ellipsix informatics
2014
May
02

Hooray, I have a postdoc!

I figured a quick update is in order to announce that starting this fall, I'll be a postdoc at Central China Normal University!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may remember that visited CCNU back in 2012 for a conference and a week of research collaboration. It's definitely different — you know, because China is not the US — but there's a lot to like about the place. CCNU is rapidly developing a strong international reputation for their theoretical physics research. They're well placed to take advantage of the Chinese drive to promote basic science; in particular, unlike the US and even Europe, to some extent, basic research in China still gets substantial amounts of financial support. The living costs are low, so even a small salary goes a long way, and I'll definitely be looking forward to all the delicious food of Hubei province.

There's a lot to do between now and the fall, when I move, so I'm sure I'll have more to say about this as it happens. It'll be nice to be a scientist for a little while longer.

2013
Dec
20

I might not be unemployed next year...

I'm aware that my last post was all about how I was going to return to blogging... and yeah, that never happened. It turns out that about ten days is not enough to catch up on research, file ten more postdoc applications, and deal with about 40 intro E&M students panicking over their upcoming final exam. Oh, and SLEEP. (And not become a hermit. Sometimes time spent with friends is important too.)

At this point I have 35 postdoc applications filed. To put it another way: I've applied to almost every job opening in the world in my field of research with a deadline since late November. It really makes the point that this particular corner of particle physics is a niche subject. Anyway, my understanding is that each position receives roughly about 200 applications, on average. If I have 35 chances to succeed at something with a probability 0.005 (that's 1 in 200)... well, perhaps you know where this is going:

probability of getting job offers

Yep, that means I have an a priori 84% chance of not getting any offer at all. For the record, when you realize you've applied for all the jobs and it's still five times more likely that you don't get one than that you do, it can be pretty demotivating.

There is some good news though! One of the applications I filed got me an invitation to give a seminar on my research. It seems the lead scientist of this group is a fan. :-) Being able to present this work is good enough on its own, but it also implies that I made the (informal?) short list of candidates they're considering for the job! And don't worry, you'll find out where it is in due time.

On the other hand, I haven't heard anything from the other 34 applications. I suppose this means I'm not getting any other chances, but the optimist in my wants to believe they're just taking a long time to sort through them.

My inner optimist is not often right. I guess we'll see.

2013
Dec
03

I'm back! NaBloWriMo continues

I filed 20 postdoc applications this weekend.

Estimated number of offers: 0.1. That's right, with 22 applications in, I have a one-in-ten chance that I might hear back from one of them.

Real life is no fun.

Anyway, now that my big batch of postdoc applications is filed, I'll get back to the posts I meant to write last month, still hoping to complete the 30 posts I wanted to write in November by the end of this year. There is still lots of interesting physics to cover!