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HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:47 pm
by hermitw
I spoke to a HET prof at an top 6-10 university and he said that students in HET usually have to teach every semester and profs only pay for summer research. He also said that in another top 5 university the "best deal" one can get is to teach half the time. While I understand that it is harder for theorists to get RA than experimentalist, I didn't expect it to be so hard. Sure it differs case by case, but how about the general case in HET? And how about CMT? Any view is appreciated~

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:26 am
by bfollinprm
That professor knows his stuff. Almost all 'pure theory' students TA every semester, with exceptions rare and mostly due to getting some departmental fellowship. Outside the top schools, it won't be uncommon for you to TA during the summer as well. This is one reason why the theorists at your undergrad institution probably made better teachers...they get a lot of practice.

By 'pure theory' I mean speculative model building. There are also self-identified theorists (such as myself) working tightly with experimental groups on phenomenology, or on interpreting data. These groups tend to have money, which means less teaching. Computational groups also tend to get grants on occasion.

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:09 am
by hermitw
bfollinprm wrote:That professor knows his stuff. Almost all 'pure theory' students TA every semester, with exceptions rare and mostly due to getting some departmental fellowship. Outside the top schools, it won't be uncommon for you to TA during the summer as well. This is one reason why the theorists at your undergrad institution probably made better teachers...they get a lot of practice.

By 'pure theory' I mean speculative model building. There are also self-identified theorists (such as myself) working tightly with experimental groups on phenomenology, or on interpreting data. These groups tend to have money, which means less teaching. Computational groups also tend to get grants on occasion.

Thanks! Do you know the situation in CMT?

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:26 pm
by bfollinprm
Pretty much the same, but there's more room for computational theory in that discipline.

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:08 pm
by Arbitrary
bfollinprm wrote:Pretty much the same, but there's more room for computational theory in that discipline.


This is quite silly if you ask me.
My master's thesis in statistical mechanics had both analytic and numerical aspects. I really don't think that the numerical parts took more time than the analytic parts (weighted by their overall portion in the thesis). You basically let the computer do the hard work, while you may sit back and relax.

Anyway, TA is fun! I don't think you should be afraid of it.

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:00 pm
by TakeruK
I think a part of this is that money that pays your TAship comes from the department and money that pays your RAship comes from your advisor. In theory groups, I don't think people get as much funding in terms of grants etc. so there is less money to be used to pay for students. In experimental groups, I think there is more funding to pay RAs.

In my field, a lot of times when astronomers apply for telescope time, it automatically comes with funding to pay a grad student to analyze the data (they don't want people using precious time to get data but then not be able to do anything with it). I'd say this is an example of why it might be easier to get RAships in fields that use equipment, experiments, or work with data!

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:58 pm
by hermitw
Arbitrary wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:Pretty much the same, but there's more room for computational theory in that discipline.


This is quite silly if you ask me.
My master's thesis in statistical mechanics had both analytic and numerical aspects. I really don't think that the numerical parts took more time than the analytic parts (weighted by their overall portion in the thesis). You basically let the computer do the hard work, while you may sit back and relax.

Anyway, TA is fun! I don't think you should be afraid of it.

Not afraid, but I think it is better to devote more time in research, which is why we are there. Also TA until graduate is really disappointing...

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:00 pm
by hermitw
bfollinprm wrote:Pretty much the same, but there's more room for computational theory in that discipline.

Really? I thought that CMP should be much better than HEP. And I just heard some theory students do not need to teach after second year, even if they are not in top programs.

Re: HET, TA until graduate?

Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:58 am
by bfollinprm
TakeruK wrote:I think a part of this is that money that pays your TAship comes from the department and money that pays your RAship comes from your advisor. In theory groups, I don't think people get as much funding in terms of grants etc. so there is less money to be used to pay for students. In experimental groups, I think there is more funding to pay RAs.

In my field, a lot of times when astronomers apply for telescope time, it automatically comes with funding to pay a grad student to analyze the data (they don't want people using precious time to get data but then not be able to do anything with it). I'd say this is an example of why it might be easier to get RAships in fields that use equipment, experiments, or work with data!


This.