The Visible Universe has two new friends in the blogosphere: Sorting Out Science's Sam Wise, who featured The Visible Universe in the 25th edition of the Carnival of Space, and Astronomom, who is a real-life friend as well.
Astronomom's brand-new blog chronicles life as post-doc and a new mother. Why start a blog with so much already on her plate?
If I'm going to be part of the leaky pipeline in science because of having had a baby as a postdoc then I want that recorded, and maybe my experience will help others. If I do manage some kind of balance, then I'd like that recorded too.
Responding to the FOXNews.com story on the astronomy job market, she writes:
I calculated at the start of graduate school that someone was investing 1/4 million dollars in me getting my PhD alone...! I've used telescopes that cost 10s of thousands of dollars a night to run - and I've had many nights on those telescopes. Surely it would be a huge waste to the field if I just disappear from Astronomy.
But as part of astronomy's "leaky pipeline," I don't believe that money is wasted if a student doesn't pursue a research career. There are many fields where individuals with real, hands-on science experience are desperately needed--science policy, science journalism, education--and having scientifically trained people in those positions can only be a good thing for the field.
Of course, some students take their PhDs and head for private-sector positions in investment banking, software design, and the like. Who can blame them when jobs within their field are so scarce? I agree with Astronomom that, in the long run, an oversupply of highly-educated astronomers isn't good for anyone: Yet, the more students are clamoring for degrees and courses in astronomy, the more tenure-track faculty should be necessary to instruct them.
That's in theory, anyway.