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How many hours a day do physicists spend with their girlfrields?

  1. less than 1 hour a day

    11 vote(s)
  2. 1-2 hours a day

    3 vote(s)
  3. 2-3 hours a day

    0 vote(s)
  4. 3-4 hours a day

    3 vote(s)
  5. 4-5 hours a day

    0 vote(s)
  6. 5-6 hours a day

    1 vote(s)
  7. 6-7 hours a day

    2 vote(s)
  8. 7-8 hours a day

    0 vote(s)
  9. 8-9 hours a day

    0 vote(s)
  10. 10 or more hours a day

    4 vote(s)
  1. May 14, 2009 #1
    I am 29 years old. I have just completted my ph.d. in physics (my thesis was on a rather obscure approach to quantum gravity, called causal set theory). I am starting a post-doctoral position in India.

    Anyway, I have recurrent fight with my girlfriend regarding the fact that I overfocus on physics and don't give her enough time. From her point of view, the working day is 8 hours, and she allows me to work a lot more than that: all she asks me is to give her 4 hours a day and at least one weekend. However, when I talked to my former thesis advisor about it, he said he barely spends any time with his wife at all. From his point of view, it is hard for people who are outside of physics to understand that you can do research outside of the lab (my girlfriend is in biochemistry), but it is normal for people in theoretical physics to work as much as I do. However, my girlfriend pointed it out to me that she knows two people who are also graduate students in physics department, and both of them spend far more time socializing than me. She also pointed out that when I went to one of the conferences, people socialized with each other. From her point of view, this indicates that in general they are more willing to socialize than me; I don't have evidence one way or the other.

    So I would like to make an opinion poll and get objective evidence. How many hours a day do physicists on my level spend with their girlfriends?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2009 #2
    It depends on how much they love them.
  4. May 14, 2009 #3
    4 hours a day? That's insane. I'd go crazy spending 4 hours a day with anyone - day in day out.
  5. May 14, 2009 #4


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    This isn't a case of the mythical average physicist dating the mythical average physicist's girlfriend. This is a case of you dating your girlfriend. It's dangerous to oversimplify things in any analysis -- e.g. the classic "assume a spherical cow".
  6. May 14, 2009 #5


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    This poll is also very sexist. It automatically assumes that physicists are either straight males, promiscuous straight males cheating on their wives, or lesbians!


  7. May 14, 2009 #6
    I'm in the same age range, currently working on my PhD in computer vision. My work is highly theoretical...so I know what you mean about not being able to stop at 6 pm. Actually, I think it's a lot worse being in computer science because a simple idea can often take hundreds of hours of programming to validate. I recently had a similar argument with my girlfriend. She didn't think we spent enough time together, whereas I was finding it difficult to get work done due to the amount of time I was spending with her.
  8. May 15, 2009 #7
    get rid of the gf and you can have all the time you want...


    If you want to keep her because you have fun together and she makes you happy, then rethink your life and decide which makes you happier.

    You have about 10 years left of girlfriends and good party times. Then you'll be 40 and life will be very different. then you'll still have (depending on where you live) about another 30 years to do full time physics.

    Time management!
  9. May 15, 2009 #8


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    It depends on our level of entanglement
  10. May 15, 2009 #9


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    I never really counted time.

    I don't know. I hate when people try to quantify "love" and feelings like that. That's ******** in my books.
  11. May 15, 2009 #10
    lets assume that the physicist actually has a girl friend,

    now we take the second derivative of the hotness of the girl and find the sum of his

    i don't bloody know

  12. May 15, 2009 #11
    Find a partner in your field, with your exact interests. Work on the same project and the next poll will be, how much time is reasonable to take off for myself?
  13. May 15, 2009 #12
    There are
    75 people in my physics lectures,
    3 are girls

  14. May 15, 2009 #13
    I spent a few hours with a physicist's girlfriend once. Don't tell my wife.
  15. May 15, 2009 #14


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    I think the actual amount of time is probably irrelevant (not to mention that 3-4 hours every day is really dreaming, even for people with normal jobs).

    Maybe what really bugs her is your priority system. Is she always second priority? Any time you spend with her has to be scheduled around your physics work? If something comes up at work, you're always willing to cancel any plans you had with her? Or are there at least some instances where you'll spend time with her even though you know it will put you behind in your work, meaning you have to make up that time somewhere, etc?

    If she does rank second and there is a huge gap between your first priority and second priority, then that's fine. I think she just wants to know exactly where she stands so she can decide whether or not that's how she wants to live her life.
  16. May 15, 2009 #15
    And whilst you was having your little fling jimmy your wife was having her little fling.It wasn't me honestly.I think it was the next person who answers this thread.
  17. May 15, 2009 #16
    Just wondered how everything is going here.Whoops.....damm......oh what a giveaway.Time to put on my running shoes.
  18. May 15, 2009 #17
    Actually, the statement that she "comes second" is exact complaint she says, in her own words! I try to tell her then that, in my heart, she is first, it is just the specific stressors that come at the times when I overfocus. Her response to that is that priority system should be judged by the actions. So, based on that latter statement, how can you say that "actual amount of time is probably irrelevant"? Also, you said "3-4 hours every day is really dreaming, even for people with normal jobs". If such was true, why would "my actions" show she is second if I refuse to do that?
  19. May 15, 2009 #18
    I am not doing that. I love my girlfriend and I want to be with her. I just want to find a way to be able to have my girlfriend, and not compromise physics either. There are other people who do it -- most professors in physics department have wifes. So may be there is some trick they can use


    Actually, I also think about the age thing, and that is the exact thing that makes me want to spend MORE time on physics. Even if I do spend my years before 40 partying, there are no positive consequences to it after I am 40. On the other hand, if I do research and have some publications, they will stay with me forever.

    Also, I am not a big party person. My reasons to having a girlfriend can be fulfilled by a wife no matter how old I might be. On the other hand, as a physicist I would probably be less productive after I am 40. Even if I will be one of the fewer people who retain their productivity at the older age, and, as you put, still have 30 more years to go, I would have still lost 25% of my time, which is a lot.

    This can not be said about a wife. When I am 70 I will be at the same place family-wise, whehter I had my wife since 30 or since 40. On the other hand, if I do the partying between 30 and 40, I will have less publications by the time I am 70. No matter how great my productivity might be after 40, I would still look back at 30-40 time and say I could have done even more.
  20. May 15, 2009 #19


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    She obviously doesn't understand the importance of your work to you. If she can't handle that then maybe you shouldn't be together. Its either that or get a less demanding job.
  21. May 15, 2009 #20
    The reason I presented it that way is because I had discussions with my gf of how much time she will require "on a long run" (including several years from now). This means that this has nothing to do with circumstances now and more to do with what she expects in general.
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