Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Comings and Goings

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, History of Science, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

Most of the reporting about career moves by scientists and engineers are found in biographies about their lives. We seldom are provided both personal and professional insights into such decisions.

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll (CalTech) had the best post I've ever read on a career change. He is moving from CalTech to the Johns Hopkins University for a new position, one which involves a dual appointment: physics and philosophy. He will teach a course in both disciplines. 

The web site is Preposterous Universe and the epigraph is very appealing to me: In truth, only atoms and the void. A world view I share although one not nearly as informed as is Carroll's. He is an excellent lay guide to both, books and lectures (one example).

Here it is and I hope will read it. It starts with a memory of his first visit to Johns Hopkins, an awards ceremony for the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY). He writes this about it. "I scored as 'pretty precocious' but 'not precocious enough to be worth following up.'" He adds this, a wry comment typical of him, "Can't really argue. My award was a slim volume on analytic geometry, which -- well, the thought was nice."

He is married to Jennifer Oulette, a well-known science writer and whose writing I strongly recommend. She is one of the best.

There are links in the essay, too.

If there are academic and research positions that come close to fitting personal and professional interests and abilities, this one strikes me as one "written for" Sean Carroll.

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