The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

I see you

The “HEP rumor mill”: is just creepy. I feel naughty just looking at it. It’s a site maintained by… well, somebody, I don’t know who… that lists who’s hot and who’s not. OK, I’ll back off from that one. It lists who’s (allegedly) interviewing for what jobs in the high-energy physics arena, who’s turned down or accepted a job, who’s been offered a job, etc. What super-creepy about this page is that I know at least half-a-dozen of these folks. I found myself looking at this thing for the first time today, saying things like, “Hey, they took that job at such-and-such university!”, or, “Wow, I didn’t know they were interviewing THERE!”

In other words, this is cheap tabloid opiate for physicists. It’s the “People” magazine of the nerd world. And it’s ABSOLUTELY HYPNOTIC.

Career. What about your career? Are you doing enough for your career? When did *career* become a four-letter word, injected like the “f”-word in a sentence. Right when a post-doc feels like they’re maybe gonna finish one of the three projects they started, somebody goes and says it. Sigh. Sorry… the rumor mill got me thinking about jobs, and that I will probably start looking next year, and then it got me all worried that I haven’t done enough as a post-doc to deserve a job.

Enough of that! I’ve got enough to worry about with all these B-mesons and tau-leptons in my life, not to mention dark matter and other fun stuff. What’s really making me feel better about this summer is that the mass-migration of physicists to SLAC has begun! Classes are over, professors need to get paid for the summer, and grads and undergrads alike are finding new homes in cubicles. It’s great to have all these people around now, especially from MIT. I only get to half my group for most of the year, so having a few more of them around for summer always makes for fun physics chatter over coffee.

.. [DrReznor] To quote the famous physicist, Dr. Trent Reznor, from his seminal work entitled “The Downward Spiral: Torsion and Helical Trajectories in an Uncontrolled Free-fall”, “…career: it won’t give up, it wants me dead, God damn this noise inside my head.”