Monday, November 19, 2007

My Life Is A Series of Frustrations...

I knew scientists were better funded than us mere arts students, but it's only this term I've realized just how much. A couple of weeks ago I found that one girl in college gets £14k for her Masters (and complains she can't afford to eat!) and tonight, while at a buffet dinner for final year DPhils with the Principal, I found that most scientists seem to get 3.5 years - if not 4 - of funding. Adding the fact that, because they do undergraduate masters, they remain eligible for the college writing up grant and some of my peers are much better off...

None of that's really what annoyed me though. The first thing was that, after dinner, even though it was 8:30 and raining (slightly) I planned to pop into the old PPE Reading Room to check a reference in a stack request, only to find it was a wasted trip as it now closes at 7pm! That's ridiculous.

At least when I got home, I was able to complete my undergraduate reports (though I still owe some more detailed ones on my visiting students). I was further annoyed to find that, despite me sending him two emails today pointing out it was the deadline for the Churchill/Fitzwilliam/New/Trinity joint application JRFs at Cambridge one of my referees failed to get his reference in. So that's four more I won't get...


  1. Anonymous2:14 am

    Hey Ben,

    After several months of observation, I have concluded that 90% of scientists live a work life objectively more boring than the 10% most boring social scientists work lives.

    You would not imagine the amount of scientists whose job consists of pushing liquids in tubes all day long, then wait, realize something went wrong, then start again. A variant exists with aligning stuff to get light beams through. In fact, the number of variants is practically infinite.

    All studies converge to prove that 9 scientists out of 10 spend their lives replicating existing procedures, to get either wrong or inconclusive results. Or trivial ones. Or interesting ones, but on trivial problems.

    I have come to consider that we soc-sci punks live a pretty interesting intellectual life compared to what I have seen in labs.

    Of course, the 10% of scientists who do not fit the picture will complain about this description. But go and ask the lambda grad student in molecular biology or physics what his job consists of. Look him/her go through a working day. Try to figure out what s/he really adds to the handbook procedure.

  2. By the way, there's a 'lottery' article in the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Political Philosophy.