Friday, August 13, 2010

What do chemists do when they stop doing chemistry?

I am sure that most of you have been following the comments in the recent In the Pipeline thread "If you're not a chemist - what next?" The thread has generated over 160 comments and lots of people suggesting new fields.

I took a look at the answers and tried to quantify the 'next'? There were 35 answers where someone identified themselves (or someone they know) as a former scientist and their current new field.

In order of popularity, they are:

Computer-related work (computational science, programming, etc.): 9 (26%)
Other (conference planning, children's museum coordinator, gardening): 8 (23%)
Business (MBA, business development): 4 (11%)
Intellectual property law (patent attorney, agent): 4 (11%)
Regulatory affairs: 4 (11%)
Pharmacy-related stuff: 3 (9%)
Teaching (high school, tutoring): 3 (9%)

I have to say, I'm surprised by the relative lack of answers on MBA or IP law, but maybe they're busy? Interesting.


  1. A thread I have had some interest in too. There are several now saying they have or are going to get a MBA or law degree.

    I looked into financial analyst work at one point. Granted the financial industry has taken a hard hit in this current environment too but they will probably be some of the first ones to recover and use to they paid big bucks for former PhDs to come in and perform analysis on the chemical industries.

  2. In a bad attempt at a R. Lee Ermey voice: "Ain't no such thing as a former PhD, son..."


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