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causes:no_intellectual_freedom [2017/10/31 11:48]
causes:no_intellectual_freedom [2018/02/18 16:27] (current)
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-====== ​In Chains ​======+====== ​No Intellectual Freedom ​======
 You need to pay the bills... You need to pay the bills...
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 <​cite>​[[https://​​watch?​v=0RB10fVZxCs&​|David Graeber]]</​cite></​blockquote>​ <​cite>​[[https://​​watch?​v=0RB10fVZxCs&​|David Graeber]]</​cite></​blockquote>​
 +<​blockquote>​Easy three step process for getting depressed:
 +1) Go to a large academic conference
 +2) Listen to all the talks given by people doing boring work with no clear scientific thought behind it.
 +3) Imagine all the PhD students those people have advised.
 <​blockquote>​My colleague George Caplin likes to quote what he calls the First Theorem of Science, which he attributes to me, but which I remember distinctly as coming from him: **It is impossible to convince a person of any true thing that will cost him money.** We should probably rename it the First Theorem and drop the Science part. <​blockquote>​My colleague George Caplin likes to quote what he calls the First Theorem of Science, which he attributes to me, but which I remember distinctly as coming from him: **It is impossible to convince a person of any true thing that will cost him money.** We should probably rename it the First Theorem and drop the Science part.
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 </​cite></​blockquote>​ </​cite></​blockquote>​
-===== No Funding for Risky Research=====+====== ​The Deferred Life Plan Trap ====== 
 +<​blockquote>​What was the point of being in physics if you could not pick your own problems?<​cite>​E. Derman in "My life as a Quant" </​cite></​blockquote>​ 
 +Most students think that it's only during the first years (during the PhD) that you have to do boring stuff that your professor assigns you. Almost everyone believes that it gets better over time. However exactly the opposite is true. As a [[causes:​postdocs|postdoc]] you only have a short-term contract (2 years). During this time you have to publish [[causes:​bibliometrics|as much papers as possible]], because otherwise you don't get another postdoc position.  
 +Thus, while in theory no one assigns you projects after your PhD years, you aren't free then either. To produce enough papers, you have to use the tools that you already know and work on the topic that you are already familiar with. For this reason, you can't just pick any topic you like and work on it. If you do this, you will not produce enough papers to get another postdoc.  
 +Even if you manage to get a permanent position, you will not be able to do whatever you want.  
 +One the one hand, by the time you get a permanent position you'll have worked already several years on one topic. This is the topic you got familiar with during your PhD, where you are now perceived as an expert. Thus, there is social pressure to continue working on this topic. Otherwise you risk losing your status within the community. ​  
 +On the other hand, you have to apply for research grants. Your chances of winning grants are much higher if you propose research topics that are closely related to the topic you are perceived as an expert.  
 +Thus in practice students really have maximum freedom during their PhD and they should use this freedom. This is only possible if they recognize that the situation does not get better over time.  
 +This phenomenon of deferring "the good stuff" to an unspecified future is a well-known fallacy known as "​deferred life plan".  
 +<​blockquote>​Step one: Do what you have to do [...] Step two: Do what you want to do [...] The lucky winners may get to step two only to find themselves aimless, directionless. Either they never knew what they ‘really’ wanted to do or they’ve spent so much time in the first step and invested so much psychic capital that they’re completely lost without it. 
 +<​cite>​The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar</​cite></​blockquote>​ 
 +<​blockquote>​But Markopoulou found her more radical theories were sometimes greeted with the sly criticism that they were “creative.” “The fact that you don’t look like the standard makes it hard for them; they will take longer to form judgments, which means you stay in the doubt area for longer,” she says. It was made worse by the pervasive attitude among physicists that you should gather your laurels by doing sensible calculations throughout your career, and only cook up new theories of quantum gravity in your old age. 
 <​blockquote>​ <​blockquote>​
-The mechanisms we have constructed +"​Before embarking in philosophy ​one should ​learn to calculate."
-to ensure fairness and quality have +
-the unintended side effect of putting +
-people of unusual creativity and independence at a disadvantage. +
-  * Those who follow large well-sup- +
-ported research programs have lots of +
-powerful senior scientists to promote +
-their careers. Those who invent their +
-own research programs usually lack +
-such support and hence are often un- +
-dervalued and underappreciated. +
-  * People with the uncanny ability to +
-ask new questions or recognize unexamined assumptions,​ or who are able +
-to take ideas from one field and apply +
-them to another, are often at a disadvantage when the goal is to hire the +
-best person in a given well-estab- +
-lished area. +
-  * In the present system, scientists +
-feel lots of pressure to follow estab- +
-lished research programs led by powerful senior scientists. Those who +
-choose to follow their own programs +
-understand that their career +
-prospects will be harmed. That there +
-are still those with the courage to go +
-their own way is underappreciated. +
-  * It is easy to write many papers +
-when you continue to apply well- +
-understood techniques. People who +
-develop their own ideas have to work +
-harder for each result, because they are simultaneously developing new +
-ideas and the techniques to explore +
-them. Hence they often publish fewer +
-papers, and their papers are cited less +
-frequently than those that contribute +
-to something hundreds of people are +
-doing. +
-To give the advantage to people +
-who are unusually creative and independent,​ we should ​change the measures we use to judge quality and +
-<​cite>​[[http://​​~sstill/​ProSciencePapers/​no-new-einstein.pdf|Why no new Einstein?]] by Lee Smolin</​cite></​blockquote>​+<​cite>​N.NBogolubov, advice to young theoretical physicists</​cite>​ 
 ===== Further Reading ===== ===== Further Reading =====
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   * [[http://​​~sstill/​ProSciencePapers/​no-new-einstein.pdf|Why no new Einstein?]] by Lee Smolin   * [[http://​​~sstill/​ProSciencePapers/​no-new-einstein.pdf|Why no new Einstein?]] by Lee Smolin
   * [[causes:​postdocs]]   * [[causes:​postdocs]]
 +  * Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt
causes/no_intellectual_freedom.1509450539.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/10/31 12:48 (external edit)