[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Feb 12 15:39:58 UTC 2008

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
>On Mon, Feb 11, 2008 at 10:47:43PM -0700, Amara Graps wrote:

>>  Note to Spike: When I was 21, I got my first serious astronomy job,

>Amara, the world is a very different place then it was at the time.
>Also, you're not exactly average. I'm not sure *anyone* could pull that
>stunt off, now.

It wasn't a stunt, it was a natural progression. Note the years of
experience by the time I was 21. And in that long list, I didn't include
a couple of other jobs: soldiering capacitors in my university's plasma
physics lab, volunteering help at my junior college's planetarium shows.

>>  Note to Bryan: don't put too much weight on Spike's 'Usually that
>>  requires a college degree...'

>I have to side with Spike on that one. The entry ticket to play
>the game in most disciplines is a PhD, in some you'll need postdoc.
>Mavericks have prohitibitively high entry levels.

Eugene, surely you know the grunt work that is involved in any
scientific work. There are many avenues for teenagers to learn about a
topic while doing grunt work, volunteering their time on such, while
they still have a roof over their head paid by their families. It wasn't
a miracle or a 'stunt' that I was at Palomar Observatory, volunteering my
time, when I met my JPL boss; the astronomer I was helping came to my
local astronomy club and asked for volunteers and I raised my hand. And
I wasn't the first in my JPL group that got my JPL job at a young age
and was publishing papers before my I earned my bachelor's degree, I was
something like the fourth.

It doesn't seem like you are giving proper value to a young person who
has passion; passion enough to try and learn about something to gain
experience, right away. You should. Those are the years when such
passion can go the farthest, the young person hasn't yet suffered enough
disappointments to jade their world view and slow them down.

When I was teaching 18-22 year olds at AUR, I did not meet many students
with that passion-and-experience; if I had, then I would have snagged
them for getting their hands wet in my grunt scientific work. And then
happily written letters of recommendation, or otherwise recommended them
to other scientists I know.

>>  working for the Voyager 2 mission Photopolarimeter team at the Jet
>>  Propulsion Laboratory.

>The funding for space missions has collapsed, too.

Do you know that about 80% of my salary since 1982 has been paid by
space missions (Voyager, Pioneer Venus, KAO, SpaceLab, NASA Atmospheric
Airborne flights, SOHO, Galileo, Cassini, Dawn, New Horizons) ? The money
is still there, and there are new players entering (India, China) too.
But you have to look and or position yourself for it. And please don't
count on Mars missions.



Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Research Scientist, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list