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(Science Magazine)   Science grad schools: "We don't want your kind around here, Mr. I-have-hobbies-and-a-life"   (sciencecareers.sciencemag.org) divider line 139
    More: Sad, graduate schools, ecology and evolutionary biology, molecular biology, mendelian, Changing the Game, Case Western Reserve University, postdocs, beakers  
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6821 clicks; posted to Geek » on 26 Dec 2012 at 4:34 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-26 01:02:22 PM  
There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.
 
2012-12-26 01:13:58 PM  

Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.


What do these institutions know about "pure" science? They though my methods weren't "pure" for their know-nothing, close-minded attitudes. Backwards fools, they are! But I'll show them pure....I'll show them all!!!
 
2012-12-26 01:20:41 PM  
'zebrafish nematodes xenopus" - Spreading yourself a little thin there, in the opinion of The Committee.
 
2012-12-26 01:38:33 PM  
WTF is cribbage?
 
2012-12-26 01:38:41 PM  
I knew this person couldn't have spent a day in grad school before I started reading.
 
2012-12-26 01:51:22 PM  
Adam Ruben, Ph.D., is a practicing scientist and the author of Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School.

The decision obviously wasn't so stupid, since he has a job as a scientist.

Anyway, Most people in grad school, like people everywhere, have outside interests. Maybe this guy's department was embarrassed of him because his stand-up comedy was bad.
 
2012-12-26 02:06:55 PM  

Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.


I know people like that, but they are rare.  They also have lots of grant money, but I don't know why anyone would live that way by their own choosing.
 
2012-12-26 02:09:20 PM  
This is where Chinese students make great grad students - they're machines.  They simply toil, hour after hour and day after day.  Most I knew would work 7 days/week, 12-18 hours/day, for years.  Fark that.

/PhD biochemist
//Likes beer and sports more than the lab
 
2012-12-26 02:12:55 PM  

sweetmelissa31: Adam Ruben, Ph.D., is a practicing scientist and the author of Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School.

The decision obviously wasn't so stupid, since he has a job as a scientist.

Anyway, Most people in grad school, like people everywhere, have outside interests. Maybe this guy's department was embarrassed of him because his stand-up comedy was bad.


I've actually seen him at a couple of storytelling events in D.C. I was so impressed that I made it a point to see his show at the Capital Fringe Festival this year.

He's pretty funny. This was pretty funny too, although maybe a little long.
 
2012-12-26 02:19:34 PM  

FishyFred: He's pretty funny. This was pretty funny too, although maybe a little long.


Maybe- I have never seen him perform before. I associate the book with a girl I knew from grad school (she was a fan) who would always complain about grad school. Meanwhile, she worked for a great advisor and her parents bought her a condo and a car, so I didn't know what she was complaining about.
 
2012-12-26 02:35:59 PM  
"I was curious about the alcohol content of my mouthwash, but the label on the bottle didn't say anything about it. I guess the proof was beyond the text of this Scope!"
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-12-26 02:48:47 PM  
As someone with widely varied interests contemplating grad school for Physics while trying to knock my wife up, I am not getting a kick out of these replies.
 
2012-12-26 03:13:52 PM  

Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.


And yet if you trouble to examine our actual history, most works of true breakthrough genius have come from  well-rounded individuals who see connections for disparate areas of their education and combine them in new and brilliant ways, not semi-autisitc  science monks who by and large become , as Heinlein aptly put it "bottle washers and button sorters".

Einstein was a straight up Pimp with  the ladies, and so, inexplicably, is Hawkings.  Richard Feynman seemed like a hell of a guy to party with by all accounts and Oppenheimer was so well-read he could quote the <i> Baghavad ghita</i> from memory when the occasion demanded.
 
2012-12-26 03:15:24 PM  

Z-clipped: As someone with widely varied interests contemplating grad school for Physics while trying to knock my wife up, I am not getting a kick out of these replies.


Don't fret, man.  We're all trying to help you with the wife.
 
2012-12-26 03:23:24 PM  

Relatively Obscure: Z-clipped: As someone with widely varied interests contemplating grad school for Physics while trying to knock my wife up, I am not getting a kick out of these replies.

Don't fret, man.  We're all trying to help you with the wife.


hellogiggles.com
 
2012-12-26 03:41:08 PM  

jehovahs witness protection: WTF is cribbage?


It's a card game usually played between two people, although you can play with three or four. The score system uses a special board and pegs.

Part of the game is you're dealt 6 cards and you have to put 2 cards into the other person's "crib".

Scoring is done by pairs, runs (3 or more in a row of any suit) and using combination of cards to get to 15.
 
2012-12-26 03:55:49 PM  
I have a friend who is a marine biology PhD candidate whose hobby is apparently taking risque pictures of herself.
 
2012-12-26 04:16:55 PM  

RexTalionis: I have a friend who is a marine biology PhD candidate whose hobby is apparently taking risque pictures of herself.


pictures or it didn't happen.
 
2012-12-26 04:27:00 PM  

cannotsuggestaname: RexTalionis: I have a friend who is a marine biology PhD candidate whose hobby is apparently taking risque pictures of herself.

pictures or it didn't happen.


I don't think she'll appreciate that, so no.
 
2012-12-26 04:27:00 PM  
Yeah, my friend was in the natural sciences doing a PhD at MIT and they basically made it clear that he would have to quit his side hobby of playing the trumpet or leave. So he transferred to another uni.My grad department has such high expectations that it gets to the point where it completely takes over your life, but I'm in the social sciences, so our whole process of getting funding for dissertation research is different. You're on your own, no working in teams.
 
2012-12-26 04:28:16 PM  

RexTalionis: cannotsuggestaname: RexTalionis: I have a friend who is a marine biology PhD candidate whose hobby is apparently taking risque pictures of herself.

pictures or it didn't happen.

I don't think she'll appreciate that, so no.


let me guess, she is from Canada and we wouldn't know her?
 
2012-12-26 04:31:36 PM  

cannotsuggestaname: RexTalionis: cannotsuggestaname: RexTalionis: I have a friend who is a marine biology PhD candidate whose hobby is apparently taking risque pictures of herself.

pictures or it didn't happen.

I don't think she'll appreciate that, so no.

let me guess, she is from Canada and we wouldn't know her?


No, she's from New Jersey and you wouldn't know her anyway.
 
2012-12-26 04:36:18 PM  

Because People in power are Stupid: "I was curious about the alcohol content of my mouthwash, but the label on the bottle didn't say anything about it. I guess the proof was beyond the text of this Scope!"
[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x200]


Oh come on, that was pretty funny.
 
2012-12-26 04:42:34 PM  
Doesn't just apply to the classical sciences, either. Despite all their gum-flapping to the contrary, it's amazing how software developers are encouraged to monomaniacal focus.

If you want to be a software developer, ensure that you are unmarried, male, and without children - no need for those pesky distractions. You will be hired over married, female, or child-burdened developers, all other things being equal.
 
2012-12-26 04:45:54 PM  

SnakeLee: Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.

I know people like that, but they are rare.  They also have lots of grant money, but I don't know why anyone would live that way by their own choosing.


.. and they're frequently raging, raging ASSHOLES, because things like "I can't do that experiment tomorrow, my mother is dying" are not considered valid excuses from their students. Oddly enough they're usually smart enough to be nice to people with more power than them. Their labs have all the esprit de corps of a North Koreean gulag, but they do tend to publish regularly in high-impact journals.
 
2012-12-26 04:48:18 PM  
"Hi, I was wondering if it would be better if I listed outside activities on my CV or not?"

"We don't really take outside interests into account."

"OMG GRAD SCHOOLS ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES!!!!~"
 
2012-12-26 04:49:36 PM  
Dear Mr. Feynmann,

We received your application and we are impressed with your history of accomplishment. However, your interest in "drumming" makes us conclude that you are not properly focused on science, and we have decided to give the scholarship to a geek drone who won't come up with any creative solutions.
 
2012-12-26 04:52:43 PM  

FormlessOne: Doesn't just apply to the classical sciences, either. Despite all their gum-flapping to the contrary, it's amazing how software developers are encouraged to monomaniacal focus.

If you want to be a software developer, ensure that you are unmarried, male, and without children - no need for those pesky distractions. You will be hired over married, female, or child-burdened developers, all other things being equal.



Are you kidding? Most places are dying to hire women to even out the absurd gender gap at their workplace. Certainly in the public sector IT jobs, if you're a woman, you're in.
 
2012-12-26 05:04:55 PM  
I remember graduating from Grad school and getting my first real job. They were apologetic about having to have us work 43 hour weeks to get the rate down for the contract.

Since I had just finished doing 2 years of 80+ hour weeks the three extra hours didn't bother me a bit...
 
2012-12-26 05:07:55 PM  
Sometimes you have Left Brain breakthroughs when doing Right Brain activities, and vice-versa. Frowning on your staff doing their own thing in their own time is not only wrong, it's counter-productive. It's nobody's business what I do in my own time...
 
2012-12-26 05:10:01 PM  

aerojockey: "Hi, I was wondering if it would be better if I listed outside activities on my CV or not?"

"We don't really take outside interests into account."

"OMG GRAD SCHOOLS ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES!!!!~"


So , in other words, you didn't read TFA?
 
2012-12-26 05:10:48 PM  
Scientists with outside interests are often regarded with suspicion in the lab

What kind of psycho, paranoid lab do these people work for?
 
2012-12-26 05:11:18 PM  

Christian Bale: FormlessOne: Doesn't just apply to the classical sciences, either. Despite all their gum-flapping to the contrary, it's amazing how software developers are encouraged to monomaniacal focus.

If you want to be a software developer, ensure that you are unmarried, male, and without children - no need for those pesky distractions. You will be hired over married, female, or child-burdened developers, all other things being equal.


Are you kidding? Most places are dying to hire women to even out the absurd gender gap at their workplace. Certainly in the public sector IT jobs, if you're a woman, you're in.


My thunder, it's all gone.

I won't turn this into a white privilege whine fest, but this is a general rule applied to any job market.

1) be unique
2) acquire job

So, a male nurse, a female programmer ect, is a plus to your job looking skills. You won't get hired or fired over it, but instead of getting 1-2 call back for 10 job searches, if you are an outlier, you get 9 callbacks.
 
2012-12-26 05:13:56 PM  

FormlessOne: If you want to be a software developer, ensure that you are unmarried, male, and without children - no need for those pesky distractions. You will be hired over married, female, or child-burdened developers, all other things being equal.


Not my experience (at least in the west - US, UK and FR anyway - the team I managed in Vietnam had a different culture), neither as hirer nor hiree.    Outside interests (and not just hobby projects on github...) are encouraged.
 
2012-12-26 05:20:17 PM  

aerojockey: "Hi, I was wondering if it would be better if I listed outside activities on my CV or not?"

"We don't really take outside interests into account."

"OMG GRAD SCHOOLS ACTIVELY DISCOURAGE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES!!!!~"


---

This.

To pursue a doctorate, especially in the sciences, you better have weapons-grade (sometimes literally) aptitude and dedication to your field. At that level you're supposed to be the best of the best. Presumably you were accepted to a good college with certain requirements and did well there, so you're probably well-rounded enough based on that anyway.

If you're dwelling on your extra-curriculars, you're probably not good enough at the actual field. There's a good chance those who are good at it have interesting hobbies too, but their main work speaks for itself.
 
2012-12-26 05:20:21 PM  

Mikey1969: Sometimes you have Left Brain breakthroughs when doing Right Brain activities, and vice-versa. Frowning on your staff doing their own thing in their own time is not only wrong, it's counter-productive. It's nobody's business what I do in my own time...


I would see it as downright dangerous considering our economy wants the mentality of an autistic yet the flexibility of a well-rounded individual. Sure, you can create people who work like machines at only one thing in life, but I wouldn't want to see them when that one thing stops being profitable and they have to do something else.

A human being is not supposed to be that focused on one single pursuit. There's a ton of life out there to live, and sitting in a lab trying to obtain funding is really a poor way to life if you don't choose that way of life. Honestly, it's quite horrifying to see that happening in universities. The purpose of life is to live, and what is this shiat about only doing this thing for hours on end, every single waking moment? Get a farking grip.

FormlessOne: Doesn't just apply to the classical sciences, either. Despite all their gum-flapping to the contrary, it's amazing how software developers are encouraged to monomaniacal focus.

If you want to be a software developer, ensure that you are unmarried, male, and without children - no need for those pesky distractions. You will be hired over married, female, or child-burdened developers, all other things being equal.


i bet you can fool them if you don't bathe and have outrageous B.O. At least that worked for the guys in a programming class I took. Everybody who didn't smell failed out pretty quickly...which was probably for the best.
 
2012-12-26 05:20:34 PM  

Mister Peejay: Because People in power are Stupid: "I was curious about the alcohol content of my mouthwash, but the label on the bottle didn't say anything about it. I guess the proof was beyond the text of this Scope!"
[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x200]

Oh come on, that was pretty funny.


It was pretty good. At first I was like, "Oh, a Scope pun, that's sort of lame, why all the additional setu-" and then I caught the "proof" pun and smiled.
 
2012-12-26 05:22:48 PM  
Also, a Masters is so different from a PhD. I have a couple of Masters degrees and am now doing a PhD, and they're nowhere near the same level of work and dedication.
 
2012-12-26 05:24:33 PM  

SnakeLee: Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.

I know people like that, but they are rare.  They also have lots of grant money, but I don't know why anyone would live that way by their own choosing.


I never knew anyone who had the dream of becoming that ideal, but I do know plenty who try to hold their students and even fellow colleagues to that standard anyway. I remember well getting into an argument with my PhD advisor after a couple of comments from him (in fairly short succession) that women in my field who took any time off for family reasons weren't serious about their science. FFS, one of the women he criticized was a grad school classmate of *his* who was taking family leave, at the age of 50, to welcome a second adopted child into her family (apparently she married too late to have her own children). I knew another professor in the same department who was vocally not in favor of the department establishing a day care facility for employees and students, because students especially shouldn't be thinking it was okay to have such distractions. Both of them conveniently forgot that their wives took breaks from their own careers to raise their children. Unfortunately, there are still plenty like those two who hold senior faculty positions and don't plan on retiring for at least another 15 years.
 
2012-12-26 05:28:13 PM  
I just quit physics grad school because of the time commitment. Luckily, it only took one semester for me to realize that I hated it, so I didn't waste 5 years.

I was putting in ~60 hours a week between classes and my TA duties, and I was falling behind. For example, on Mondays and Wednesdays, my first class started at 9am, and the last class didn't end until 7:30pm. In between, I was working continuously. When I got home, I was pretty burnt out, and didn't do any additional studying or homework those nights. My classmates were going back to the office to continue studying until 10pm or later. I found out they were also going in on Saturdays and Sundays to work on homework and study pretty much all day. (Meanwhile, I did a little homework and grading on the weekends, but not more than a few hours a day). I simply had no interest in bumping my time commitment up to the ~70-80 hours I would have needed to stay competitive.

On the bright side, I did love my duties as a TA, and am now working on being a high school physics teacher. So, grad school did give me a bit of teaching experience.
 
2012-12-26 05:28:59 PM  

No Such Agency: SnakeLee: Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.

I know people like that, but they are rare.  They also have lots of grant money, but I don't know why anyone would live that way by their own choosing.

.. and they're frequently raging, raging ASSHOLES, because things like "I can't do that experiment tomorrow, my mother is dying" are not considered valid excuses from their students. Oddly enough they're usually smart enough to be nice to people with more power than them. Their labs have all the esprit de corps of a North Koreean gulag, but they do tend to publish regularly in high-impact journals.


My problem with academia is that they pretend they're not a business like any other. They pretend they're still some "ivory tower of intellectualism" and discovery, while they ignore the realities of their business model, and shirk their responsibilities to properly train their students.

I have no problems with the rules of science as a business--publish often, publish well, and publish first. There are no prizes for second place. That is how the world works. But universities have been very reluctant--almost embarrassed--to openly address the reality that the pipeline of tenure-track careers is an utterly broken system. I think this results in a pool of graduate students, soon to be postdocs, that are woefully ill-equipped and poorly trained for the skill sets they need to be successful in the job market. For them to act as if the system works in any way like it did 20-30 years ago is totally irresponsible.

Scientists today need a great deal more practice writing grants--entire courses devoted to it--if they intend to make it at the bench. And since less than 50% of life science graduates actually remain at the bench, universities need to take a much more proactive role in preparing their graduates for applying their "translatable skills", and encouraging them, rather than ridicule them, for looking for jobs away from the bench.
 
2012-12-26 05:29:50 PM  

SnakeLee: Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.

I know people like that, but they are rare.  They also have lots of grant money, but I don't know why anyone would live that way by their own choosing.


Typically because they have few other skills outside of intelligentsia, which is fine, but they are very insecure and feel that everyone else should be like them. I knew some of these in grad school, professors, and they were pretty much anti-social bugnut crazy loonies, brilliant though they were.
 
2012-12-26 05:30:34 PM  

Mikey1969: So , in other words, you didn't read TFA?


I did.  I think he's (mostly) full of shiat.
 
2012-12-26 05:32:32 PM  

Mikey1969: Sometimes you have Left Brain breakthroughs when doing Right Brain activities, and vice-versa. Frowning on your staff doing their own thing in their own time is not only wrong, it's counter-productive. It's nobody's business what I do in my own time...


Silly cog, the protein reclamation androids are on the way, please wait quietly.
 
2012-12-26 05:32:45 PM  
A real scientit's hobby is SCIENCE! And, thus, his life is entirely scientific. I don't see the problem here...
 
2012-12-26 05:34:29 PM  

No Such Agency: SnakeLee: Millennium: There's a certain myth of a "pure" scientist out there: someone for whom the pursuit of scientific knowledge, not necessarily to do anything with it but simply to know, is life's highest and ultimate calling, to be pursued with quasi-monastic zeal. This myth is what institutions like the ones mentioned in TFA are pursuing.

I know people like that, but they are rare.  They also have lots of grant money, but I don't know why anyone would live that way by their own choosing.

.. and they're frequently raging, raging ASSHOLES, because things like "I can't do that experiment tomorrow, my mother is dying" are not considered valid excuses from their students. Oddly enough they're usually smart enough to be nice to people with more power than them. Their labs have all the esprit de corps of a North Koreean gulag, but they do tend to publish regularly in high-impact journals.


Or, as we in chemistry call it, the Corey Lab.
 
2012-12-26 05:37:19 PM  
I should mention that engineering grad school doesn't have any of these silly restrictions.  I was allowed to take Ancient Greek two semesters as a side class while working on my Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering (which I didn't finish, but never mind that).
 
2012-12-26 05:40:00 PM  

RexTalionis: I have a friend who is a marine biology PhD candidate whose hobby is apparently taking risque pictures of herself.


Cool bra story.
 
2012-12-26 05:41:08 PM  
I sort of get this at work. My hobby is going to concerts, live music. Often, this is nowhere near where I live. Pack up Friday after work, head to the airport, catch a show in LA or NY or Vancouver or Atlanta or Toronto Saturday night, back home Sunday and at my desk Monday morning. I've learned I get strange looks from this. Everyone at my current job knows what I do. Next job, I intend to keep this all to myself. If it's off work time, I won't say anything at all. If I'm taking vacation, I'll say I'm visiting friends.

Frustratingly, if I was going to see a sports team, it would be ok.

/I'm somewhere past 50 different cities (including many local) and 25 US states with one band alone
 
2012-12-26 05:42:56 PM  

iaazathot: Mikey1969: Sometimes you have Left Brain breakthroughs when doing Right Brain activities, and vice-versa. Frowning on your staff doing their own thing in their own time is not only wrong, it's counter-productive. It's nobody's business what I do in my own time...

Silly cog, the protein reclamation androids are on the way, please wait quietly.


LOL, with that, I am out o
 
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