engineering unemployment is extremely low. I agree they don't have the incredible glut that the hard sciences have, but there does not appear to be any major shortage. What jobs are not being filled?
It's quite low from what I have been hearing from my university. The amount of engineers who got a job straight out of undergrad is very high, higher than just about every other department.

And no, CS is not a science. If anything, it's mathematics. It's just that most schools don't have a faculty of mathematics.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Coffee » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:24 am UTC

So how does the market look for marine biologists? Need funding for my work with cuttlefish...
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Omegaton » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:14 am UTC

Krikkit_Robot wrote:I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I recently started graduate school for physics and am seeing for the first time the lack of research positions that will be available to me if I finish out. I have seen people who I consider much more talented scientist than I end up leaving their field to go into law or economics, two fields which I could never see myself in, just because there was no real need for them in science. I myself am considering leaving graduate school to study nuclear, materials, or even aerospace engineering.

But the real question is, shouldn't we consider this a deficiency in scientific jobs and not a surplus of scientist? After all, I honestly don't think I have met a scientist outside of university, there can't be that many of them.

I'm in a similar situation. Texas A&M had an open job for an ichthyologist, and two of the students that had recently graduated both applied. One didn't even make it through the first round, though the other has gotten pretty far last I heard. It's staggering how much experience and qualifications I'll need to acquire in the next few years. I think the "joke" that's going around is jobs open up when someone retires or someone dies.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby dg61 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:03 am UTC

From what I hear, though the humanities has a similar glut. I'ts probably more a misallocation of PhDs and jobs(too many PhDs for academic work/research, not enough for private business work).

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:46 am UTC

As someone planning to go into physics, this is a rather depressing topic, but then, I was never going to do it for the money. And the situation may be different by the time I'm a postdoc.

Anyway, I think the real problem is that India and China are finally starting to churn out science/engineering graduates, and so Americans aren't worried about "We won't have enough scientists!" as much as "Other people will have more scientists than us!". At least, every speech I've ever heard about how few sci/math people we're graduating talks about it in terms of comparison to countries that are like, three times our size.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Cobramaster » Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:51 am UTC

Part of the problem is right now with the economy on the downturn many of the positions have just disappeared. Here at GSU the Biology department was forced to undergo a hiring freeze even for positions that were filled and became open so we currently have a shortage of 10-15 teaching positions that the state has told us we cannot fill. The Chemistry department is in a similar situation and had to have special permissions granted to hire a new department chair, luckily we are only short 4 positions or so from the optimum to handle the class load.

But if we need a new football coach with a higher salary that is okayed instantly, same with the Business and IT departments.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby achan1058 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:24 am UTC

dg61 wrote:From what I hear, though the humanities has a similar glut. I'ts probably more a misallocation of PhDs and jobs(too many PhDs for academic work/research, not enough for private business work).
And a great thing about being a mathematician (who knows how to program) is that you can always jump ship and work for a software company.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:15 am UTC

SU3SU2U1 wrote:Every now and then, I hear people talking about what a tragedy that so few Americans go into math and science. But isn't it in fact the opposite? There are far TOO many scientists. We seem to graduate roughly twice as many phds as there are jobs to fill, and the majority of mathematics and physical science phds end up outside their fields in consulting, finance, project management, etc.


The situation here is not so different. My girfriend works for the Dutch NSF. Especially their post-doc grant system is overrun by people, even very capable people, who know that if they can't get some grant soon, they have to leave their chosen career path.

At least part of what you describe is, I think, inherent to the concept of a research university. The idea behind those is that smart students are best trained by researchers, with a program that is to some extent a job training for researchers. A university clearly trains more people than it can employ itself, so it has always been part of the concept that it is good to train people (or at least smart people) as researchers even when they are not going to be researchers.
It's a system that has been in place for a century or more, so it makes some sense. Perhaps it really is a good idea to train future consultants and project managers as physicists, instead of giving them a theoretical training as project managers or consultants (which really require on the job training in any case).
As a side effect , you have to dissuade people every year from that research track, and that is painful. But it might be more a responsibilty of universities to make this clear to students. You are probably quite aware how strongly researchers can ooze a "science is the highest good" atmosphere, and it is only to be expected that students pick some of this up after years in university.

Also, if there are many good, capable people who would love to work hard t be a scientist for little more than love, is it really that bad if scientists are paid little more than love? Fighter pilots are not paid fortunes, and they never have a shortage either. The trouble would come if scientists were not paid enough to raise a family, so that experienced scientists left the field after some years at the grind. But wages for experienced scientists seem pretty OK.

achan1058 wrote:It's quite low from what I have been hearing from my university. The amount of engineers who got a job straight out of undergrad is very high, higher than just about every other department.

Looking at first employment is a bit misleading. Engineers have had, compared to most higher education, a very job-focussed education. So where most graduates will need some time to learn on the job, engineers can be pretty productive within a few months. If you look a few years later, when everyone has had some time to learn a specific job, engineers are not really paid more than others (compared to people with similar SAT scores and GPAs etc., of course)

Krikkit_Robot wrote:But the real question is, shouldn't we consider this a deficiency in scientific jobs and not a surplus of scientist?

Keep in mind that most scientists are in some way paid from government money, and that nearly all extra scientists would have to be paid from tax money. Under those circumstances, you need a good rationale to ask for more money. if you can make credible that more scientists will in the end lead to enough tangible benefits, that's fine. But you can't just ask other people to pay more taxes because so many people want to be a scientists.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Yakk » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:06 pm UTC

SU3SU2U1 wrote:
achan1058 wrote:As far as I know, layman tend to include engineering, CS, and the like when they talk about "math and science". If you add these in, there is indeed a shortage, a big shortage, in fact. I think that's what they really mean.
Its not as if engineering unemployment is extremely low. I agree they don't have the incredible glut that the hard sciences have, but there does not appear to be any major shortage. What jobs are not being filled?

When they say "an engineering shortage", they aren't saying it for the benefit of the engineers.

They want engineers to be cheaper.

If engineers where as cheap to employ as, say, the typical undergrad English majors, you could do a lot more engineering for a lot less.

This would make it suck worse to be an engineer, but it might be very good for the rest of society (because there are lots of useful things that engineers can do, but paying a living wage for is unaffordable).
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby MildlyUpsetGrizzlyBear » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

How to be rich 101:
-Be popular
-Conveniently forget the concept of moral obligation.
-Grossly exaggerate the non-monetary value of your product.

Examples:

"organic" food labels.
The charity for breast cancer research.
Atkins.
shrinks.
Nordstrom.
The Vatican.
Apple.
Fox News.

If, after careful consideration, you find that you're incapable of following these guidelines, become a doctor.

But seriously: if you became a scientist to be rich, there's something wrong with you. And besides, scientists get paid a pretty decent salary. And everyone is having trouble landing jobs, so what's the big fuss?

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Shadowfish » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:00 pm UTC

I'm planning to go to physics grad school, and so this topic is important to me. I'm not so worried about the money, since a postdoc's salary is enough to have a home and not starve. I'm worried that I won't be able to get a permanent job. Moving across the country every two years for a different postdoc would suck. All I want is a permanent science job, preferably in my home state.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby achan1058 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:03 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
achan1058 wrote:It's quite low from what I have been hearing from my university. The amount of engineers who got a job straight out of undergrad is very high, higher than just about every other department.

Looking at first employment is a bit misleading. Engineers have had, compared to most higher education, a very job-focussed education. So where most graduates will need some time to learn on the job, engineers can be pretty productive within a few months. If you look a few years later, when everyone has had some time to learn a specific job, engineers are not really paid more than others (compared to people with similar SAT scores and GPAs etc., of course)
Not really. Engineering student's remark #1 (taken from my brother), 90+% of what you learn in school is useless for your job.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Chen » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:Not really. Engineering student's remark #1 (taken from my brother), 90+% of what you learn in school is useless for your job.


A lot of the higher math is useless, especially most analytical solutions to complex equations. Almost any numerical methods type work can come in handy. But yeah I've used very little from my schooling at my current work.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

Shadowfish wrote:I'm planning to go to physics grad school, and so this topic is important to me. I'm not so worried about the money, since a postdoc's salary is enough to have a home and not starve. I'm worried that I won't be able to get a permanent job. Moving across the country every two years for a different postdoc would suck. All I want is a permanent science job, preferably in my home state.


A postdoc's salary is enough to have a home for one person, but it is difficult to support a family on it, and you could very will be doing postdocs into your mid to late 30s. Further, you won't move across the country, but the world on postdocs. And finally, if staying in a geographical area is important to you (like your home state), academic science is not the career for you. You have no say in where you end up, you have to go to whoever is hiring.

But seriously: if you became a scientist to be rich, there's something wrong with you. And besides, scientists get paid a pretty decent salary. And everyone is having trouble landing jobs, so what's the big fuss?


Yes, tenure track faculty make a decent wage. However, as a scientist you don't earn that wage until after 7-10 years of scraping by as a postdoc, after your 5-7 year phd. Further there is an alarming trend of a growing number professors being denied tenure (which means you are fired- you leave the university). If I were starting my career now, I wouldn't choose science.

Seriously, there seems to be a fair amount of idealism about the way this works. I've seen a lot of students who "do it out of love" end up extremely bitter because they didn't go in with their eyes open. If you are an up and coming graduate student in the sciences, speak to your advisor frankly about career opportunities. What are his former students doing now? How many have gotten competitive postdocs upon graduation? Keep in mind that at the very top schools (MIT, Stanford, Harvard where EVERYONE wants to be a tenured professor someday) only 1 in 4 or so actually make it .

Lastly, I don't want to discourage anyone from a phd who really wants to learn. Physics is still an interesting field, and I love it very much. However, grad school admission is not at all a guarantee that you can continue in the field. If you are at one of the top 5 schools, there is a 3 in 4 chance you will wash out of the field after spending 7+ years. At lesser schools, the odds are even worse. If you are fine with spending 5/7 years of your life in school while your peers establish themselves out of an academic love, great. But know ahead of time that odds are, no matter how good you are, you won't be able to make a career out of it.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Paranoid__Android » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:55 pm UTC

Damn, I hate this thread :?
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:11 pm UTC

A student of mine showed me this article, which I think reiterates the points I'm making:

http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Rockberry » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Paranoid__Android wrote:Damn, I hate this thread :?


Me too. Hey, you at Nottingham Uni by any chance? :P

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Shadowfish » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

SU3SU2U1 wrote:A postdoc's salary is enough to have a home for one person, but it is difficult to support a family on it, and you could very will be doing postdocs into your mid to late 30s. Further, you won't move across the country, but the world on postdocs. And finally, if staying in a geographical area is important to you (like your home state), academic science is not the career for you. You have no say in where you end up, you have to go to whoever is hiring.


Thanks. That's useful information, even if it is extremely hard to hear. This thread is opening my eyes to things which I was aware of and did not want to believe.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

SU3SU2U1 wrote:A student of mine showed me this article, which I think reiterates the points I'm making:

http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science

The column assumes that $500,000/year incomes are just everywhere for the taking, if you're motivated and talented enough to be a professor.

But I am a bit skeptical that "talent" is such a versatile thing that a succesful college professor would obviously have been highly succesful in other lines of work. No matter how smart or hard working they are. People who earn half a million a year tend to be good at negotiations, or at managing large projects, or hobnobbing with rich people, or many other skills not automatically in reach if you just work hard and be smart.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Yakk » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:41 pm UTC

I didn't see a half a million dollar job in his case studies. Where was that?

He was pointing out that the odds of even the most dedicated, most successful, graduates of the most prestigious universities end up with really bad career results, on average, when going down the academic path. He's comparing the cream of the crop, and finding that even the cream of the crop has less than a 25% chance of not getting fired and kicked off the entire career at

And that alternatives (from law, to medicine, to whatever) end up with higher success rates, and better results on failure, especially when you consider how much time and effort it takes to hit that cream of the crop status.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Paranoid__Android » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:47 pm UTC

Rockberry wrote:
Paranoid__Android wrote:Damn, I hate this thread :?


Me too. Hey, you at Nottingham Uni by any chance? :P

Yeah, first year Physics student.
Why do you ask?
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:But I am a bit skeptical that "talent" is such a versatile thing that a succesful college professor would obviously have been highly succesful in other lines of work. No matter how smart or hard working they are. People who earn half a million a year tend to be good at negotiations, or at managing large projects, or hobnobbing with rich people, or many other skills not automatically in reach if you just work hard and be smart.


To be a successful professor, you have to be very good at grant writing, and proposals. You have to do university service (sit on committees, etc). More than half the job is begging for money, "hobnobbing" with rich funding agents, and university politics. You also have to teach well, and manage graduate student projects. These require negotiating skills, management, etc. You also have to have a nearly endless endurance.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Mokele » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

The problem with these analyses is they don't take a long-term perspective. In the end, a janitor, a CEO, a Nobel Prize winner, and a grad student who dropped out all end up in the same position: six feet underground being eaten by bugs and worms.

Maybe I won't get tenure. Maybe I won't find a faculty job. Maybe I won't find a post-doc. Maybe I'll be crushed by a bus next Tuesday.

But I still got to spend more than a decade learning awesome stuff, doing cool experiments, traveling around the world to catch snakes, lizards, frogs, gators, etc., and I wouldn't trade the past years of schooling for Bill Gates' fortune. So what if I end up as a cubicle monkey or janitor - It'll suck, but at least I had a decade of getting paid to do fun science, and better that than never having that decade at all and suffering through some pedestrian, boring, soulless white-collar life.

Of course, I'm also obsessed with my field and have been since childhood, have no plans for kids, and my standard of living has less to do with the size of my house and more to do with how many reptiles & amphibians I can fit into it, so your milage may vary. For me, tenure means I can settle down and buy a crocodile. Yes, seriously.


TL;DR - blahblah life is a journey not a destination blahblah live for the now blahblah Mokele will probably die in the jaws of one of his pets blahblah.
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Vieto » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

This is a rather depressing thread.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby SU3SU2U1 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:Of course, I'm also obsessed with my field and have been since childhood, have no plans for kids, and my standard of living has less to do with the size of my house and more to do with how many reptiles & amphibians I can fit into it, so your milage may vary. For me, tenure means I can settle down and buy a crocodile. Yes, seriously.


Then for you, your decision to pursue your field makes complete sense. If you are aware of the sacrifices you are making more power to you.

My complaint is that so many students come into science department with this idea that there really is a shortage of scientists. They think that most graduate students end up professors, and they honestly haven't thought realistically about the sacrifices a scientific career requires. Noone ever sits down with them and lays out, realistically, what they can expect from such a career.

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Mokele
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Mokele » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

SU3SU2U1 wrote:My complaint is that so many students come into science department with this idea that there really is a shortage of scientists. They think that most graduate students end up professors, and they honestly haven't thought realistically about the sacrifices a scientific career requires. Noone ever sits down with them and lays out, realistically, what they can expect from such a career.


Of course not! We can't actually give grad students realistic advice! That would endanger the huge supply of cheap, disposable labor which so many labs run on!

Joking aside, I think that is a serious problem - in many fields, labs of a dozen or more students seem to be the rule, rather than the exception, and productivity (in both pubs and fulfilling/winning grants) seems primarily dependent upon this massive disparity. In biology, we tend to refer to it by the name of ecological strategy - r-selected (lots of low-investment offspring) vs k-selected (few, high-investment offspring) labs. Some fields (ecology, anything at the organism level) tend to be k-selected, others (microbiology, genetics, neurobiology, cancer, molecular biology) tend to be r-selected, and based on my 'anecdata', the chances of finding post-doc & onwards seem to correspond to these strategies.

Of course, I'd love to say this is because us k-selected folks are somehow more enlightened or somesuch, but the truth of the matter is that we're the "knowledge for its own sake" group, versus the "cure cancer" group, so we're not exactly drowning in RO1s. We can get funded (I suspect we actually have an easier time, given how dirt-cheap our experiments are), but we couldn't afford the "army of grad students" style lab even if we wanted to.
"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw" - J. Burns, Biograffiti

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Yakk
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Yakk » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:40 pm UTC

Yep: if you want to be paid enough to survive while doing research, grad school works wonders.

Your only return on investment will be having time to do that research. Don't expect any savings when you finish the research, any career benefits after you are done the research, any status while you are doing the research, any time to raise a child, etc.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Mokele
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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Mokele » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:any career benefits after you are done the research, any status while you are doing the research,


Really? These conversations always drive home just how different various fields are - in mine, lots of effort is made to get the grad student to give talks/posters at conferences, to meet with faculty from other departments at seminars and conferences, etc. We're even usually first author (two-author papers are common in my field, usually as Student & Advisor, 2010). There's a lot of first-name basis, even with Big Names, and the Big Names actually remember the names of the grad students from elsewhere (especially if they've done neat work). Some of it is because it's a VERY small field, but some of the 'putting students at the forefront' is explicit in the documentation of the societies.

Seems like the moral of the story so far is "If you have to go into science, go into organismal biology."
"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw" - J. Burns, Biograffiti

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby masher » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:07 am UTC

Mokele wrote: We're even usually first author (two-author papers are common in my field, usually as Student & Advisor, 2010).


This is how it was (and still is) at my university, and how it is currently in my post-doc. If I'm doing the work, then I'm the first author. I don't like it when supervisors put their name first when they aren't doing the grunt work...

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Cobramaster » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:39 am UTC

My university has a similar policy that undergrads who do most of the research work tend to be put as first author and going down in order to the professor. I even have my own research project separate from my advisor's body of work that I could publish without him as an author but he will be included out of courtesy.
SlyReaper wrote:Did you never notice the etymological link between "tyrannosaur" and "tyrant"? 1% of the dinosaurs had 99% of the prey. Occupy Pangaea.

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby DNA » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:08 am UTC

Wow, this is really depressing. I've had my doubts about biomedical/pharmaceutical research (what I want to go into) ever since people started realizing that we won't be able to synthesize cures for diseases now that we know their DNA sequence/biochemical pathway as easily as we thought, but now that I'm slowly realizing that there's going to be a lot of competitions for research jobs I'm kinda losing momentum. Then again I live near a lot of public & private pharmaceutical companies which combined make Canada the top drug & vaccine suppliers to the WHO, so maybe (hopefully) I'll be the exception and they'll open their well lined suede arms to me.

Oh well, looks like I'll end up being a freaking doctor or somethig :?
CATUG

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Re: Too many scientists?

Postby Nlelith » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:58 am UTC

What about work outside of academia (e.g. industry)?


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