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Acquiring credentials non-academically

  1. Nov 21, 2008 #1
    Question: I plan on getting an M.S. in physics en route to a PhD at a more prestigious institution, so that I'll be trained hard enough to solve the superconductivity problem. I will have my M.S., and that's all well and good...but I also understand PUBLISHING is essential to beefing up a resume/application.

    Suppose I have my M.S., how do I publish and do work in physics so that I can accumulate credentials? In fact, how do I gain access to good enough instrumentation to accomplish this? Especially since my M.S. will already be earned, and I won't be yet-affiliated with any academic institution?

    The reason I ask: I want to be a theorist, and I think the competition in that field is fierce, and you need to have high credentials (e.g., PhD from UIUC, MIT, etc.) to garner tenure at even a decent university.
     
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  3. Nov 21, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    I think what bothers me about this post is the underlying assumption that having scientific credentials is somehow divorced from scientific content.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2008 #3

    Choppy

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    I think there's a few misunderstandings as well.

    Generally, you publish based on the work you do in your master's and Ph.D. programs. If you're lucky, you might see a publication out of some work you do on a senior undergraduate project or summer project (but this is certainly an exception rather than a rule).

    Doing publishable research outside of an academic or industrial setting (ie. independently) can be extremely difficult. In general you are admitted to a PhD program based on your performance in the master's program and in your undergraduate work.

    Also, don't put too much faith in a university name.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2008 #4
    Suppose I have my M.S., how do I publish and do work in physics so that I can accumulate credentials? In fact, how do I gain access to good enough instrumentation to accomplish this? Especially since my M.S. will already be earned, and I won't be yet-affiliated with any academic institution?

    Why didn't you do publishable research during your hypothetical masters? Seriously, you're getting ahead of yourself.

    Also, while pedigree does matter quite a bit in theoretical work, it's certainly not the end all - that's a very damaging attitude to have. (A Ph.D. from Harvard will probably beat out a superior scientist from Big State University, all else being equal... but all else is rarely equal, and a letter to the hiring committee from a respected colleague is worth it's weight in degrees from MIT.)
     
  6. Nov 22, 2008 #5
    Okay, that kind of takes the pressure off of me. If it's true what you say, then I don't need a big-name university PhD to put together a competitive CV to teach and research at the institution of my choice. Actually, MIT etc. would be nice to get into, but I don't think I am cut out for places like that...though, I would "make myself cut out for them" if I needed to in order to pursue my dream-job of being a professor. We shall see...

    BJN
     
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