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How many degrees is enough?

  1. Jan 6, 2009 #1

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    or What to do after a BS in Physics.

    Education - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_D._Griffin

    Dr. Griffin holds seven degrees, and is pursuing his eighth. In chronological order of attainment, Dr. Griffin's degrees include:

    Code (Text):
    Degree Year    Academic field                       University
    BS     1971    Physics                              Johns Hopkins University              
    MS     1974    Aerospace Science                    The Catholic University of America    
    PhD    1977    Aerospace Engineering                University of Maryland, College Park  
    MEng   1979    Electrical Engineering               University of Southern California    
    MS     1983    Applied Physics                      Johns Hopkins University              
    MBA            Master of Business Administration    Loyola College in Maryland  
    MEng   1998    Civil Engineering                    The George Washington University
    Dr. Griffin was also working toward an MS in computer science at Johns Hopkins University before being appointed as NASA chief. He has worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab and APL. Dr. Griffin has been a professor at various universities, teaching courses in spacecraft design, applied mathematics, guidance and navigation, compressible flow, computational fluid dynamics, spacecraft altitude control, astrodynamics, and introductory aerospace engineering. He is the lead author of more than two dozen technical papers, and is co-author with James R. French of the graduate astronautical engineering textbook, "Space Vehicle Design." ISBN 1-56347-539-1 Dr. Griffin is also a general aviation flight instructor and pilot, and part-owner of a small airplane.

    Dr. Griffin official bio - http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/griffin_bio.html

    Work diligently.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2009 #2
    Three comments:

    1) Why would you go back and get degrees in related fields after getting a Ph.D.? (i.e. I can understand the MBA... but why the MS degrees in other fields of engineering?) I understand they are in different fields of engineering... but still... it seems mildly cheap.

    2) Isn't this the same guy whose wife started a petition for him to stay as NASA chief? (Sweet. Did he try to keep taking classes to avoid his home life?)

    3) I'm still mildly peeved that my sister (with two BS's, an MS, a Ph.D. and an MD) has 1 more degree than me (note only my BS and Ph.D. are in the same field... physics, I have intermediate degrees in engineering and education... so I think I'm not double-dipping in the same field too much). I should have taken that one dumb 500-level introductory math methods course I skipped in my Ph.D. program; it was required for the meaningless intermediate master's in physics (but not the Ph.D.), and it would have tied me with her! Should I go get a law degree? Probably. If not for the esteem then for the $$$. I'll wait til we settle ourselves at some uni with a good program and good tuition waivers for spouses.
     
  4. Jan 6, 2009 #3
    Wow...

    Are these type of people super geniuses that get paid to go to college?
     
  5. Jan 6, 2009 #4
    It's actually a form of mental illness.

    (I say that as someone with a mild case... I'll get my fourth degree this spring.)
     
  6. Jan 6, 2009 #5

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    I believe it was a colleague who started the petition, but apparenly Griffin's wife has asked Obama to retain her husband.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/KeepMike/index.html
    Apparently the petition was started by Scott "Doc" Horowitz
     
  7. Jan 6, 2009 #6
    You know, I've always thought that after I get my physics PhD, I might just avoid the real world by going to med school after bouncing around in a couple of postdocs. Now I have a role model!
     
  8. Jan 8, 2009 #7
    He went to some pretty hardcore Catholic universities.
     
  9. Jan 8, 2009 #8
    So I guess there's not just a Protestant work ethic, eh? :biggrin:
     
  10. Jan 8, 2009 #9

    j93

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    For his age that is not that many papers. Im assuming hes slightly above 24 pubs. He doesnt have any focus. Going to get another MEng is like playing an rpg all over after you beat it, I dont see the point.
     
  11. Jan 8, 2009 #10

    stewartcs

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    Maybe the guy just has a desire for knowledge. Perhaps it is his hobby.

    CS
     
  12. Jan 8, 2009 #11

    Redbelly98

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    Homework Helper

    Perhaps, but once you have earned that Ph.D. you should be able to learn anything you want by self-study.
     
  13. Jan 8, 2009 #12

    j93

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    I agree. I thought the point of a PhD was to show specialization in a field you hopefully would work in therefore it makes sense for universities to provide grants for study. Somebody should calculate the amount of grant money that must have been used in the process of granting that many degrees.
     
  14. Jan 8, 2009 #13
    Please tell me she got double credit for most of that coursework/research between the PhD and MD
     
  15. Jan 8, 2009 #14

    stewartcs

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    Who says you need a Ph.D to learn by self-study?

    CS
     
  16. Jan 8, 2009 #15

    stewartcs

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    How do you know he received a grant?

    CS
     
  17. Jan 8, 2009 #16

    Redbelly98

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    Nobody that I'm aware of. It's not necessary, but it is sufficient.
     
  18. Jan 9, 2009 #17

    j93

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    I would hope he received some type of funding that wasnt loans. Unless he used loans to pay somebody was investing with either the intent of creating a new professional in the field that is granting the advanced degree or I guess in this case to get exposure by being another notch for this person but in the latter case universities should just award more honorary degrees if they want exposure.
     
  19. Jan 9, 2009 #18
    Perhaps, but it's still easier to do it in a classroom setting. It imposes a certain discipline and keeps you making steady progress. On your own, it's too easy to get bogged down on one detail or another at the expense of the larger picture.
     
  20. Jan 9, 2009 #19
    Well, I have noticed Dr.Griffin education background years ago...
    There's one thing I can't get it.. what is the currently Guinness World Records for "who held the most academic titles"?
     
  21. Jan 9, 2009 #20

    stewartcs

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    Plus you have an official record of your accomplishment.

    CS
     
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