Don't Become a Scientist Email

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http://www.physics.wustl.edu/~katz/scientist.html [Broken]


Don't Become a Scientist!

Jonathan I. Katz

Professor of Physics

Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

[my last name]@wuphys.wustl.edu


Are you thinking of becoming a scientist? Do you want to uncover the mysteries of nature, perform experiments or carry out calculations to learn how the world works? Forget it!

Science is fun and exciting. The thrill of discovery is unique. If you are smart, ambitious and hard working you should major in science as an undergraduate. But that is as far as you should take it. After graduation, you will have to deal with the real world. That means that you should not even consider going to graduate school in science. Do something else instead: medical school, law school, computers or engineering, or something else which appeals to you.

Jonathan Katz
Thu May 13 12:39:11 CDT 1999
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I saw this on College Confidential
 
  • #3
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I saw this on College Confidential??

which college??
 
  • #4
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Oh, this isn't good, especially considering that I just got into grad school...in physics. Well, I guess it's a good thing that I'm considering going into a teaching career rather than a research one. I wasn't sure that's the best idea after spending five to seven years on a PhD, but after this guy's description of research careers, maybe it is. Still, I hope his assessment on the demand for physicists is incorrect.

Incidentally I found this quote hilarious.

Leave graduate school to people from India and China, for whom the prospects at home are even worse.
Just because it matches the description of all my relatives in India extremely well! The only thing he got wrong is that these days, those guys tend to shoot for med school rather than grad school.
 
  • #5
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lol........my relatvies from india too....

well im also still doing a degree in physics...
was thinking going into teaching......

now iv just had a carrer minded change....

wana go into property development
 
  • #6
905
4
lol........my relatvies from india too....

well im also still doing a degree in physics...
was thinking going into teaching......

now iv just had a carrer minded change....

wana go into property development
Aw, don't let one disgruntled physicist turn you away. I'm sure it's not that bad. From the research I did as an undergrad, I think I'd consider grad school to be a fun experience by itself. So even if I go through five years of school to prepend "Dr." to my name only to teach community college or even (gasp!) high school, I still wouldn't view it as wasted time or effort.

Besides that, I can't represent India all by myself. Heck, I'm not even really all that Indian. I was born over here, and the only accent I have is a slight Minnesotan accent. So I wouldn't mind doing whatever it takes to flood the world of physics with (real) Indians.
 
  • #7
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well metoo born here, london,uk.

im still hoping to finish my physics degree , later on i will gointo prperty development,,,
 
  • #8
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LOL the amount of times this has been discussed ......look at previous discussions to see more.
 
  • #9
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michealsmith , can you please post the links to simlar disscusion like this
 
  • #10
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The 'information' outlined above is quite biased.

Getting a PhD in Physics does not mean that your only career option is to do research in one narrow area. Not only does it span several research areas, physicists have other sections available as a career options, including the industry, development and stock markets.
 
  • #11
JasonRox
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The 'information' outlined above is quite biased.

Getting a PhD in Physics does not mean that your only career option is to do research in one narrow area. Not only does it span several research areas, physicists have other sections available as a career options, including the industry, development and stock markets.
Exactly. It's so easy to scare people away from Physics.
 
  • #12
G01
Homework Helper
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This information is close to a decade old now...isn't it. I find it hard to believe things were this bad in the first place. And hopefully 8 years later, the situation has improved.
 
  • #13
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physicists in experimental condensed matter physics and photonics seem to have no trouble finding jobs in industry. People don't have to stay in post-docs for 10 years....there are other options...they just don't want to accept those options.
 
  • #14
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I have known more people whose lives have been ruined by getting a Ph.D. in physics than by drugs.
well... I doubt a Physics professor will spend much time on the streets in New York or LA, so the chances of that are pretty stacked....:rolleyes:
 
  • #15
This may not hold direct relevence to the proposed question. But did anyone else go back a directory in the address bar (public-html). And look at his other essays. This guy is horrible.

http://wuphys.wustl.edu/~katz/defense.html [Broken]

This was just disgusting.

Also, when looking at someone's essay on the state of science, look at what he has done in the last decade. His work is lacking. I think it is wise to not trust anything he says blindly (this should never be done anyway). Look up the information for yourself.

More to the point, if you enjoy physics, you should do it.
 
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  • #16
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Jonathon Katz said:
When you are in your thirties you will need more: a house in a good school district and all the other necessities of ordinary middle class life.
This guy has blinkers on. Do all physicists want kids? Does everyone have to follow Jonathon Katz's rat-race model of life?

http://wuphys.wustl.edu/~katz/defense.html [Broken]
Jonathon Katz said:
I am a homophobe, and proud
This guy also has issues...
 
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  • #17
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
19,028
2,411
Re: Don't Become a Scientist!

or is it, 'Don't do a PhD'.


Seems out of place for PF, but certainly when faced with the rigour of an advanced degree, one must wonder if the struggle is worth it.

On the other hand, Katz is still working at WUStl, although his frequency of publishing seems to be decreasing, or his list of publications is not being updated - in seven years.

I would recommend getting an advanced degree in Physics or Engineering discipline of one's choice. But find a good program, which means doing the research as to who and what departments are doing what research in which one might be interested.

And yes - it is hard work - especially if one expects to become competent or a leader in one's field.

Couperin said:
This guy also has issues...
Yes, he certainly does.
 
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  • #18
cristo
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Wow, how is this guy a professor of physics? Consider this comment, for example,
Jonathon Katz said:
I have known more people whose lives have been ruined by getting a Ph.D. in physics than by drugs.
What relevance does this have to the article? I know more people who live on my street in england than I do that live in the entire united states. Does this imply that there are more people living on my street that there are living in the US? Moreover, would I ever use such a comment to try and back up an argument of some sort? Erm... no!
 
  • #19
Tom Mattson
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I have known more people whose lives have been ruined by getting a Ph.D. in physics than by drugs.
:rofl: He must not know that many people who are on drugs. Or maybe there are shady characters cruising around his neighborhood pushing PhD's.

Psssst. Hey kid! Want to try a PhD in physics? Come on, it'll make ya feel good!
 
  • #20
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I read the original unedited post and was quite shocked. Glad to see other people have a more balanced view.
Here's my take on the issue:
My dad is a professor of finance and here in India it is not one of the highest paying jobs. However I have never heard him say that he regretted getting a Ph.d instead of getting a job in a bank like most of his friends did. And the money isn't bad at all, we a pretty well off. And he advises his students to get graduate degrees because it pays off in the long run.
 

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