But I hated the PhD system, and that was what--- I felt basically out of tune with the main job I had at Cornell, which was to train PhD students. The whole PhD system to me is an abomination. I don't have a PhD myself, I feel myself very lucky I didn't have to go through it. I think it's a gross distortion of the educational process. What happens when I'm responsible for a PhD student, the student is condemned to work on a single problem in order to write a thesis, for maybe two or three years. But my attention span is much shorter than that. I like to work on something intensively for maybe one year or less, get it done with and then go on to something else. So my style just doesn't fit this PhD cycle. What would happen, a PhD student would want to go on working on a problem for two or three years, but I would lose interest before he was finished. And so there was a basic mismatch between the way I like to do physics and this straightjacket which was imposed on the students. And so I found it was very frustrating... all the PhD students had these same constraints imposed on them, which I basically disapprove of. I just don't like the system. I think it is an evil system and it has ruined many lives. So that was the down side of the Cornell, whereas at Princeton I was offered a job at the Institute for Advanced Study which works on a one year cycle. We have only post docs at this Institute here, so the post docs arrive each year, then they can decide what they want to do. I can collaborate with a post doc for a year, I don't have to keep him fed for the next two or three years after that. So at the end of six months or a year we can say goodbye and I can go and do something else, he can go and do something else if he likes. It's a much more flexible system, and it suits my style much better. So that was a strong reason for coming to Princeton.
« Older Veiled Truths by Hossein Fatemi [New York Times] [... | Rwanda: 20 years later... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt