Overview of Dunham

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Dunham
Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 2:12pm
Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 7:25am
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page 1 of 21 recent posts

Thread: Publish or Perish

posted
30-Jun-16, 11:26
edited about 19 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Agreeing with chickpea here, full support to you jojo!

It's great to hear of women getting ahead in science. Dunham and pm133 clearly have no idea of the reality for working women, supportive partner or not. Guess they have missed the stats where women only make up 30% of professors.

There's usually plenty of encouragement to be found here jojo so don't be discouraged.


I don't think that a post that contains at least three smileys and even a sentence that it is good that they try to make things finally equal (because there are inequalities, no arguing about that) is all negative or aggressive.

The stats usually show the overall gender ratio. They could start hiring exclusively women for a decade and the ratio would still not be 50/50 because the all-male-dinosaur-professors are not yet retired. How can one not get this? Once they are gone the stats will look different. It is like comparing the average what men earn and the average what women earn and conclude that there has to be a huge inequality. This makes no sense if you don't compare female engineer with male engineer or male admin with female admin. If you do, you will still find a wage gap, but suddenly it is 5-7% and not 20-30% like some people claim. Still something we have to work on but these exaggerations all the time are not helping anyone.

If I would have wrote passages like jojo as a man about women I would have been immediately told how I should not make unfair generalizations. For me this is typical double standard and the fact that now all female users try to defend this, without acknowledging that there might be some generalization, borders on cliche.

But it is just impossible to discuss this. Of course men have simply no idea of women in the workplace and therefore are automatically wrong. Period :D

I am apologizing in advance for every position I might get in the future as it will probably mean that a way more qualified working mom does not get the position, mostly because she has to do household and raise kids, while I outsource these tasks to my wife and continue to work or alternatively have a cold beer and watch the game. Whoever finds sarcasm can keep it :)

Makes me kind of sad to write something like that, because I am generally absolutely pro gender equality, but posts like that make it just really difficult to be understanding. This should not be men vs. women...

Thread: Publish or Perish

posted
26-Jun-16, 19:46
edited about 23 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From jojo:
My experience as a woman is that there isn’t an equal playing field for us. Society just takes, takes, and takes from you. We get little support be it on the home-front or at work. It is easier for the guys to progress at work because they get a lot done for them – dinner, laundry, baby-sitting - all they have to do is focus. I do not want to give up on my dream of being at the top of my field because of working in an unsupportive environment. I have come back here to look for support from academics, especially female academics, mature students and those writing up. We can encourage one another by cheering each other on, holding each other accountable and sharing the wisdom we’ve gathered along the way. Lets do this!


No offense but dinner, laundry, babysitting.... we are not living in the 50s anymore. If you got yourself a lazy husband/boyfriend that can't cook, can't change a diaper or does nothing around the house, that's kind of you fault ;) The couples I know share these tasks. To quote my female boss "There's never been a better time for women in science". I can't speak for the UK but in several European countries, they desperately try to increase the amount of female professors. At my institution, every single Assistant professor that was assigned in the last years was female, almost every job ad has the additional sentence "University/Company X wants to increase the amount of women and therefore especially encourages them to apply" and at least for my University I know that when equally qualified, the woman usually gets the job. I am pretty sure that my University is no exception. I am not complaining about this, for decades men had unfair advantages and it's great that things are finally getting equal but with sentences like this

Quote From jojo:

all they have to is focus


you just undermine the work men do making it seem like no accomplishment and a simple result of the supportive environment. That's just wrong. Not all issues a woman has in the workplace are gender-based and you also do not have per se a harder life or more difficulties.

Probably not the answer you wanted to have, sorry for that, but this post kind of provoked me ;)

Thread: Research Labs

posted
23-Jun-16, 09:24
edited about 36 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From pm133:
This is very subjective.
Ask 100 researchers what constitutes very good work and you will get 100 different answers.
The only opinion that matters is your own.
There might be a magazine for your discipline which gives the latest research news.


I would probably check important symposia in that specific field, check the lab websites of the speakers and look at the alumnis. There are quite a lot of US labs where a ridiculously high amount of former PostDocs are Assistant Professors now and even the ones who aren't are usually at least lecturer or senior scientists in companies. For me this is a good indicator of a big shot/well renowned lab in this particular field and also your best chance to land a position in academia afterwards. It depends a lot on your supervisors' connections.

That's just one of thousand ways. The best would be probably to talk to people who work in that field. They should know ;)

Thread: Distressed PhD

posted
22-Jun-16, 12:06
edited about 15 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From MissyL:

My supervisor is just not supervising me.................... about whether my techniques are even correct and has made me feel useless.


I think that is actually very common. I don't know any PI who provides real lab support unless they are early-stage group leaders and have to do labwork because the group is very small. Even if my boss would go to the lab she would be probably no help because she has not been in a lab since ages. Having people around that are doing the same stuff is convenient, but also not always the case. The post docs in my lab are doing completely unrelated stuff. It sounds however as if you are managing it by yourself after all, so I would suggest to be a bit more confident ;) You taught yourself the stuff and that's what it is all about. Someone has to do a technique for the first time. You can't expect that someone takes your hand and shows you everything you need to know for your PhD. Sometimes one is lucky and that is actually the case but you probably can't expect it to be like that.

Quote From MissyL:


He rarely suggests experiments for me to do, and most of the time when he does it's something I've already done. So I've came up with around 95% of them myself, again battering myself esteem as how am I truly meant to know good experimental design at this stage!?


I don't really get why doing stuff yourself is battering your self esteem?? That's great! If every PhD student would exclusively follow the instructions of the PI there would be little challenge in a PhD. As long as you discuss the experimental design you made with him this sounds pretty much optimal to me. You are probably learning way more than the PhD students who just execute what their supervisors are telling them.

Quote From MissyL:

I'm due my upgrade in the next few months and I'm supposed to have nailed my research question and devised a timeline, however, my research question is sloppy and we're just scrabbling around, he also never talks to be about the big picture and what future experiments we could do- again adding to my uncertainty, and increasing my panic when everything really is just going wrong.


I guess you can only confront him and tell him that you want to discuss the big picture and where this project is going. Most PIs do that and you don't have to ask for it but you can probably not expect him to sense that you are not happy with the, in your opinion, sloppy research question. I don't think that he would be offended by that.

How is your data looking so far? If you make progress and create data you can use then I guess the main issue is rather your doubts in your own work (and the resulting ineffective work and sickness) :) Maybe the whole situation is not as bad as you think (at least I hope so)

Thread: Should I do a PhD?

posted
09-Jun-16, 14:30
edited about 12 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From Meniscus:
Dunham, you’ve hit the nail on the head- I don’t doubt their main motivation is to find a way to hang on to me. My gut feeling was also that a PhD might be an obstacle to a job in industry, but have had many people tell me otherwise. Do others agree?


I don't want to offend anyone but it is usually people who never applied for a job in industry that tell you it looks great on your CV or before your name ;) My dad is an engineer with a PhD. He never has regret doing it, but it was also never necessary for his career. He just enjoyed it at the time. Personally I heard way more often that people who apply for positions in industry wanted to get rid of the PhD in their CV than of people who said it was beneficial. If you consider academia it is worth thinking about it. If not, not.

Thread: Applying for university admin jobs

posted
08-Jun-16, 15:56
edited about 12 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Great news. Success!

Thread: Neuroscience OR medicine?

posted
08-Jun-16, 15:51
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:

I don't think people should be prevented from getting qualifications just because they won't be able to use them directly afterwards.


Of course you don't want to discourage people, but there will be a point at which Universities can't compete with the private sector anymore. When the brightest people are not even thinking about getting into academia because of this job-roulette. We have to stop treating symptoms. There are so many programs now that try to make post docs attractive for positions that have nothing to do with their actual expertise (science, not even just the subject of your PhD) instead of thinking about why we have so many highly educated people we have no use for. Of course these people are now there and you can't fail them but I have the feeling that this is getting the new normal.

Quote From TreeofLife:

I think that actually what needs to happen is that students are told very clearly their chances of an academic career before applying for a PhD, so that only those that seek an academic career will do a PhD, or those that just want to do one for personal reasons. And/or the benefits/skills/personal attributes that a PhD holder offers need to clearly highlighted to employers, so that they are an advantage rather than a hindrance. And obviously science needs more money, because then it can afford to pay experienced scientists rather than taking on PhDs and postdocs as cheap labour and then there would be more permanent jobs available.


I basically agree but would say that it is already too late when it comes to the PhD decision. In Germany for instance there are not a lot of things you can do with a masters in chemistry or biology. So in that case it is not just a problem of too many post docs but generally too many people in a certain subject.

The last part is true. I never understood why you have to leave after a certain amount of time even though your boss is happy with your work. Highly inefficient. We have some people in the department who are here for 30 years now (something like permanent post docs without teaching) and they acquired so much knowledge in this area. If you struggle or hit any obstacles they are the ones you talk to. Why hiring a new post doc every 2 years, introduce them to techniques, let them read all the literature, while you let the person that already knows all that stuff go just for the sake of people-rotation. Just make it a normal job. If the boss is happy with your performance you stay, if not, he can hire someone else. But you would have to change the whole system for that...not going to happen

Thread: Neuroscience OR medicine?

posted
08-Jun-16, 13:41
edited about 27 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Lectureships are basically permanent as well, which is the first step on the road to being a professor.

Generally, it goes lecturer to senior lecturer to reader to professor. Some teaching fellows are also permanent at some universities.

I think in the UK, only 3% of science PhDs get a permanent academic job and the chance of being a professor is 0.3%.

75% of UK science PhDs have a job outside of science or industry.

Even though I won't be able to work in science, I still feel that undertaking my PhD was useful for so many things and I'm glad I did it.


I was only referring to the German system. We have only a few permanent lectureships. Most of them are temporary.
I didn't want to say that you don't get anything useful out of it, it was more the bigger picture kind of question. As a society we should maybe think if it is really desired that 75% of scientists end up in jobs that have little to do with science or research. Especially in the light that science degrees are the most expensive. I think it is possible to not regret a PhD and appreciate what you learned and at the same time accept that this is an inefficient system with a lot of flaws.

Thread: Neuroscience OR medicine?

posted
08-Jun-16, 11:43
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From MrFox:
Wow, that sounds pretty depressing. Wherever you look the neurosciences are described as an emerging field, and then researchers are treated like this ...


It is. Like all fields of sciences. What they don't tell you is that this has nothing to do with the job market. The only permanent position at a University is basically the professorship and some few other positions (Akademische Räte etc.). The rest is done by temporary staff like PhDs and Post Docs. The chance of getting one of those positions is approximately around 5%. Outside of academia it does not look so much better. Big companies hire a few post docs but relative to the total amount of post docs out there this is not sufficient. Just check how many biology students are completing a degree at the average German university and then imagine that at least 80% of them complete a PhD afterwards. There is just a massive oversupply of highly educated scientists.

There is only a certain demand of scientists in our society even though especially media sometimes puts it as if there could not be enough of them.There is just no use for all these people unless we quadruple the amount of money we spent for science and create a huge amount of new positions (which would then probably just lead to even more people getting into sciences....vicious circle :D ).

Thread: Neuroscience OR medicine?

posted
08-Jun-16, 11:32
edited about 13 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From catalinbond:


I'm pretty sure it's doing an MSc along side the MD that adds a year, PhD would be done after and take 3 years. (Source - I lived with a Med Student and did my PhD along side an MD who was doing a PhD)


In Germany it is common for students in medicine to do their PhD while still studying and it does not take long. Some do it in 6-12 months basically part-time BUT they get awarded the "Dr. med" afterwards, while researchers from neurosciences, organic chemistry, theoretical physics and so on get the "Dr. rer nat" after doing a 3-4 year PhD. Not everyone knows that there is a difference but it becomes more and more known in the general public (Every employee knows that it is not the same). It is a weird situation, as medical students basically don't need a PhD (just a proof of being capable to conduct research) and some of them probably don't even want to do one. The main reason that most students in medicine still do it is that a doctor without a PhD ("Dr. med") is often regarded as less competent by older generations who don't know that the title tells you absolutely nothing about the performance of a doctor outside of basic research. There are a lot of people suggesting that they should get the Dr. med automatically after they finished their degree without having to this pseudo-dissertation that, frankly said, does not deserve the name dissertation if compared with other dissertations.

Thread: Neuroscience OR medicine?

posted
07-Jun-16, 17:03
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Definitely medicine. The conditions after a PhD are as bad as you read. These are no exaggerations. If you complete a degree in medicine you would still have the option to get into research by doing a "real" PhD (Dr. rer nat) in neuroscience afterwards instead of the common Dr. med, but with the huge advantage that you can always work as a normal doctor if things don't work out after the PhD. As you said, medicine is still a job guarantee in Germany. If you go for neurosciences and things are not working out you are pretty much screwed and left with little options.

Thread: Should I do a PhD?

posted
07-Jun-16, 07:08
edited about 23 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
For industry, a PhD is probably rather an obstacle. It maybe helps you to get some positions at the very top but entering the job market will be so much harder, especially when you are quite old until you finished the PhD (for UK standards). If a long-term position in academia is not desired, I would not recommend to do a PhD. They probably just search for a way to keep you cheap.

Thread: Second-year slump or something more serious?

posted
03-Jun-16, 20:23
edited about 25 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago

my experience in another country: phd students are praised and they come out of the thing with their head held high. here they need 6 months or so to recover. so there is definitely something ungood going on here.


I didn't want to draw that conclusion because I never studied at a UK institution but that was my impression as well. There seems to be a huge difference in how people perceive their PhD depending on the country. I am absolutely sure that if you would ask the people that defended their PhD in the departments I was ( all European universities) then 95% would say that it was a difficult, but overall great time. There are always obstacles and some projects are not going as good as others but that's how it is. You don't know it in advance. There are of course also shitty supervisors that don't care about their students but it is not as omnipresent as it is often described here.

Thread: Second-year slump or something more serious?

posted
03-Jun-16, 19:41
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:

Furthermore, it's not unique to this forum. It's a common issue with PhDs discussed worldwide - I'm surprised you have never heard of it before.


What's your definition of "common"? Is it common that PhD students suffer from anxiety and depressions? If so, I've been pretty lucky so far and met all the exceptions. I am aware that not everybody is openly talking about mental health issues but here I sometimes have the feeling as if this was regarded as perfectly normal. Maybe I get a wrong impression because the happy people are usually less abundant in these kind of forums. Of course there are difficult parts during a PhD (like there are in every job) but I am pretty sure that not even 1% of the PhD students at my university could tell you where you could find the counselor. So for me this is not common (even though it of course exists) but rather a big issue if you are feeling so bad that you are seeking professional help.

Thread: Does it matter?

posted
03-Jun-16, 16:36
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 3 years ago
Quote From thestargaze2:


Is this something I shouldn't be worried about? It doesn't feel good since this was my final paper. I will still be co-author. i don't like confrontation so I guess there isn't much I can do about it. My supervisor mentioned I could submit my work to photonics west conference and attend present it next year. I'm just wondering if such things matter? I have a few first author paper (nothing super important, novel suff), one co-author(which is par of the work) and this was suppose to be my final one.


Why can't you write the paper? Conference presentations are a nice thing but a paper is way higher valued. Most employees just want to have your journal-publication list. Anyway, the only thing you can do is confront your supervisor and tell him that you think you should be first author or that it should be a shared first authorship. Of course then you should also contribute to the writing.
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