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Is it equally as hard to get into a National Lab as it is in Academia?

  1. Jul 12, 2010 #1
    The theme seems to be that Academia positions are far and few between, so it that the same for National Labs too? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2010 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes and no. National labs are competing for the same pool of applicants as universities, and there are certain advantages - more research time, usually better infrastructure, and often somewhat better salaries, if only by 12/11ths.

    On the other hand, National Labs are big, and as such have advantages - they can usually hire when the person they want is available rather than waiting for a line position in the right subfield, and they can afford to take on more specialized people than a university can.
  4. Jul 12, 2010 #3
    The national labs have had a good bit of stimulus dollars the last few years which they have used to hire people. It will be interesting to see what happens when those dollars run out.

    I would say it is a bit easier to find employment at national labs. From the people I've talked to they are always looking for talented people.
  5. Jul 12, 2010 #4
    This is something I've been wondering a lot about myself. Becoming a tenured professor is usually considered a long and extremely difficult path. But is becoming a researcher at a National Lab comparably hard? Is it something that should only be sought after by the extremely determined who are willing to sacrifice a lot?

    I personally am simply hoping to make a living doing physics. I just don't want to have to sacrifice too much of my family life to do so, which is why I'm mostly considering industry and national labs. Unfortunately, it seems to be difficult to find much information on positions in national labs.
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