Friday, July 22, 2016

Nope

From here: "Your acceptance into a PhD program puts you in the top 5% of the general populace in terms of academic ability, so don't ever forget that." 

No, I don't believe that at all. 

(The rest of it is fairly anodyne advice.) 

22 comments:

  1. I agree. I've met some questionable individuals who, by degree, we should be on the same level. Perhaps they felt the same about me though.

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  2. Is that even based on relevant data? This page (https://www.reference.com/education/percentage-americans-phd-2508f1120884e2a3) invokes 2013 US census data which has only 1.68 percent of people over the age of 25 with a PhD. But we all know people who definitely embody a PhD, and others that are questionable.

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    1. Yeah, I was about to say... ~1/3rd adults under 25 have a bachelors degree, and under 2% have a PhD. It's very possible that the quote above could be entirely true. Whether or not it matters is a different story.

      As far as chemistry PhDs go, that's maybe ~0.2% or less of the population. And we don't have enough jobs for even that many people :-P

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  3. Whether or not it's accurate, how does that help anyone? With regards to your social circles and job prospects, a Ph.D. just puts you into a smaller pond. One that's full of piranhas.

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    1. Life is a climb, and everyone else is a stepping-stone. Other Ph.D.s either bare your weight or crumble; either way, they're driven into the mud.

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    2. To avoid exploitation, try listening to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9Lkpt6SrY

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  4. Ph.D... Works with the ladies every time. Kind of like wearing a suit makes you look important so people take you seriously. A Ph.D. can get you good lovin and body-rockin with people (by degree only) a lot dumber than you.

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    1. perhaps you are misattributing the source of your success with the ladies to a Ph.D
      maybe i just missed out ?

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    2. Judging by how most chemistry PhDs dress I would guess that yes, wearing a suit would allow you to increase your social skills/standing/success rate.

      "Smart" people always miss the simple answer. Wait, is "smart" really the word I'm looking for here?

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    3. I've had plenty of people mistakenly believe that if I'm a chemist, I must make MBA-level money! I suspect that's what's really going on here.

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  5. LOL, sounds like something pulled out of the air by a person without a PhD.

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    1. With all due respect, I didnt go to school for 12 years to stay a pimple-faced virgin... I may be pulling something out, but not out of the air.

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  6. "Your acceptance into a PhD program puts you in the top 5% of the gullible populace."

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  7. "...embrace your weak points..." ???

    That sounds like you're supposed to be proud of them.

    What, was this written by some sort of self-esteem proponent?

    Sadly, this kind of pablum is embedded in corporations too these days.

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  8. I actually think this doesn't sound too unreasonable, but only because "academic ability" is not the same thing as intelligence or wisdom or intellectual ability, and is not very useful for anything besides being a student.

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  9. I think it was true when I did get accepted to a Ph.D. Actually, it was true and probably more exclusive than 5%. I bet it was top 1% or better. These days after I forgot all that nukelar physics and differential equations shit? I still hope I'm in the top half.

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  10. "...top 5% of the general populace in terms of academic ability..." (emphasis added).

    Maybe potential academic accomplishments might be more accurate, but I would have a hard time disagreeing with this strictly from a numbers viewpoint.

    So the ACS is playing fast and loose with the numbers? Wow! At least they are honest about the number of chemists that work in the field of polymers.

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    1. Be nice if they were as honest about unemployment and need for visas.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Self deprecating comments are a telltale sign of a self-aggrandizing state of mind. Its basic psychology. I have yet to meet a PhD in life science who is not desperate to tell me, at the first possible opportunity, that he has a PhD. They just can't help it. That's how they size the world around them.

    Freud has studied this behavior in great details and came up with the term "narcissism of small differences".



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  13. I don't think stuff like this is helpful. Our field has a huge problem with people contemplating suicide because they don't realize that mastering out of a PhD program somewhere like Caltech or Berkeley still puts you in the top 5% of academic accomplishment. PhD's who act like arrogant jerks are a problem too, but taking them down a notch is a much smaller issue.

    I love the comment that getting a PhD puts you in a much smaller pond - a pond full of piranhas!

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    1. I feel like the writer was trying to say "You got into a Ph.D. program - you're really smart!" which is both subjective and defensible, but the way that is is written is eminently falsifiable.

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