Re: Guest Post - Physicists Are the New Lawyers

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"I think the senior people, they actually think that if you work very hard, you'll make it, because they made it,"

Is there a career for which this isn't the state of affairs?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:20 AM
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Artists! Everyone is the new artists.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:26 AM
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Shit. I'm going to have to refrain from commenting on this thread or something, aren't I?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:28 AM
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This is similar to the situation in plasma physics when I graduated. The overproduction of PhDs relative to available postdocs and tenure track faculty positions was huge. I was damn lucky to find a postdoc and subsequent course of research in my field outside academia. A lot of people who graduated with me ended up doing things like IT.

The impression I get is that the faculty really don't care very much as long as they get a steady supply of grad students to man the labs and run the machines. As funding continues to dry up the need for labor will decrease and the problem ought to self-correct to a certain degree.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:28 AM
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3: Temporary pseud pseud?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:32 AM
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Is 85 a lot of applicants? Seems like the ratios are much higher in other academic fields I've heard about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:35 AM
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85 does not sound like very many applicants at all, to me.

In any case, they would have been stupid to even think about hiring anyone but Pet/er, who is an old friend of mine and very, very smart and good at what he does.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:37 AM
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Overproduction of physics PhDs relative to funded research positions has been true since at least 1990. I graduated in 1996, worked briefly in IT, found a way back closer to science, but in a totally different field. Basically, physicists wind up learning something useful for other fields (IT, circuit design, applied statistics), and so can jump to something supported. Also, no debt on graduation.

I don't know how strongly researchers scoff at useful employment outside the field-- if they do, then they shouldn't. Also, grad students working in pure theory or on really esoteric experiments are vulnerable.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:40 AM
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Also, grad students working in pure theory or on really esoteric experiments are vulnerable.

Not really, in the case of theory. There's a strong string theory to finance pipeline, for instance.

I mean, the issues described in the article are real, but seem overstated to me. People do have transferable skills and they do get good, or at least lucrative, jobs elsewhere.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:42 AM
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Basically, I don't feel shortchanged and neither do other people in my class as far as I can tell-- we got to think about cool stuff, contribute, and got an education that turned out to be useful. The need to pay attention and hustle to find work wasn't so bad.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:44 AM
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I think an underrated problem with the profusion of grad students, at least in my field, is that they have vastly outstripped the number grad students that are needed for TA-ing duties. Particularly with all the graduate institutions that are nowhere near any undergraduates. It means once you give up on having your own lab, as most do at an early stage, you also have no teaching experience so you can't try to become a professor at a primarily-undergraduate institution either.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:47 AM
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1: I don't think most long-established actors think they got where they are through ONLY hard work.

In finance people think this but it is basically true - if you're smart enough and you can put up with the meat grinder, you can probably do very well for yourself.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:52 AM
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9. If you say so-- the two people I know who had the hardest time transitioning were pure theorists (also had terrible situational awareness). At the time I interviewed for finance, the first job had to be in Manhattan, and as far as I could tell, the failure rate for new PhD hires was about 50%, and the work conditions were not great-- extreme hours expected, good pay but low status within the hiring organizations.

Where I am now, a couple of people who have quantitative backgrounds who chose to leave HFT establishments describe similar circumstances there.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:52 AM
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you can probably do very well for yourself.

Aside from the loss of your soul.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:53 AM
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Also, essear, how tuned in are you to the struggles of the bottom half of the PhDs? You may very well be, but it could also be that you rarely cross paths with any of them. I'm picturing the graduate of a top 30-40 program, not the graduate of a top 10 program.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:56 AM
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PhD legs often suffer the most.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:57 AM
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I actually enjoyed grad school and postdoc-ing a lot more once I gave up on any hope of finding a tenure-track faculty job, because then I could stop worrying about that, and I started to appreciate how special it is to be able to spend time doing research.

Also, it was nice to be able to work on problems that interested me, instead of forcing myself to be interested in problems that other people thought were important.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:59 AM
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As funding continues to dry up the need for labor will decrease and the problem ought to self-correct to a certain degree.

So, once the field dies, the bad labor practices will die, too. This is only somewhat comforting.

I wish I could have enjoyed grad school in philosophy for its own sake, rather than worrying about the job market. But really I was at a time in my life when I was constitutionally incapable of enjoying anything.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:15 AM
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I'm not sure about top 10 vs top 30/40 in my field(-ish). There are maybe a few schools that are unambiguously better at placing students in faculty jobs; mostly just Princeton, really, but maybe a few more after that. Then there are 20-odd schools that I would think are pretty much on an even footing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:23 AM
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Q: What does a lawyer physicist get when you give him Viagra?
A: Taller

I'm not sure it works.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:24 AM
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As far as I understand experimental physics is mostly programming and working with extremely large data sets, both of which are skills that are in very high demand. Yes it'd be nice if there were more professor positions, but I highly doubt the situation is comparable to lawyers.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:26 AM
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But, further to 19, I guess your question is really whether the people who don't get faculty jobs do as well in the external job market, and that I don't know. I know people who left Chicago, Berkeley, various Ivy league schools, or Stony Brook and ended up working at hedge funds or banks or Google or whatnot, but I don't know as many people who left other schools, so I can't really say.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:28 AM
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I'm just glad that the word is sufficiently out about the legal profession to make the post title possible.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:34 AM
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As far as I understand experimental physics is mostly meetings.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:34 AM
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Actually, if the deal is that it's (a) free and (b) you are likely to get some kind of good job, be it in in the private sector or (much less likely) in academia, it would seem like going for a PhD in high energy physics (this means physicists who like to dance, right?) is a pretty damn safe and awesome career move.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:42 AM
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85 is not a lot of applicants. Except maybe in a few subfields of math, we have for years had pools that big in all of our faculty searches in the sciences, and in the downturn two decades ago one California liberal arts college got 800 (!) apps for a search in physics. (Granted, it was open to any subfield.)

Getting an R1 faculty job in high energy physics may not prove to be the lucky outcome, though, given the post-LHC prospects for the field. Sure, it's a living, but committing your life to physics research only to find that the country has decided to skip a generation or two in funding the necessary tools to do physics research is going to hurt.


Posted by: Astronomer | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:44 AM
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26 is right. In math, now that we have mathjobs, the number of applicants for national universities is on the order of 500 for any job (tenure track or postdoc). Of course, math usually does open searches, and lots of the applicants obviously have no shot at the job, but number of applicants is not a sensible way to measure this.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:56 AM
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Our TT search a few years ago had 400 applicants; I'd be stunned if we had only 85 for the current one. But then that's what life is like for high energy philosophers.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 8:58 AM
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26.2: It's worth keeping in mind that "post-LHC" is still pretty far in the future. And then there's the possibility of the ILC in Japan, and that's not the only thing that may be on the horizon.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:00 AM
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I wish I could have enjoyed grad school in philosophy for its own sake, rather than worrying about the job market. But really I was at a time in my life when I was constitutionally incapable of enjoying anything.

Heh. Indeed. (Mutatis mutandis.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:04 AM
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ILC = Incredibly Large Collider?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:06 AM
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A philosophy PhD just joined our lab as a first year, I believe in the hopes that with a second, science PhD in addition to the philosophy one she might actually be able to land a TT philosophy job.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:08 AM
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If you have a physics PhD from a fancy school, surely you can get hired by a management consulting firm and spend your career informing people that unfortunately Objective Science proves that their entire division needs to be laid off.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:08 AM
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International Linear Collider. (Click the link, it's... fun?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:08 AM
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Quickies because I have a meeting - I have a cousin who's a prof at UW-Madison who tells me that they get 300+ applications for faculty positions in physics. Particle physics has been slowly shrinking from its heyday until the LHC, which means that it looks like a boom for grad students and postdocs. Also, remember that most profs training students would have finished as pretty big labs were opening in the US, like Fermilab and SLAC. Fermilab's appropriations don't keep pace with inflation, and since the Tevatron shutdown, there's certainly less data acquisition there. The LHC isn't really creating more fulltime jobs, either at this point. The handwaving about transferable skills is bullshit - people do this because they like it. I mean, yeah, you can do other stuff (and yes, Wall Street will pay for it), but if you wanted to do particle physics, it's a hell of a disappointment. And at least 60% of PhDs will end up in that situation, right? Pretty lousy.

Agred that there will probably be at least one big lab (LHC, LHC, Jr, LHC III) in the future doing all the cool stuff, but when 2/3 of the positions it creates are for grad students, it's not making things any better for real jobs in the field.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:08 AM
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People with two PhDs tend to be a bad sign, right? Though I did go to grad school with a guy who already had a math PhD. To hear him tell it, at least, he proved something for his MA and his committee was like, this is so good, we'll just give you the PhD! But he had already decided to do philosophy (of math!) so off he went.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:10 AM
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For 34 make sure you turn on the english subtitles.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:13 AM
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There were about 170 applications for my position here. It's a decent job, but not one considered to be desirable.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:14 AM
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Also, I don't know but assume that wanting to pursue an academic career is highly encouraged in many subtle ways. In my field, fellowships go to students who want to be profs, grad students who want to leave academia may have a harder time finding an advisor, etc. I am guessing that this is the same in physics. When the system is set up like that, it's really hard on students who won't get that position to adjust their expectations accordingly.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:14 AM
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The handwaving about transferable skills is bullshit - people do this because they like it. I mean, yeah, you can do other stuff (and yes, Wall Street will pay for it), but if you wanted to do particle physics, it's a hell of a disappointment. And at least 60% of PhDs will end up in that situation, right? Pretty lousy.

Yeah, it's lousy. But at least they get to spend a decade doing fun science before going off to do something else. Should we really be turning them away before they start grad school? It's not clear to me that that's an improvement in net happiness.

And it seems weird to me to focus on experimental HEP when pretty much all of academia has similar issues, and in most of it the working conditions are much less pleasant.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:17 AM
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Finally, 327 new PhDs and master's per year?! How many years would that be sustainable? I assume Baby Boomers will retire eventually, but probably not fast enough for, say, 100 new positions a year for 10 years for PhDs that will involve actual particle physics.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:19 AM
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pretty much all of academia has similar issues, and in most of it the working conditions are much less pleasant

Whatever. We have a parrot in our lab.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:20 AM
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The uniquely troubling thing about HEP is that the field could just be over, in the sense that the Standard Model could be correct up to energies far above our ability to measure in the foreseeable future or perhaps ever. So to some extent all future experiments are fishing expeditions. But that's been true of most of what people have been doing in the last few decades too, and there's been no shortage of people willing to take the chance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:20 AM
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Maybe it could evolve into PHEP?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:21 AM
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Seems to me that the problem isn't so much the life experiences of High Energy Dance Power physics grad students in particular, who seem to have a reasonably decent life and life prospects, but the fact that academia is set up in a kind of bubble system that allows professors to basically exploit labor for free based on the promise of jobs that don't really exist.

I'd think if the physics grad students got paid a reasonably decent salary for basically being the workforce of some professor's lab, instead of let's-pretend-this-is-all-about-education, there would be no problem whatsoever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:22 AM
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Preposterously high energy physics?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:22 AM
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40: You mean the article, not me, right? Because I see lots of articles like this, but I assume the reason is that the LHC is a big deal, and they'll be making news for a really long time. Also, the new Snowmass/whatever they're calling it just happened, plus the numbers here were probably easy to get from single sites as opposed to other disciplines or subdisciplines where you'd have to get all university data pooled to say something about the mismatch between degrees granted and positions open.

45: Exactly.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:24 AM
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I'd think if the physics grad students got paid a reasonably decent salary for basically being the workforce of some professor's lab

What counts as decent? I mean, you could advocate for the NSF and DOE to give larger grants, but compared to humanities grad students, they get a pretty decent salary.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:25 AM
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40: You mean the article, not me, right?

Yeah, I mean the article. I guess it is triggered by Snowmass. I'm generally uncomfortable with Snowmass, but that's not something to get into here.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:26 AM
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I don't think it's a fair standard to expect that there'll be enough slots for all Ph.D.'s to get academic research jobs. It's always going to be the case that many people with Ph.D.s are going to be either teaching at lower tier institutions or non-academic jobs. What's bad and should be resisted is situations where graduates aren't getting good jobs somewhere. A field where a third of graduates getting academic research tenure track jobs, a third getting academic teaching jobs, and a third getting good high paying industry jobs, isn't a broken unsustainable field, it's a healthy one.

It's bad if people are given unreasonable expectations, but I never assumed I was going to get an R1 tenure track job. I would have been quite happy going to grad school and then teaching math or working in silicon valley.

(Now postdocs are a different thing. I think having too many postdocs relative to tenure track positions is genuinely bad, because moving is bad, and because the extra postdoc time is wasted unless you go into research in a way that graduate school isn't.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:29 AM
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Physics grad students in the US make roughly 25K-30K a year plus health care (though no retirement), right?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:35 AM
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The uniquely troubling thing about HEP is that the field could just be over, in the sense that the Standard Model could be correct up to energies far above our ability to measure in the foreseeable future or perhaps ever.

But there is still a theoretical need to do things like develop a theory of quantum gravity, right? And won't that require high energy experiments?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:37 AM
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On the lawyers part: Our housekeeper's daughter is taking the LSAT. I'm not clear what the scale is for "very bad idea". Ie, perhaps she's setting herself up for 80 hour weeks at a soul-sucking job and up to her eyeballs in debt. In which case, I would make clucking noises about how hard she'll be working in her 20s.

But perhaps she's setting herself up to be completely unemployed and up to her eyeballs in debt, in which case I'd have a more frank conversation with her about not taking on debt to make this happen.

In Scenario A or B, here we would advise fellow Unfoggeteers to stay the fuck away. But for an acquaintance who seems to be a bright, very hard worker, Scenario A is nowhere near the disaster of Scenario B.

Thoughts from the lawyers?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:37 AM
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51: right. Postdocs 40k at lower-tier schools and 50-75k at better schools and national labs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:38 AM
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52: no, it requires impossible experiments.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:39 AM
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Of course, math usually does open searches, and lots of the applicants obviously have no shot at the job, but number of applicants is not a sensible way to measure this.

I remember my peers in grad school applying to over 100 jobs, on the high end, and almost everyone applying to perhaps 50 jobs. What's the norm in other fields?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:40 AM
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48 -- I have absolutely no idea how much physics or hard science grad students get paid so I'm pretty divorced from empirical reality here (though saying labor practices are "better than for humanities grad students" is kind of like saying Wal-Mart pays its employees "better than Bangladeshi textile factory workers").

But, of the top of my head, I dunno, I'd think that grad students who are basically highly skilled employees of a university lab should make something on the order of a reasonably decent wage for a professional right out of undergrad working in a nonprofit, with the extra money found in enlarging the size of the grant or reducing the size of the professor's salary and/or university overhead. So maybe around $40,000 per year. Obviously that would lead to both fewer labs able to afford grad students but better-paid grad students. Maybe physics grad students get that much already.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:40 AM
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Also, there's a bit of imbalance, where no one wants to live in a shithole of a town, and so these application numbers do not apply to illustrious Heebie U.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:42 AM
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57 before seeing 51 and 54. $25-30k a year plus no tuition plus health care/benefits is better than I'd have guessed, still a bit low but it doesn't strike me as grossly exploitative. It would be nice if there was some kind of retirement/savings plan available.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:42 AM
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In physics the teaching requirements both for grad students and postdocs are typically very low, right? (In math a postdoc would teach a usual faculty load, but in physics you don't.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:43 AM
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50: the point about postdocs seems right. There are lots of very unhappy former postdocs who have moved themselves and families to hell and back for years chasing a faculty job that never came.

On the other hand, my physics PhD is from the program that is probably best known for job placement success, and still only about 20% of my entering group are in faculty jobs. The rest went directly from PhD program to consulting, investing, alternate energy, federal government, etc. A number have retired young, at least two with enough wealth to set up their own foundations. Who really won the faculty job lottery?


Posted by: Astronomer | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:43 AM
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53 -- depends on the person, place, potential law schools, and especially on how much debt she'd take on (there are probably options). I don't think law school is uniformly a bad idea for everyone everywhere, even if you can't get into a "top" school. You just have to plan carefully and realistically.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:45 AM
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56: My friends applied to maybe 20-30 for academic positions after their postdocs (industry maybe 5-10 post- PhD) but I think my area is more specialized. Most people who applied for postdocs sent applications to 3-4 places.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:46 AM
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53: You've probably already seen Paul Campos' numbers on this. They're pretty grim and seem to say that scenario B is very likely and getting more likely all the time.

Obligatory disclaimer that I'm not a lawyer.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:47 AM
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62: So some unsolicited advice about not going into gigantic debt is worthwhile, and leave it at that? I'm not even sure what counts as gigantic debt.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:47 AM
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53: Which of your two scenarios you land in depends, as I understand it, on where you can expect to go to law school. If you have very good grades and expect a very high LSAT score, then your schooling choices will likely include either a top-ranked school (from which Scenario A is a reasonable likelihood) or significant financial aid at a lower-ranked school, maybe to the point where you're not drowning in debt.

If you're going to be scrapping for a place at a second-tier school and then running up huge debt while languishing in the middle of your class, then Stay Away is definitely the best advice.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:49 AM
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I agree with everyone else about the law school advice. People should let the admissions process inform their plans. If you're having trouble getting into good law schools then you're unlikely to do better at the next stage when you're trying to get jobs.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:52 AM
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59: still fairly exploitative--phd students work *a lot* relative to your odd low-level professional.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:52 AM
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Without knowing anything, my advice would be (a) make sure she wants to be a lawyer and has a realistic set of expectations as to what that means (b) if she gets into a top 5 school, go to the best school you can without worrying about debt; (c) at any other range of school, I'd opt for the school that seems pretty good and has the least possible debt; (d) if she can only get into a third or fourth-tier law school, don't go at all unless it's 100% free and she's fine taking a pure gamble on giving up three years of her life for not much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:53 AM
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60: Teaching for grad students depends a lot on the school, but it's pretty much never teaching, it's being a TA/TF/whatever the school calls it.

Postdocs don't ever teach unless they really want to and even then maybe not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:55 AM
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But 69 could be modified if she has a really specific game plan. Not every third or fourth tier law student is making a bad decision, just very very many of them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:56 AM
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still fairly exploitative

But good luck finding any funds to pay more. (The students who go to CERN generally get a lot of extra financial help from their experiments, although given that Geneva is one of the most expensive cities in the world, it probably isn't really enough.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:57 AM
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It's a general problem in fields where the vast majority of jobs available to trainees are positions where they are training more trainees (aka pyramid scheme, on the scale of decades.)
One solution is to hire accredited people as professionals on projects like LHC instead of ramping up the number of grad students in your lab, which of course costs more which is why no one does it. That 1) provides positions for graduates where 2) they aren't making more graduates. Sure employment will still go up and down for those people as the projects come and go but at least in the course of the project you employed people who currently need a job and you didn't make a thousand more people who won't be able to find a job.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:57 AM
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I think it's highly likely that she'd only apply to schools in Texas - so basically she should not go unless she's got significant financial aid.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:58 AM
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69 seems right to me. I'd add that you can predict with pretty high confidence where you'll get in based solely on 3 inputs: GPA, LSAT, race. My career services office in college had tables with all the relevant data.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:58 AM
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"TF" is I think only used at one particular place because they have to announce that they're better- we don't have assistants, we have Fellows!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:59 AM
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The advice my polisci colleague and I typically give w.r.t. law school is highly dependent on one's LSAT score and school prospects. A third-tier school is not worth the debt at all.

She may need to hear this, however, because many students from non-trad backgrounds assume that any law degree will ensure they're set for life, and third-tier law schools exploit this.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 9:59 AM
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74: Hm, if she's committed to working in Texas then UT is probably similarly safe to top-5. For other schools, yes.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:01 AM
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If she's a generally pretty smart and competent person who wants to stay in Texas, I'd say it is probably worth it to take on substantial debt to go to UT-Austin, which is a very good law school and absolutely dominates law firms in Texas (of which there are a lot). Otherwise, she should minimize debt.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:01 AM
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Friends' children who are newly-minted lawyers from good but not top law schools found work in small firms and non-profits six months to a year after graduation. A couple of them received post-grad stipends/"fellowships " from their schools for a few months. They had more classmates in Scenario B than Scenario A.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:02 AM
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I would dissuade and redirect any young person who expressed the slightest interest in attending law school, by force if truly necessary.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:05 AM
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Ok, thanks, all. I believe she's Honor roll, but I don't know exactly what echelons of GPA she's at.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:05 AM
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I really don't think that the conditions of a physics graduate student are objectively exploitative. It's fun work with interesting colleagues, it gives you valuable skills and credentials down the road, and it pays a totally reasonable wage for someone in their 20s. But if people are doing it mainly for the lottery ticket to a TT R1 job, and not because it sounds like a job they'd enjoy for 5 years, then that's bad and we should be doing a better job of giving incoming graduate students realistic expectations.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:07 AM
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79: Do many law schools still have their own local old boy networks? My impression was that that's been chiseled away in many places. My impression could easily be wrong though.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:07 AM
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phd students work *a lot* relative to your odd low-level professional.

Eh, this is going to vary a lot. There are a ton of 20-30k jobs staffed by college graduates that have been consultant-ized to the point where they are squeezing every last bit of humanly possible productivity out of you for the duration of your shift. So, yes, being a PhD student working 10-12 hours a day between teaching, reading/writing, and grading is hard. But so is working an 8-hour shift of constantly monitored tech support in which you are in 5 customer service chats at once and are subject to being dinged by QA every time you haven't responded in a way that helped bring an issue to a resolution within 2 minutes of receiving a prompt in any one of those five chats.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:08 AM
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Are physics graduate students really working 10 hours a day? In my experience, math graduate students definitely weren't working those kinds of hours.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:09 AM
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With the exception of the guy who graduated in 3 years with 15 papers (now tenured at a top 10 school), and the woman who was both hardcore and married to a chemist so had unreasonable expectations of working hours (now tenure track at a top 20 school). They were both working 10 hours a day.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:11 AM
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86: Although I found it very easy to spend 20 hours/week TAing. Of course, I enjoyed it and was avoiding work.

It would depend how much busywork I had, whether I could make it to 50 hours. I certainly couldn't concentrate for 30 hours a week. Also my lack of work ethic and unhappiness with my research might have affected things.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:14 AM
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84 -- sure, local networks still absolutely exist. For really lousy law schools, though, what this means is that the top 15% of the class can find jobs through that old boys network in the local city.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:16 AM
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89, "the top 15% of the class" s/b "the 15% of the class that has connections"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:17 AM
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When I was a philosophy graduate student, 10-12 hours would have been a peak day (e.g., end of semester, logic problem set due), rather than a median day, but I wanted to avoid underestimating.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:19 AM
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It really depends on what she wants to do as a lawyer. If she wants to be a public defender, she should minimize debt, and maximize internship possibilities. I'm going to guess that top of the class in Houston, along with a semester at least in the PD office, is going to be a whole lot better than top 30% at UT. If she wants to do big transactions, maybe top of the class at SMU is better than top 20% at UT. I don't know -- this is completely uninformed speculation -- but there are people who do know this stuff, and can provide meaningful data once she's been accepted.

At any school, she'll need to have more As than Bs, and no Cs (maybe 1) so she has to have a track-record where that is a reasonable assumption.

If she doesn't have an idea why she wants to be a lawyer, it's only ok if there's no debt at all involved.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:19 AM
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Are physics graduate students really working 10 hours a day?

I can't even tell if they're working 2 hours a day, the lazy bastards.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:24 AM
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89/90 -- I think 15% is kind of high, once you get past the top 25% of law schools, especially if we're talking salaries sufficient to service debt and a lifestyle even a single click above monastic. And to 90, it's hard for any network to do something with someone who's at the 50th percentile from a law school in the 25th percentile.

That's not to say that there aren't lottery winners out there.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:25 AM
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86: lab students, no problem for 10hrs/day. Some poor bastards much much worse.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:26 AM
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Carp's 92 also makes good points (though I'm pretty confident that the specific point about SMU v. UT is wrong). But she really wants to put herself in a position where she can avoid the following scenario: one contracts professor doesn't her exam because it contradicts some nonsense academic theory* he's promoting, and ruins her life by giving her a C that takes her outside the top 15% at a school where she's also saddled with a lot of debt. No matter where she goes, she absolutely should not just assume top 10-15% as a given.

*I'm not anti-intellectual, but most law school theory really is bullshit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:27 AM
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My understanding largely matches CharleyCarp's. If she has a specific goal in mind, and then spends her time in law school aiming directly at that goal, then schools other than UT could work. She should still minimize debt, though, in the (too likely) chance that things don't work out.

If she instead has nothing more than a vague goal of being a lawyer, I'd discourage the heck out of her. If she insists on it, she should absolutely not be going into significant debt (possibly except for UT).


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:30 AM
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Wasn't that proud sociopath teaching at the law school in San Antonio?

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if the top 10 students from there are able to get decent jobs in SA, and the top 10 from Wesleyan can do ok in Fort Worth. Especially if they grew up there or have other strong pre-law ties to the community.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:30 AM
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96.last: Yes, this. No special snowflakes here.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:31 AM
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96.last not counting the footnote, I guess.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:32 AM
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Actually, that's a little misleading--the ones in my lab who worked 6 or 7 days/wk were generally like 8hrs at work. The 5 day people would surge as necessary to the weekend, but generally were 10+/day during the week.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:33 AM
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I can't even tell if they're working 2 hours a day, the lazy bastards.

I mean, they're probably tweeting or whatever the kids do these days. Blogs don't seem to be a thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:34 AM
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If she wants to be a public defender, she should minimize debt, and maximize internship possibilities. I'm going to guess that top of the class in Houston, along with a semester at least in the PD office, is going to be a whole lot better than top 30% at UT.

The problem is that those semesters in the PD office are generally going to UT or top 10 law school students.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:36 AM
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96 -- Isn't all law school theory bullshit?

On the SMU thing, I was thinking and didn't write that the person spent some time doing some serious transactional work, maybe in house, maybe at a big outfit there. (In parallel to my Houston example). The same thing applies, I suppose, to that school in San Antonio: get enpugh experience outside of school in a particular field, and a 4.0, and you may well be able to beat out middling UT grads.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:38 AM
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Sure, absolutely. If you have specific industry experience and know that a law degree would be helpful for your work in that industry and that you've got a pretty good chance of being hired back into that industry, many of these calculations change. That's one scenario (and there are a few others) where going to a third or fourth tier law school makes a lot of sense, even with (some) debt.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:40 AM
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103 -- I was thinking part time job during school. It's too far for a UT student to commute to Houston. Of course, whether the PD office in Houston takes on law students part time during the semester would be a pretty big factor in whether this is going to work.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:41 AM
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Schools should only accept students who can be assured to be in the top 15%.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:43 AM
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107: There's clearly a market niche for a school in which everyone graduates in the top 15%.

There must be some way to make this work out mathematically.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:47 AM
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Just give them all diplomas or recommendations or whatever that say "X was in the top 15% of the class by GPA" or "X was in the top 15% of the class ranked by most cogent arguments" or "X was in the top 15% in shoe size" or whatever. There's enough to go around.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:49 AM
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With regard to medicine, it's a relatively common misperception that the number of doctors are limited by the medical schools and/or the AMA. There is no single body limiting the number of medical schools and the American Osteopathic Association would love for their to be more DO's. The AMA has no voice in the creation of DO schools. The AMA has a very, very limited voice in MD schools.

The limitation in the number of medical schools has more to do with the fact that they are really, really expensive to start up and run. Unlike law schools, they are not profit centers and are hard to make pay for themselves. My alma mater wants a medical school. The biggest roadblock is money. Not the AMA or credentialing establishment.

The limiting factor in the production of doctors is actually residency. There are only so many residency slots available. If we doubled the number of medical schools, we'd still have the same number of doctors. They'd just either be displacing foreign-trained physicians or put on a waiting list. Like medical schools, the limiting factor on residencies is money. They're typically paid for by the federal government, which isn't expanding the number of slots fast enough to meet demand.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:52 AM
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106. Yeah, sorry, I was thinking more of summer jobs, which I know are highly competitive in public interest work. That said, there are such a small number of jobs in PI law that I don't know how much it makes sense to give generalized advice. My lady partner works at an employment law not-for-profit in Austin and they go through something like 40 interns a year, but have only hired a couple full-time attorneys out of law school in the last two years.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:54 AM
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There's clearly a market niche for a school in which everyone graduates in the top 15%.

Harvard did an internal assessment of their legacy admissions preference back in the 1950s, which of course concluded that it was a fine idea and should be continued. One of the arguments made in favor of preferring alumni sons (it was all sons back then) was that every class needed a "happy bottom quarter" - a group of students who wouldn't stress too much about not being at the top of the class.


Posted by: Presidential for obscure reasons | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:55 AM
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I harbor fantasies of taking the apprenticeship-to-bar route under the highly specialized law firm my employer uses extensively. No idea if they'd be open to it.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:55 AM
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I don't think there's more than like 1 of those per year in California, which is one of the few states that allows it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 10:59 AM
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108: Take on 300 students, but get rid of 255 of them before graduation. Some combination of failing them out, taking away scholarships, and drastically increasing tuition could probably do the trick. Then compute class rank based on the size of the original incoming class. After all, why should the graduating students' ranks suffer just because their co-matriculants couldn't hack it?

We're only a few steps away from this scenario right now. Just give it a few years.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:00 AM
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There must be some way to make this work out mathematically.
Ranking mod 15. Woohoo, I was 95th percentile, you were only 25th!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:00 AM
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Not read the whole thread, but, fwiw, the last academic job I applied for [3 or 4 years ago], a fixed term post-doc on OK but not great salary, had nearly 200 applicants. And the AOS/AOC required were reasonably restrictive. So it's not like any philosopher could have applied. So 85 doesn't sound like a lot at all.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:01 AM
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111 --Right, to come closer to the OP, in Austin you'd expect to see a better developed culture of student exploitation.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:03 AM
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re: 33 and 36

Two of my graduate school supervisors had PhDs in both physics and philosophy. They were both philosophers of physics, though. In both cases, unless I'm mis-remembering, they were philosophers who quite a way into their career decided that their interest in the philosophy of physics really required them to have 'proper' physics qualifications.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:08 AM
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34 is really something.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:12 AM
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There was an open (philosophy) position at Barnard a few years ago that received over 700 applicants, but then, open + Barnard. Though Barnard's tenure requirements are uniquely terrible.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:17 AM
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114: Yeah, I didn't quite realize it's supposed to be a course of study organized by a practicing lawyer, not just working for them while studying on your own, so it's mostly an act of charity unless they want you as their JD'd employee so badly as to consider the degree worth their time and money.

(Maybe more than one a year, but not many more. An article from 2004 says there were an estimated 30 studying at the time, but it's a four-year program.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:19 AM
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Without knowing anything, my advice would be ...(b) if she gets into a top 5 school, go to the best school you can without worrying about debt; ...

This is terrible, terrible, terrible advice.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:23 AM
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123 cont: There's zero or near-zero differentiation in job market prospects among graduates of the top five schools.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:25 AM
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To personalize: I was offered full scholarships at two top-5 law schools, and turned them both down to go to a different top-5 law school (with no scholarship at all and just a bunch of loans), and it was a terrible, terrible, terrible decision.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:28 AM
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I think it makes sense to let the market dictate law school applications, even if the result is that some lawyers don't find work immediately and/or wind up doing something else. I can't see that the individuals are harmed in being educated as to the workings of our legal system, and we all benefit from it. You can get a lawyer at a variety of price points.

Whatever is suppressing the number of doctors in this country -- residency requirements or the AMA, whatever -- should be addressed. There are probably a number of mechanisms required to make the medical field such an effective cartel.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:29 AM
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125: I'm curious as to why your choice in schools was such a terrible one. Were you unable to pay off the debt? Were people mean to you?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:33 AM
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I just meant that she should go to a top-5 law school without worrying about debt. Within the top 5 or so, if you've got a free ride one place and not a free ride at another, then go to the place with the free ride.

Also, if you really want to practice in Texas and get a free ride at UT-Austin, I'd take that over paying for absolutely any other law school.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:33 AM
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Also, rather bowled over to find there's not an accredited law school in California, regardless of ranking, that charges less than $39K/year.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:34 AM
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I also disagree somewhat with 124, but agree that there's not a significant enough difference to justify turning down a free ride.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:35 AM
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As for this "not enough postdocs" argument, I got two words: Learn to build a fuckin' death ray!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:39 AM
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125: Ouch, urple. May I ask what led you to that decision, or would that be too personalizing?

I mean, there does seem to be a reasonably large culture difference among the top five, but that's a damn lot of money to give up to live on a country club (or in NYC, or whatever).


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:49 AM
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132: my spouse didn't get into a grad school in any of the cities in which I was offered a scholarship, but did get into what was probably her top pick grad school, which was in the city of the school that I ultimately attended.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 11:54 AM
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I followed my spouse for her law school scholarship. Sometimes, I still get annoyed when I think about it, but it was unmistakably the right decision.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:16 PM
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72 Salaries in CERN are exempt from tax I believe, like all the various international organizations. And from what I remember CERN's normal employees were paid on the UN scale, complete with the CoL adjustments, meaning that they did just fine, even taking into account Geneva's insane cost of living. Not sure how the grad students and post docs fit into that though.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:17 PM
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133: I was almost in a very similar situation, but the relationship exploded before anything became final. It was all for the best.

It didn't stop me from having to move for my spouse's career, but it's certainly easier to make that decision when it doesn't cost several hundred thousand dollars. I feel for you, urple.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:33 PM
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Just checked the CERN site - a doctoral stipend is about 3800 CHF/mo. Post docs seem to pay about 5000-8000 CHF/mo if they have no dependents, more if they do. All tax free. You also get nice health benefits, travel indemnities education subsidies for your kids' education etc. My heart bleeds.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:43 PM
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Add about ten percent to get the dollar amount - i.e. doctoral stipends work out to about $50K a year after taxes.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:46 PM
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137: But those are CERN students and postdocs only, I think. There's also an army of students and postdocs at universities who are paid mostly by their home institution but basically live at CERN. They get some extra support but I'm not sure how much.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:47 PM
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You can't afford NOT to get a high-energy physics doctorate at CERN!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:47 PM
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46: pointlessly high energy physics.

That joke would have been better if I didn't wander off for several hours before explaining it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 12:53 PM
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123, 130, etc: I would have thought there's a decent case to be made that if you get into YLS, you go, even if you have a free ride to Chicago or Penn. (The fact that 85% of admitted students attend, when probably 100% have offers to everywhere else, including full-ride scholarships, indicates that they're good at persuading incoming students of this.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 1:30 PM
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YOLOS


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 1:35 PM
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142: I could see that if one aspired to legal academia--some absurd percentage of YLS grads end up in teaching gigs. But for most everything else, I'm not sure the opportunities differ enough to justify turning down a full ride to another top-5 school.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 1:58 PM
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The ironic thing about 142, of course, being that I also am one of the 15% that did not attend YLS.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 2:00 PM
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YLS seems to have done an ideal job of somehow propelling one of my old friends from high school from one high-paying job to another even though she only stuck with law for a year or so.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 2:03 PM
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"Sherman McCoy: I understand you went to Yale.

Tom Killian: Yeah. You, too. Huh?

Sherman McCoy: What did you think of it?

Tom Killian: It was okay. As law schools go. They give you the scholarly view. You know. It's terrific for anything you want to do - as long as it doesn't involve real people."

The Bonfire of the Vanities
(movie version)


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 2:20 PM
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All tax free.

Not for U.S.'ians.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 2:46 PM
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For Cern perhaps, but for the intl orgs it is. Or rather you pay your taxes, your employer reimburses you and the US government reimburses your employer. And in any case you get to deduct almost a hundred grand.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 3:14 PM
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The one guy I know who went to YLS is now a staff writer for the New Yorker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 3:19 PM
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148: not what I've heard from people working there. Maybe they were misled.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 3:19 PM
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148: But people working for some international organizations on US soil (UN, IMF) are tax-exempt by treaty - is it possible the same holds for CERN?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 4:02 PM
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Oh, maybe what I heard about was just the foreign income exclusion teraz mentioned in 149.last. Which would effectively mean that CERN postdocs from the US don't pay income taxes, not because of anything special about CERN, but just because they don't have a six-figure income.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 4:07 PM
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Or rather, don't pay taxes to the US because of that, and don't pay taxes to Switzerland because of something special about CERN?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 4:13 PM
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Right, presumably the CERN-forming treaty.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 4:18 PM
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126: Ultimately, the solution lies in the hands of the government. Straightforwardly so. Either the federal government can start funding more residencies, or state agencies can waive residency requirements. Medical groups can't or won't anything about either, except possibly help.

Everybody, including the medical establishment, recognizes the need for more primary care doctors. Nobody moreso than the primary care doctors themselves. They are the dealing with the fallout of the shortage. Before my wife left primary care, she was on call between between 1:2 and 3:4. Her hours compared with that of residency. Why? Not enough doctors.

But movement isn't really being made. While virtually nobody wants to maintain the shortage of primary care physicians, nobody really wants to do what it would take to do anything about it: increasing the residency slots (and paying for them), increasing PCP pay in comparison to specialists (either by increasing PCP or decreasing specialist compensation), or creating an army of mid-level providers and essentially turning PCP's into team leaders or managers.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 4:18 PM
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Also if you're traveling internationally for business you can deduct rent and a per diem. So if they're not their long enough for the foreign income exclusion they can probably get out of most taxes that way.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 5:40 PM
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As for this "not enough postdocs" argument, I got two words: Learn to build a fuckin' death ray!

There is, indeed, lots of funding for that.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 6:21 PM
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the field could just be over

Tell me about it. We still have recovered from that Fukuyama fuckhead.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:48 PM
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haven't

I'd blame the phone or the limp, but the truth is, I just suck at commenting.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:48 PM
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159: but when the Large Hadrian Collider comes online...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:51 PM
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160: honestly commenting by typing on your phone with your gimpy foot is pretty impressive even with a couple little mistakes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:52 PM
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120 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 6-13 7:57 PM
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I have a friend who went to a non-top-tier law school (Howard) because they offered him a full ride, and he still regrets it because of the opportunity cost. He is not a lawyer or doing any lawyering.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 5:29 AM
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164: What kind of school did he go to? I think skipping Harvard so that you can go to some other T14 on scholarship will often be the right thing to do. Skipping Harvard to go to law school at the University of Idaho for free, probably not a good idea unless you love the State of Idaho.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 8:14 AM
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What kind of school is Howard?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 8:24 AM
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Are we sure Howard is the school or is it the guy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 8:51 AM
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Or the duck?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 8:58 AM
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Doh. I completely glided over the word Howard. My bad.


Posted by: Trumwill | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 9:58 AM
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I'm not clear on what the top 5 law schools are.

I am sure that the top 3 are:

1. Yale
2. and 3. (Not sure which comes ahead) Harvard and Stanford.

What are the other two?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 12:20 PM
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Akron State and the University of Phoenix-Strip Mall near you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 12:56 PM
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QS has:

1. Harvard
2. Cambridge
3. Oxford


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 1:43 PM
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Yeah, my impression was that for law schools there's a well-defined top 1, top 3, and top 10, but top 5 isn't really a sensible notion.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 1:43 PM
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Yale probably has run of the official rankings for the foreseeable future, as it keeps its students happy by not requiring them to take much of anything, and not grading them.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 1:50 PM
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175

QS's math rankings are weird. They have schools in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and China ranked weirdly high. That makes me pretty skeptical of their quality.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 1:55 PM
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176

I'm dumb: what's QS?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:14 PM
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177

Quacquarelli Symonds, like duh


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:22 PM
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178

QS's math rankings are weird.

Some of the science ones seem off too. Are Melbourne and Singapore really better schools for chem engineering then Caltech, which isn't even in their top ten?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:26 PM
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179

Who would be more likely to marry a Real Doll, a physicist, or a lawyer?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:29 PM
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180

I poked around a bit more and it seems QS uses really dumb methodology, and runs into problems like highly ranking programs that literally don't exist. Leiter has a bunch of posts on it.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:36 PM
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181

Leiter has a bunch of posts on it.

He would, wouldn't he?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:37 PM
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182

179: The line "It seemed perfectly normal for me to treat something that resembles an organic woman the same way I'd treat an actual organic woman." is particularly disturbing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 2:47 PM
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183

A grocery chain got in trouble for thinking like that, except with the produce.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 3:13 PM
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184

182:Chobits!

"It is not a person, so it can become a person's dream."

Which may be better than trying to perceive a "real" person as a personification of your dream.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 3:29 PM
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185

Especially if you dream of necrophilia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 4:11 PM
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186

Immobile, naked, and plastic
I can do with you what I want
Push you away or kiss you
Tell you all about my bad dream
Bad dream... bad dream... bad dream

You have those same parted lips
Those same hands soothe me
Into an opening in you back I give you hot water
You are alive be so, I so want, I want so much
want so... want so...

In the ads you seem somehow distant
In the displays I keep seeing your sisters
At night I don't close your eyes
That way you look at me as I sleep
and
wound up arms embrace me
wound up legs embrace me
wound up mouth embraces me
you are alive be so I want so
want... want... want... want...

Sexy Doll by Republika (live)

Or original album version

Big Polish early eighties hit by Republika, normal level of despair, minus the normal political overtones of their/his songs. Any time I see a reference to Real Dolls the song starts running through my head.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 4:40 PM
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187

174: Well, you don't expect people to move to New Haven if they're going to have to pay to do work, do you?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 6:09 PM
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188

YLS is #1 and will continue to be so long as our economy is oriented towards rewarding tournament-winners at the expense of ... everything but. If what you care about is, "is this person able to beat everyone else at a competition that everyone else is entering, regardless of how meaningless it is, purely because it will open doors to the ruling class?" then it's not clear how they'll be knocked off their top perch. Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, and Penn seem to be the "elite but not necessarily your future rulers" category.

I know a woman who has a JD from UC Hastings--a decent law school, if not really elite--and is now one step above hourly-wage ticket-taker at a theater chain. I mean, she loves movies, but still.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09- 7-13 8:38 PM
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