Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics PhD Crisis?

  1. Nov 10, 2011 #1
    Is there a good book or article on why the numbers of PhDs per capita in physics have been plummeting over the years? Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2011 #2
    I don't have one but I can take a stab at it. Physics doesn't make you a whole lot of money. Having a PhD more likely limits the amount of jobs that you can attain. Either companies wont want to pay you the salary that a doctor deserves, or even if you would accept a lower salary they would think its likely that you would quit for a better job.

    EDIT: A BSc in physics is too theoretical and specialized for most industry positions already, a PhD sounds like overkill to me. However, I used to work with a couple of Physics PhDs, and they are ridiculously knowledgeable and indispensable to the company.
  4. Nov 11, 2011 #3
    From Lee Smolin's Physics Today article "http://physicstoday.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_58/iss_6/56_1.shtml" [Broken]," he notes that "The mechanisms we have constructed to ensure fairness and quality have the unintended side effect of putting people of unusual creativity and independence at a disadvantage." These disadvantages are:
    His solutions are:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Nov 11, 2011 #4
    I don't know if this is true. It's been going up and down over the last fifty years.
  6. Nov 11, 2011 #5
    I disagree with that. VP at a investment bank makes $250K/year. I know of a few people at the managing director level that make close to or perhaps more than $1M/year.
  7. Nov 11, 2011 #6
    One problem is that I don't see that many Swiss Patent office jobs around. It's possible to get a nice job in industry, but employers expect you to work 50-60/hours week which means that there is no time to do anything outside of work.

    People with the uncanny ability to ask new questions or recognized unexamined assumptions or who are able to take ideas from one field and apply them to another, end up asking themselves why the hell they want to work as a post-doc when they could be making five times as much money working elsewhere.

    You can have people find their own jobs. The problem is not money but time. I've got more than enough money to set up a research program. The thing I don't have is time. My boss wants me to work on his problems, and I have to eat.
  8. Nov 12, 2011 #7
    I think he means doing actual physics doesn't make you alot of money, I know you say you think what you do in finance is physics but I would call it applied math rather than physics, at best econophysics.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook