Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thesis Proposal

I found out today that I'll be "defending" my thesis idea friday the 17th. Since I passed my quals in october, the major work of the last months has been finishing up the two papers to publish from my two projects and trying to figure out where to go from there. This has brought up some interesting questions, like what the hell do I want to do with my life. Now, this usually happens at most major transition periods. This one happens to be from student to researcher. I never have to take another class again. The only exam left is in 3-4 years when I "defend" my thesis itself. Anyways, I'm trying to figure out just what I want that to be so I'm going to blab on for a bit about what I'm thinking.

I have basically two options.

1 - Do a "traditional" astronomy thesis which involves taking "data" and "reducing" it to a few pretty plots in a paper that talks about something. This sets me up to compete with most iraf-monkeys (astronomers will understand) for post-doc's and faculty jobs. aka the "academic track." upside - tenure, flexible hours, interesting work. downside - usually crap pay, long hours (flexible, but usually 60+), enter into 40-year-intellectual-cock-measuring-contest with no end in sight.

2 - Do an "instrumental" thesis which will still involve taking "data" and "reducing" it, but I'd be focuing more on the techniques and how they apply to different objects in different ways. This would set me up to possibly cross fields since nobody knows how to build anything anymore. upside - wider job prospects with possibly more pay. downside - you're just doing "engineering" and not science (said with a slight sneer) since you've not entered the 40-year-cock-contest, probably funded by military because the budget is screwed and everybody is freaking out about funding.

anyways, i certainly don't have to decide this now. the "defense" i'm doing is basically to make sure that i'm not doing something retarted, which i'm not. so i give a little talk, answer a few questions and call it done. advance to phd candidacy and get on with it. i'm just starting to like the idea of being poor till i'm 40 less and less. what i really want is a decent life somewhere on the west coast, or perhaps boulder. i don't have any serious motivation to starve and slave just to show that some fuzzy blob has some dust around it. i can't eat the fuzzy blob, and it won't help me pay the rent. it's interesting in some abstract and distant way, but it doesn't really matter when you compare that to all the other crap going on right now.


Blogger Lynn said...


3:55 AM  
Blogger Diane Harrington said...

Difficult choice!

8:11 AM  

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