Working hard

Sabine Dippel sabine at
Mon Mar 3 03:38:41 EST 1997

In article <5fal3o$2oh at>, pbowne at 
(Patricia S. Bowne) writes:
|> Susan points out that law and medicine also assume
|> long hours, and I was going to reply that I was
|> concerned with how things OUGHT to be rather than
|> how they currently are (which we all probably agree
|> is not perfect).
|> Then it occurred to me, though - I know how things
|> are in the US, but I've read about other countries where
|> people have long vcations, and time off in the middle
|> of the day, and other civilized things like that. Are
|> there any scientists from outside the US who can tell
|> us - does a country really lose its edge in science
|> when the scientists work rational hours?
|> Pat Bowne

It is different in other countries. Well, here in Germany 
50 - 60 hours seem to be quite common (I'm at the lower 
edge - rather 45 - 50), and in France people hardly work on
week-ends and really take all of their vacation. And I don't 
have the impression that they are doing worse science than 
people in the US because of that. IF they do so, then in 
France the reason might very well be the lack of money. 

Actually, at the moment I am considering to do a post-doc
somewhere, and France looks very good to me because of that - 
what's the point in living in a foreign country for a year
and not having the time to see a bit of the country, because 
you spend 70 hours per week in the lab? (Well, having an 
offer from a good group in Paris and knowing that EU grants
pay somewhat more than a US post-doc would pay helps in the
decision as well....)

Anyway, I also think that you do not necessarily have to 
work such long hours. Sure, there are times when you have to,
but I hardly ever get new ideas in the lab - ideas I get somewhere 
else, usually when I don't think about work. Maybe this does have
to do with theoretical (though in a way experimental theoretical, i.e.
computer simulations) physics being the field I work in, but it also
has to do with science not being my only hobby. Sure, it's nice to 
have a job which is also in a way your hobby - but there are so many
other things I enjoy, and some I do need for my sanity, like spending
a certain amount of time with loooong walks. 


| Sabine Dippel     | e-mail: s.dippel at                 | 
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