Discussion:
How much money do string theorists make?
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m***@hotmail.com
2005-10-31 15:40:24 UTC
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I am an undergrad entertaining a career in string theory. Can somebody
tell me about the salary and working conditions of string theorists?
Mark Martin
2005-10-31 22:51:18 UTC
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Post by m***@hotmail.com
I am an undergrad entertaining a career in string theory. Can somebody
tell me about the salary and working conditions of string theorists?
If that's your first question, then string theory isn't for you.

-Mark Martin
m***@hotmail.com
2005-11-01 23:46:40 UTC
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What, then, attracts some many young people to string theory if they
can study finance or business?
Post by Mark Martin
Post by m***@hotmail.com
I am an undergrad entertaining a career in string theory. Can somebody
tell me about the salary and working conditions of string theorists?
If that's your first question, then string theory isn't for you.
-Mark Martin
d***@physics.adelaide.edu.au
2005-11-03 19:16:15 UTC
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Post by m***@hotmail.com
What, then, attracts some many young people to string theory if they
can study finance or business?
What attracts people to _any_ sort of job with a salary under $100k a
year?
Post by m***@hotmail.com
Post by Mark Martin
Post by m***@hotmail.com
I am an undergrad entertaining a career in string theory. Can somebody
tell me about the salary and working conditions of string theorists?
If that's your first question, then string theory isn't for you.
-Mark Martin
What attracts people?
Usually the thrill of the chase and the temptation of scientific
immortality. How many famous financiers or business managers will be
remembered even 50 years hence as e.g. Green, Schwarz, Witten,
Polchinski etc will be?

As for working conditions - the money is not what makes up for it.
Actually that sort of holds for academia as a whole.

David
m***@hotmail.com
2005-11-04 01:34:57 UTC
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How many famous financiers or business managers will be remembered even
50 years hence as e.g. Green, Schwarz, Witten, Polchinski etc will be?
You think GSW and Polchinski, whoever he is, will be remembered in 100
years? You delude yourself, buddy. How many people on the street can
name the top 50 mathematicians in the 1850?
Ask your mother who the top mathematician was in 1800. Does she care
at all? Who cares?

But we do remember Dale Carnegie, alfred nobel, Leland Stanford,
Rockefeller, and other rich tycoons who created lasting corporations
and endowed permanent institutions.

[Moderator's note: This message does not necessarily reflect the available
historical record. Moderator, Polchinski Strings Ltd., November 3rd, 2105]
Lubos Motl
2005-11-04 13:17:45 UTC
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Post by m***@hotmail.com
How many famous financiers or business managers will be remembered even 50
years hence as e.g. Green, Schwarz, Witten, Polchinski etc will be?
You think GSW and Polchinski, whoever he is, will be remembered in 100
years? You delude yourself, buddy. How many people on the street can
name the top 50 mathematicians in the 1850?
My guess is that a random person on the street was not exactly the main
judge of the eternal value that the previous contributor had in mind and
cared about. Nothing against the random people on the street in 2105!
Post by m***@hotmail.com
Ask your mother who the top mathematician was in 1800. Does she care
at all? Who cares?
Well, who cares about your mother?
Post by m***@hotmail.com
But we do remember Dale Carnegie, alfred nobel, Leland Stanford,
Rockefeller, and other rich tycoons who created lasting corporations
and endowed permanent institutions.
But why do we remember them? I remember Carnegie because the surname
appears in the name of an average university but I have no idea how she or
he looked like; Alfred Nobel was an average inventor who is important
because his money were used to support some truly famous people like
Einstein, Feynman, and many others - in fact, I would not even recognize
Nobel on a photograph even though I believe he looked like Antonin Dvorak;
Leland Stanford is important because at a school that carries his name,
intense research of cosmological and other aspects of string theory takes
place - and his or her first name is important because Lenny Susskind's
computer is named like that. ;-)

And finally, why is David Rockefeller, whom I would not recognize on a
photograph either, famous? It's because the famous David Gross made a talk
at Cornell in 1993 in which he mentioned, on the bottom of page 3,

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/9311253

that physics may be funded by people with cash if things of eternal value
are named after them, and the David Rockefeller quark was his key example.
I hope that this clears up your confusions.

All the best
Lubos

POP
2005-11-03 19:16:46 UTC
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Does that mean that the only people who deserves study and do string
theory is only that has enough economic resources?
Xi Yin
2005-11-03 23:08:04 UTC
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What do you use the money for? Vacation in the Caribbean? String theory is
fun. I mean, you would actually enjoy working 10 hours a day as opposed to
working on something boring (financing?) and/or dealing with stupid people
on every weekday and then spend your salary on vacation and fancy
house/food or whatever.
Post by m***@hotmail.com
What, then, attracts some many young people to string theory if they
can study finance or business?
Post by Mark Martin
Post by m***@hotmail.com
I am an undergrad entertaining a career in string theory. Can somebody
tell me about the salary and working conditions of string theorists?
If that's your first question, then string theory isn't for you.
-Mark Martin
Orion
2005-10-31 22:52:43 UTC
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I guess the salary is around $80,000.
http://swz.salary.com/salarywizard/layouthtmls/swzl_narrowjob_RD05.html
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