Will I need a coin?

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Helio
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Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:15 pm

So another one of these threads, but I have been tearing my hair out quicker than it can fall out by itself and I am pretty much desperate for any advice. So am stuck in the crux of broader research selection vs. money and what future a field has. My story goes as such:

I got stuck with a "little innovation here" field for most of my undergrad research (Local Helioseismology) and my home department has mostly theory people (and string theory at that). Now I had a summer internship in Double-Beta decay and loved it, so i decided to take the shot gun out and apply to both astronomy and physics programs, for either solar/stellar physics/astronomy or particle physics... yeah i know brilliant of me. I had bad season with a lot of waitlists and 3 acceptances (two in particle physics and one is stellar spectroscopy).

I have now kicked Penn State off my list because I can simply can't over the location. The department was great, the people were great, I just can't see myself living "centrally isolated." And the people that i wanted to work with all came from my other choice Madison. I just came back from Madison and had a great time (well besides the unexplainable cuts after I ahm "walked" to the hotel and the 3.5 hour delay on my flight because of 6 inches of snow in Chicago and Madison... Ohare will remain the worst airport in the world for me). The faculty seemed genuinely interested in new students and were very attentive to any awkward questions you might ask. The groups I am interested in working with are mostly HEP and UHEP (PeV) experiment. Here is the problem, I have worked in a collaboration style group only for a short time and as a grad student you are the bottom of the pecking order and sorta have a thesis topic handed to you from what I can tell when I read titles. On the other hand, I can go back to Europe for 3 years and I have a pretty secure post doc depending on with whom I work. So yeah the pros and cons are about equal in that respect, but my question is the "beyond LHC" perspective of particle physics. The ILC is a nice idea, but who will throw money at that and what will happen to astroparticle after IceCube and Pierre Auger (north and south). They all say astroparticle is the coming field, but that is what everybody says about their respective field.

Against the particle crowd at Penn State and Madison stands UT Astronomy in stellar spectroscopy. I am mostly interesting in working in something between either asteroseismology or stellar composition, two sort of established fields (the latter more than the former). This said their retention rate of 83% is impressive (i dunno about the other two) and people I would work with are established themselves as very good people. The resources are very good compared to other places because of the observatory and the amount of time students get on it (one of the students has booked 90 nights this year). this also means that there is money lying around. I would not have to TA necessarily and I could get funding for any conference trips etc. (i have not heard anything like that from the other schools). The thesis/research is pretty much up to me and I can rum with the topic. The problem is that everything is ground-based. I only heard of one grad student working with space data and honestly even with TMT and GMT space just gives better data (i have dealt with ground data for three years now, it sucks). that said, I am not quiet sure about the post doc chances and later work, since one person at Madison told me that there were 150 applicants for a single astronomy faculty spot at Washington State.

And now weird part of this all... money.... the Madison stipend lets face it is at the very low end with ~17.5k per year (i am considering the fees i am supposed to pay and taxes), while UT offers me up to 11k per year more. Just to clarify, Austin and Madison have 3% difference in cost and are ranked #2 and #3 most livable city in the US, so they are pretty much the same except for the weather of course.

The money is bothering me a lot because i heard some talk about 10k fellowships that are lying around but only for domestic students. On the other hand, the job security (and funding security-Madison guarantees 5 years) might outweigh the monetary difference, but I am not quiet sure in that. To boil it down.... what is the future of particle physics beyond LHC, etc. compared to astronomy? should i say *** it and take the job security over the extra 150 bucks a month? and just general opinion on this...

and dlenmn, you are not allowed to answer until you have had a your barleyos or beeryos.

dsperka
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dsperka » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:53 pm

I can help you understand how your your money will go. I had about $12,000 in savings at this time last year because of a nice scholarship, and probably made about $2,000 last summer working. Since school started I haven't had any source of income. Right now I have about $3,000 left. So considering that for three months of summer I was spending money and making it, maybe I had like ~$10,000 once school started, so thats just about $1,000 a month. And how have I been living? I have no complaints, I get healthy but cheap food from the grocery store, don't eat out that much. I do have a budget for the beer though :D . I don't have a car either, share a pretty nice two bedroom apartment downtown, and have bought two round trip tickets to California. Plus I've had to pay some of my tuition, which you won't have to do. So I'd say I don't need any more money than what I've had, of course it would be nice to have it but like I said I have no complaints.

So I think that you can/should focus more on what research you want to do, because in my opinion $17K is actually plenty for Madison. I don't really know anything about astronomy, but I do know that I personally don't find neutrino research that exciting. But if you came to UW, you could always switch to something else if you ever wanted to, the diversity of research is huge.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:27 pm

dsperka wrote:I can help you understand how your your money will go. I had about $12,000 in savings at this time last year because of a nice scholarship, and probably made about $2,000 last summer working. Since school started I haven't had any source of income. Right now I have about $3,000 left. So considering that for three months of summer I was spending money and making it, maybe I had like ~$10,000 once school started, so thats just about $1,000 a month. And how have I been living? I have no complaints, I get healthy but cheap food from the grocery store, don't eat out that much. I do have a budget for the beer though :D . I don't have a car either, share a pretty nice two bedroom apartment downtown, and have bought two round trip tickets to California. Plus I've had to pay some of my tuition, which you won't have to do. So I'd say I don't need any more money than what I've had, of course it would be nice to have it but like I said I have no complaints.

So I think that you can/should focus more on what research you want to do, because in my opinion $17K is actually plenty for Madison. I don't really know anything about astronomy, but I do know that I personally don't find neutrino research that exciting. But if you came to UW, you could always switch to something else if you ever wanted to, the diversity of research is huge.


thanks for the info.... i dunno i get along with 950 bucks a month in LA atm, but i am sharing a room in a cheap (read mold invested) 2-bedroom... if i go i will be look at 2-bedroom apartments to share anyway...

bigdmiller
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby bigdmiller » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:10 pm

Helio wrote: I just came back from Madison and had a great time (well besides the unexplainable cuts after I ahm "walked" to the hotel...


Wear shoes next time Helio. Unfortunatley, I don't have much wisdom for you. I am very familiar with Austin and much prefer the weather there than Madison which would be (and was) an important part of my decision (if you are who I think you might be then you don't let the weather bother you at all). If I had two schools that were fairly equal academically (and liked the faculty, etc.) I would go with my strongest academic interest, then environment, then money, then other stuff. It is a hard choice but not one that will ruin your academic future as they're both great institutions. Good luck.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:07 pm

bigdmiller wrote:
Helio wrote: I just came back from Madison and had a great time (well besides the unexplainable cuts after I ahm "walked" to the hotel...


Wear shoes next time Helio. Unfortunatley, I don't have much wisdom for you. I am very familiar with Austin and much prefer the weather there than Madison which would be (and was) an important part of my decision (if you are who I think you might be then you don't let the weather bother you at all). If I had two schools that were fairly equal academically (and liked the faculty, etc.) I would go with my strongest academic interest, then environment, then money, then other stuff. It is a hard choice but not one that will ruin your academic future as they're both great institutions. Good luck.


it was actually on my hand not my feet and who am i according to you... the weather is the least of my worries.

bigdmiller
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby bigdmiller » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:38 pm

Helio wrote:it was actually on my hand not my feet and who am i according to you... the weather is the least of my worries.


Oh, there was a guy who was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes!!!

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dlenmn
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dlenmn » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:29 pm

Helio wrote:and dlenmn, you are not allowed to answer until you have had a your barleyos or beeryos.


Ok, I'll chime in after breakfast then!

bigdmiller wrote:Oh, there was a guy who was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes!!!


Indeed. And he said he was only wearing the t-shirt for modesty -- he usually doesn't wear it around campus... I want him to come here so I can see what he does on a day where it doesn't get above 0 Fahrenheit.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:29 am

bigdmiller wrote:
Helio wrote:it was actually on my hand not my feet and who am i according to you... the weather is the least of my worries.


Oh, there was a guy who was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes!!!


nope, I was not the guy looking for pneumonia. :P


i was the guy with the beard like Barbarossa... and i actually prefer the cold

bigdmiller wrote:Oh, there was a guy who was walking around in shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes!!!


Indeed. And he said he was only wearing the t-shirt for modesty -- he usually doesn't wear it around campus... I want him to come here so I can see what he does on a day where it doesn't get above 0 Fahrenheit.[/quote]

well i hope you guys have heating blankets for him or some dose of reality :P

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grae313
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby grae313 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:15 am

You said it works out to an extra $150 a month in money difference? I would let that factor in, as others have said here. Go with what research you are most interested in.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:30 pm

grae313 wrote:You said it works out to an extra $150 a month in money difference? I would let that factor in, as others have said here. Go with what research you are most interested in.


I dunno the exact tax rate, so 150 to 200 because of taxes and what not.

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grae313
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby grae313 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:04 pm

Helio wrote:
grae313 wrote:You said it works out to an extra $150 a month in money difference? I would let that factor in, as others have said here. Go with what research you are most interested in.


I dunno the exact tax rate, so 150 to 200 because of taxes and what not.


Oops, I meant to say I wouldn't let that factor in. Really in the long run, it's not important and I think the cost of living is low enough that you will be fine either way.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:35 pm

just tossed a coin 10 times and i got a 5-5 draw... even the physics gods are against me

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dlenmn
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:14 pm

Coins aren't as random as they're cracked up to be. I recommend this.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:45 pm

On average that comes out to .5 to .5 as well...

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dlenmn
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:53 pm

No kidding. Were you expecting loaded virtual coins? Real coins aren't really 50-50 once you know which side starts up, that's the point of the article. Even without that knowledge, there's some evidence that real coins are biased.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:04 am

dlenmn wrote:No kidding. Were you expecting loaded virtual coins? Real coins aren't really 50-50 once you know which side starts up, that's the point of the article. Even without that knowledge, there's some evidence that real coins are biased.


i actually hate random number generators.... ohh well couple more days of contemplation ahead of me

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quizivex
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby quizivex » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:12 am

helio wrote:just tossed a coin 10 times and i got a 5-5 draw... even the physics gods are against me


A physicist's solution to the problem:

Toss the coin 9 times :wink:

Edit: BTW, I have the hardest time saying "coin toss" correctly out loud. Ever since my mom messed up and said "Did they do the toin coss yet" before a football game in 2006, I've been screwing it up too, haha!

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:15 am

quizivex wrote:
helio wrote:just tossed a coin 10 times and i got a 5-5 draw... even the physics gods are against me


A physicist's solution to the problem:

Toss the coin 9 times :wink:



no the physicist solution would be to take the sample out to infinity and see that it is 0.5 :lol:

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dlenmn
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:18 am

I'd make peace with them, since they'll probably decide your future one way or another (see 4:13).

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:31 am

dlenmn wrote:I'd make peace with them, since they'll probably decide your future one way or another (see 4:13).



that was the man sized oven? missed that one... can i cook my advisor in that if he/she/it pisses me off? and where the *** are those showers?

There is no such thing as peace in teh physics world... Condensed Matter will always be the dark side

valloein
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby valloein » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:56 am

dlenmn wrote:Coins aren't as random as they're cracked up to be. I recommend this.


THAT probably uses the mersenne twister or some such thingy
What you really need is http://www.idquantique.com/products/quantis.htm
:mrgreen:

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dlenmn
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:51 am

valloein wrote:THAT probably uses the mersenne twister


That might be true, except for the fact that it's not.

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dlenmn
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:58 am

Helio wrote:There is no such thing as peace in teh physics world... Condensed Matter will always be the dark side


If you only knew the power of the Dark Side.

The shower (singular) is in the basement. Very convenient actually, although not normally used in that fashion. The oven doesn't appear to be connected, but if you're handy with a wrench, that possibility remains.

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Helio
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Re: Will I need a coin?

Postby Helio » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:02 pm

dlenmn wrote:
Helio wrote:There is no such thing as peace in teh physics world... Condensed Matter will always be the dark side


If you only knew the power of the Dark Side.

The shower (singular) is in the basement. Very convenient actually, although not normally used in that fashion. The oven doesn't appear to be connected, but if you're handy with a wrench, that possibility remains.


The particle physics experiment i want to work with at least works for now (well it isn't complete yet)... I always like a challenge to torture my advisor




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