Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

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admissionprof
Posts: 364
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby admissionprof » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:03 am

I often see on this site undergraduates who seem dead set on doing HE theory, phenomenology or cosmology. Just as a reality check, looking at http://particle.physics.ucdavis.edu/rumor/doku.php

you will see that there were six faculty jobs in the US last year (and most went to people who got PhD's outside of the US). The year before there were ten, and eleven the year before that. Almost all of those who got PhD's in the US and got faculty jobs here went to top ten schools for their PhD and often took 5-10 years of postdoctoral work.

If you are interested in hep/cosmo, then you should always have plan B, given the overwhelming odds against making it all the way through to a faculty job.

Catria
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Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby Catria » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:50 pm

Personally, I'd rather teach at a school without a graduate program; anyone have any idea as to what physical fields are represented among new faculty hires at such schools?

Any cosmologists/HE theorists/phenomenologists in that bunch?

I always imagined faculty jobs at schools without graduate programs to be less field-sensitive than faculty jobs at schools with graduate programs... and all six jobs listed this year were at schools with graduate programs.

admissionprof
Posts: 364
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby admissionprof » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:51 pm

Catria wrote:Personally, I'd rather teach at a school without a graduate program; anyone have any idea as to what physical fields are represented among new faculty hires at such schools?

Any cosmologists/HE theorists/phenomenologists in that bunch?

I always imagined faculty jobs at schools without graduate programs to be less field-sensitive than faculty jobs at schools with graduate programs... and all six jobs listed this year were at schools with graduate programs.


Yes, there are a few. Theorists have an advantage in that they do not need start-up. However, teaching a 3-3 course load, which is typical, makes it hard to conduct substantial research (especially without grad students or postdocs, or time to travel during the academic year). I just checked the advanced Award search on NSF Fastlane, using the HE theory program and looking for RUI (means "research at undergraduate institution") and found 10 names. Of course, a few might get DOE funding and some might do research without funding, but it is probably less than one per year (given a 30 year career).

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby Catria » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:46 pm

admissionprof wrote:Yes, there are a few. Theorists have an advantage in that they do not need start-up. However, teaching a 3-3 course load, which is typical, makes it hard to conduct substantial research (especially without grad students or postdocs, or time to travel during the academic year). I just checked the advanced Award search on NSF Fastlane, using the HE theory program and looking for RUI (means "research at undergraduate institution") and found 10 names. Of course, a few might get DOE funding and some might do research without funding, but it is probably less than one per year (given a 30 year career).


Yet there are those "non-graduate" departments where professors still have to supervise independent study and/or undergraduate, senior theses. (Villanova, the first such department I've ever heard about, uses senior theses quite a bit) Do they count towards the "3-3" teaching load?

That way profs at that sort of schools can still conduct research after all, whether theoretical (regardless of physical field, since, like you said, they do not need expensive start-up like many condensed matter, biophysics or plasma experimentalists do), experimental (for some reason I think about particle experimentalists when I think about what sort of experimentalists would find a way to teach at that sort of place, although I can be wrong) or observational (astrophysics guys that mostly do data analysis, much like the aforementionned particle experimentalists)

quantum_fan
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby quantum_fan » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:09 pm

Not to pile on aspiring hep theorists, but I found this reddit post from an ex-string theorist very illuminating.

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby Catria » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:00 am

How do summer funding work at departments without a graduate program anyway? Are they borne out of the profs' research funds? Or are they borne out of work-study plans (if the student is a financial aid recipient)?

Perhaps that could still render research accessible to undergraduates at that sort of places without the need for them to go to another institution... including, but not limited to, HEP theory or cosmology.

I knew that senior undergraduate theses are usually conducted without funding.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Interested in HE Theory/Cosmology? Reality check

Postby TakeruK » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:31 pm

Catria wrote:How do summer funding work at departments without a graduate program anyway? Are they borne out of the profs' research funds? Or are they borne out of work-study plans (if the student is a financial aid recipient)?

Perhaps that could still render research accessible to undergraduates at that sort of places without the need for them to go to another institution... including, but not limited to, HEP theory or cosmology.

I knew that senior undergraduate theses are usually conducted without funding.


Summer funding for whom -- if there are no graduate program at the school, then there are no graduate students in need of summer funding?

For undergraduates, I know at my undergrad school, funding for undergraduate theses was explicitly forbidden by the school (you can either get degree credit for research work or get paid, but not both!). If undergraduates worked in the summer, they would normally be paid by a research grant from their employer (either the department or professor). My school had a graduate program, but I know some students who did some undergraduate research work with professors at schools without a graduate program. In these cases, they were generally paid by an external grant that they won and were allowed to take anywhere, or the professor at said school did have their own research grant in which to pay students. And like you said, there were also some students at my school who did research work under work-study programs--this could happen even if there is a graduate program at the school!




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