Question: Is Science a moral endeavor?

Marc Andelman drgonfly at ultranet.com
Fri Jan 30 10:46:08 EST 1998


Guy Oshiro wrote:
> 
> I am nearing the end of my graduate career and I wonder if I have what
> it takes to continue on this career track.  The road ahead seems both
> long and dark.  There are so many people out there (post-docs) that are
> having a difficult time finding a job.  I don't want to be 35, losing
> my hair, and just hoping that someone will give me a job.


Hi Guy,
	Biosource is the oldest recruitment firm in the biotech industry.

My read on the prospects are as follows;

1.  The current scientific training, although it contains the word 
doctor of "philosophy",really emphasisis narrow specialization.

	a. A corrollary to that is that your particular 
	job market may be very narrow. People do move
	between specialties,however, with varying degrees of 
	difficulty.


2. The supply and demand in science is greatly distorted from the true
market due to the government support which causes training of huge
excesses of postdocs.


3. If you succeed in obtaining an industrial job, you would probably
earn at least 50K right out of a Ph.D or postdoc.  After a number
of years, if you are lucky, your salary would level off in the 
six figure range. That is not too shabby.  Any upward potential on
that would strictly depend upon your working for a "risky" start-up
and cashing in on stock options.


The pitfall of all this is the overemphasis of "name brand" laboratories.
The reason being, nobody seems to have a discretionary research budget
to pursue true innovation.  That would upset the heirachical apple cart.
It would be a better deal for you, as you would have only yourself to
blame.  Now, however, you will have to depend upon your PI, the name
and prestige of your institution, vagaries of fuding, what is hot
and trendy, etc..  That is not a whole lot of control and leaves
much to be desire, IMO, over almostd any other endeavor. This 
situation improves in industry,somewhat, for some people, either by
luck or by recognition of the true realities.  

So if there is any immorality, it is that creative people too often abdicate
their independence to arbitraty authority.  That has led to a
nesting of science in only two or three fields.  To be a 
scientist ,It is all too likely  that you will work in either 
biotech of computers, and live in CA , MA, or NJ.


Regards,
Marc Andelman



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