A PhD Is Not Enough!: A Guide to Survival in Science
Peter J. Feibelman
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Despite your graduate education, brainpower, and technical prowess, your career in scientific research is far from assured. Permanent positions are scarce, science survival is rarely part of formal graduate training, and a good mentor is hard to find.
In A Ph.D. Is Not Enough!, physicist Peter J. Feibelman lays out a rational path to a fulfilling long-term research career. He offers sound advice on selecting a thesis or postdoctoral adviser; choosing among research jobs in academia, government laboratories, and industry; preparing for an employment interview; and defining a research program. The guidance offered in A Ph.D. Is Not Enough! will help you make your oral presentations more effective, your journal articles more compelling, and your grant proposals more successful.
A classic guide for recent and soon-to-be graduates, A Ph.D. Is Not Enough! remains required reading for anyone on the threshold of a career in science. This new edition includes two new chapters and is revised and updated throughout to reflect how the revolution in electronic communication has transformed the field.
Catalysis for Energy, Fundamental Science and Long-Term Impacts of the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Science Catalysis Science Program by Committee on the Review of the Basic Energy Sciences, Catalysis Science Program, National Researc
adviser. If you are one of the few whose thesis represents a major breakthrough, you will probably be much in demand, and 0465022229-Feibelman_Layout 1 10/28/10 10:36 AM Page 32 32 a p hd is not enough! will likely have few problems ﬁnding a permanent job. You probably won’t ever have a postdoctoral position. Your problem may be that you will spend the next several years trying to show that your initial triumph was not a ﬂuke. This kind of thinking has paralyzed more than a few young
make it easy to ﬁx an upper limit on the number of slides to prepare for a given time slot. Personally, I can discuss six or at most seven slides in ten minutes. If I prepare more than that, I know that my talk will be breathless and that my audience will absorb little. They may well respond to a talk too crammed with information as a “snow job,” an attempt to disguise the ﬂaws in your work by overwhelming your listeners with words and ﬁgures. Designing a modular talk is a good idea. After your
Theoretical physicists, particularly inexperienced ones, often show slides covered with equations. (Molecular biologists show DNA sequences.) Except in very special cases, such as meetings of specialists devoted to technical advances, this is a bad idea. The audience cannot assimilate more than a small amount of information in an hour, to say nothing of ten minutes. A talk comprising detailed, technical slides is likely to be received as a deliberate attempt to persuade the listeners that because
granted to NSF or NIH by taxpayers is available for essentially the same reasons as that which is ﬁltered through the Department of Defense. People are largely motivated to spend by 0465022229-Feibelman_Layout 1 10/28/10 10:36 AM Page 114 114 a p hd is not enough! fear, greed, and lust. Leaving the last of these out of consideration where science is concerned, the reason that taxpayers and their representatives are willing to allocate large sums to “pure” physics research is certainly not
unlikely to have produced on their own. Risky Business Although working in a hot area is exciting—major meetings are mob scenes, the scent of a prize is in the 0465022229-Feibelman_Layout 1 10/28/10 10:36 AM Page 133 Peter J. Feibelman 133 air—it is a risky business. Before moving into a fashionable ﬁeld, you must ask yourself whether you have a realistic chance of emerging from the mob as someone who has made an important advance. If the problem is solved and this hot area is the only one