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Don't Become a Scientist!

  1. Mar 20, 2013 #1
    "Don't Become a Scientist!"

    First of all, I'd like to say that I'm an undergraduate physics student in Florida. I would like to go on to get a PhD in physics, but my knowledge on what to expect after that is quite limited. A friend of mine recently sent me an article written by Jonathan I. Katz, a professor of physics at Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. It is called "Don't Become a Scientist!"(http://wuphys.wustl.edu/~katz/scientist.html [Broken]). In the article, Professor Katz not only discourages students from pursuing PhDs in physics but also from pursuing science-focused PhD's in general. To anyone willing to take time to read the article, I would like to hear your opinion on the subject. For those of you who actually have or are attempting to get your PhD, I'd appreciate your point of view on this, especially. I'd rather a realistic perspective over a pessimistic one, and with this author it's hard to discern the realistic from the pessimistic. The best way I know how to achieve this is to seek out the people in this specific position themselves.
     
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  3. Mar 20, 2013 #2

    ZapperZ

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  4. Mar 20, 2013 #3

    atyy

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    There have been similar discussions like https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=576359.

    I am not a physicist, but am sympathetic to the point of view expressed by Choppy in #4 of that thread. I believe that having lots of PhDs is good because knowledge is power, and experimentation done carefully and correctly is a way of getting knowledge. One can do science outside of academia, of course, eg. in baseball, but academic science is a route. I think having fewer PhDs would make scientists more elite, when one actually wants the opposite, having wide scientific literacy in the public. Again, having a PhD is not the only way to be scientifically literate, but it is a way.

    I also recommend twofish-quant's and ParticleGrl's posts.
     
  5. Mar 21, 2013 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Since we already have (several) open threads, discussion should go on there.
     
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