Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pithy Quote

I'm not a big fan of blogging about blogging (though I'm interested what comes from Mark@CosmicVariance's recent post about the *uses* of faculty blogging). But, part of the reason I've blogged so little is that I'm losing focus of what the point is. Is there benefit to me or anyone else?

My two main motivations were to vent and to flesh out what it means to compete in the academic physics world. As to the first, the Incoherent Ponderer (sorry I'm too lazy for links, and I have yet to add him/her to the blogrool) is doing a much better job than I. I don't always agree with him but I find him pretty spot on when he/her (boy this non-gender specific stuff is a real pain and I'm not going to use "it") is railing against whatever.

As to the second, are we not a closed system? Are there really any newbies/undergrads out there reading this stuff so that they can enter grad school having read the right books, being able to pick a reasonable advisor (are there more than a couple out there?), and understanding what they may be in for?

For my own part I get some benefit from some of these blogs. Some physics I probably wouldn't see otherwise, some gossip, some complaints I share which are always nice to hear from others, some news (ala NSF budgets). But there's a lot of...what do they call it..."chaff" through which I must sort.


Anonymous said...

Take it from me, you are not a closed system.

If you cannot see that from your stats it's your own fault.

Anonymous said...

I'd guess that Incoherent Ponderer is male, since there's no postings about the issues of being a woman in physics over there so far. If the blogger were female, I'm convinced we'd see some mention of issues related to gender, because it's really impossible to avoid if you are female and in this field. And I say this as a female who used to be in physics.

Carl Brannen said...

I can only hope that your blog is as entertaining for you as it is for those of us who read it.

Angry said...

Thanks for the comments. So at least three people are reading. As for Incoherent Ponderer, I'm not one to speculate on those dastardly cowards sniping behind their wall of anonymity :), but your conclusion fits my impression, although for different reasons.

Matt said...

Recently graduated (B.A.) physics student here. I enjoy reading your posts about being in academia, and do wish it was updated more often. As a prospective grad student, waiting impatiently for fat envelopes, I have been trying to keep up with what is going on in physics.

Do you have any comments about teaching non-introductory physics courses. I myself have been trying to undue some of the defects built up over my undergraduate instruction.

Angry said...

Matt, Comments? Not sure what you're looking for. The non-introductory classes are fun, but a bit more time consuming than the introductory ones for which you can usually just walk right in and start talking. As for defects, I'm not sure why this would be a problem. Certainly, there may be deficits...areas where your exposure is limited...but defects?

Mike said...

I'd like to chime in as well.

Personally, I hope the system isn't too closed -- I'm a recently graduated Ph.D. desperately trying to obtain a faculty position somewhere. Although any advice may be too late for me, I find it enjoyable to occasionally stop by here and see the sort of things that are being discussed. If nothing else, your blog offers some level of distraction in this time that I nervously await the (many) rejection letters that will be coming in the mail.

I'm very curious about the sort of battles that have to be fought once this next hurdle is crossed (assuming I eventually somehow procure a position).

Erik said...

I'm an undergrad physics/math double major--only a sophomore, but I do read several physics blogs pretty regularly, including yours and Peter Woit's. When the discussions are overly technical most of it goes over my head, but in any case I do read the blogs, to answer the question put forth in this post.