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

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 17:48:18 UTC 2008

On Feb 13, 2008 2:57 AM, Amara Graps <amara at amara.com> wrote:
> Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com :
> >I am not sure to which post you refer but if you mean my comment on
> >"ewige Studenten" in response to your analysis of the disciplining
> >influence of PhD deadlines, I agree that it was not a straightforward
> >answer.
> No it wasn't, and it didn't help that you threw in as many sneers and
> barbs as you could muster for that diatribe against German
> government-funded PhDs. And you didn't address either of my two points:
> reputation and time.

### Well, you know, I am a German government-funded PhD too...but the
main thrust of my rhetoric was not directed at PhD-level education but
rather at BA/MA/MD schooling.

> For a libertarian, I don't know how you could ignore the importance of
> one's reputation. In the sciences, reputation is king. If a PhD advisor
> chooses a slacker PhD student, then he/she must answer to that choice to
> his own department and superiors, and in the process his/her reputation
> is mud. Science research is not usually well-funded, anywhere, and that
> advisor just wasted precious money and time.  On the student's side,
> he/she has two years to finish that PhD, or three, if he/she applies
> formally for an extension. Not only is student's reputation on the line
> (because he/she must have a postdoc job lined up when that PhD is
> finished), their money is gone on the day after the two or three years.
> If he or she is in Germany on a student visa, that means that they must
> leave the country, the day that PhD contract no longer applies, too. I
> suggest you ask the people you know who have Physics PhDs if three years
> is enough time for the research, writing, defense of a good Physics
> PhD project and  for finding a postdoc position. No 50,000 dollar debt
> is needed  to 'focus' these people.

### PhD's are a small fraction of the total post-secondary school
population. As I said, I agree about your point regarding reputation
and other incentives in this situation, since most PhD's are
internally motivated to succeed in the field they love (presumably)
but for the rest you cannot rely on that.

> P.S. The Physics PhD Universitaet Heidelberg students wouldn't relax on
> the Haupstrasse, provided that they could find a free-time lunch period,
> because there are too many tourists, such as yourself there. They would
> be eating their lunch on the Neckarwiese, instead.

### Aber nein, Amara, ich war doch kein Turist! Ich arbeitete im
Neuenheimer Feld, im Institut fuer Humangenetik.


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