Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ivory Filter Flask: 5/28/13 edition

Good morning! Between May 21 and May 27, there have been 8 new academic positions posted on the C&EN Jobs website. The numbers:

Total number of ads: 8
- Postdocs: 2
- Tenure-track faculty:  3
- Temporary faculty: 2
- Lecturer positions:  0
- Staff positions:  1
- US/non-US: 5/3

Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida is searching for a prominent chemical biologist for a new chaired position. 

Moscow, Russia: Skoltech is a new institution; they're looking for people, looks like. I think it's interesting how all of the subject areas they're hiring for are very "hot." Wonder how that will look 10 years from now. 

Columbus, OH: Ohio State is searching a postdoctoral fellow for an imaging lab; synthetic experience desired. 

Washington, D.C.: Howard is looking for a department chair.


  1. My wife refuses to consider Skoltech and said that if I apply there, to expect her not to follow me if I get a job. According to her it's all a bunch of hot air and you're going to end up without money and results because it's some vanity project that will line the pockets of some corrupt officials. Also something about Russia being a horrible place to raise a family...

    Of course, she's Russian, so she's biased on this; I'm guessing that I shouldn't listen to her. Moscow sounds fab according to this Canadian movie.


    Maybe I'll apply secretly, but the four reference letters are a bit of a problem. I only have three good ones so far. I suppose I can get someone from my PhD committee...

    1. How resilient is your wife to cultural strangeness? Have you considered the middle east? I'm working at one of the American institutions here, and what you make up for in money and quality of life, you lose in well ... motivation to lift a finger from anyone outside the University. I can't lie, our analytical equipment is light years away from what our dying institution had in the states, and the NMR magnet hasn't gone down in about a year or so. I'm of two minds in this. No where else in the world am I going to be given an opportunity to build something, pay back my student loans, and not literally starve. That said, it's pretty culturally aloof here. Attitudes toward women and free speech are "evolving".

      I'll have to write a book about it, but if you do apply, they will spoil you rotten in the hiring process.

    2. I was thinking about it... but I'm a guy. How would women be treated over there? Do you have to wear a burka every time you go off campus (assuming this is Saudi)? If so, I can't really go there if I'm already married. The best bet might be that American University in Kurdistan, because it's not really Iraq and it's safe and relatively liberal, but I'm not sure they have money or equipment.

    3. How women get treated there? If it's not Saudi, then for the most part fine. UAE is fine, there are some legal inconveniences that will make your blood boil as a woman, and some persistent koran inspired for views on women from the lots of the service class expats. But the bureaucracy and security can make your blood boil for a zillion other ways that have nothing to do with being a woman (hooray British colonialism!) Bengali's can be among the worst in their sexism. I guess the more money you have, the younger, and more ambitious you are, the more western you are in your approach to life, and the less conservative you tend to be. It's the modern world, you either get over it and hire the best qualified men/women to do the job that needs to get done, or you get left behind. With that view, the treatment of women is constantly evolving.

    4. One more thing, the locals don't exactly want you to stay. Yes they need work done, including setting up University infrastructure and education, but they are still trying to find their culture in the modern world and keep their national identity. So they will pay you very well, treat you as an appreciated guest, but really would rather you not stay in the long term and set up roots. Which I guess, in the end it all balances out. You can bear the strangeness as it all seems to balance out.

    5. You've got to admit, what you wrote is not a very good endorsement for (rich) Bedouin culture and their treatment of foreigners. It's definitely not making me look at postings from the region in more of a favorable light. Not to mention it's the Missile East, so it's rather hot there, with a slight chance of missiles.

    6. Take everything Anonymous says with a grain of salt--there are some very negative people who you can give a chance of a lifetime (come to a new country and build a new university) and all they can do is complain about their student loans some more.

    7. I didn't think I was that negative. Life here is just taken with a grain of salt. It seems there are just these very extreme balancing forces all the time. ALL the time, because the region is so diverse and everyone has to be hypersensitive all the time to everyone's culture, origin, and beliefs. As a trained scientific cynic, you can see where it goes. Uncle Sam, you have a good attitude about things, and I think you might like it for a while. Your wife is Russian, she might have a different perspective on things.

    8. No, you're not really overwhelmingly negative, but I come across a lot of similar comments here that don't have much perspective on what they're doing. Sometimes they warn people off what could be great experiences for them.

      One time in grad school I heard a student complain that they were going to have to move to another city to work--the same (much nicer, many more opportunities) city that I had just left to come to grad school. Needless to say I did not have much sympathy--he was actually better off, he just didn't realize it.

  2. I will also not apologize for not being destitute. It is freaking amazing.