Climbing Down The Tower

Musings on leaving academia for the real world

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The First Step...

Welcome to Climbing Down the Tower, a blog for anyone who has ever wondered what they want to do with their life. Specifically, I'll be blogging about my transition from academic science research into the non-profit and policy world of Washington, D.C.

I recently completed my Ph.D. in astrophysics. As a student, I studied exploding stars in distant galaxies known as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), both to understand how they work and also to use them as a tool for measuring the universe itself. I'm happy to report that studying astronomy as a research subject hasn't quenched my internal little-kid's delight at looking up at the night sky or reading about the rings of Saturn and wondering what it would be like to travel there. I still think stars and planets and galaxies are just plain awesome. I also really enjoyed my time in grad school, but I realized during the course of my studies that pure scientific research was not my only love and that a life in academia was just not for me. For one thing, I believe we all have a responsibility to make the world a better place, and while academic study is often a crucial part of that struggle, I long for something more down to earth.

So after six years of science, I have just moved to Washington, D.C. and am looking for a path into the non-profit world. This blog will hopefully be a chronicle of that journey as well as a space to write and think about some of the following questions:
  • So what can you do with a Ph.D. anyway? Is there life after grad school?
  • What are the ways in which science can help make this a better world? How do we avoid making it worse? What would socially responsible science look like?
  • What is the best way to get a job doing something different than my school training?
  • Advice on grad school, post-docs, teaching, research and other stuff like that.
  • Plus any random thoughts that happen to float through my brain...

My hope is that people will find this blog helpful and interesting and will chime in with comments and testimonials (so don't be shy!). I'm hoping to recruit a few guest bloggers to give different perspectives on some of these topics, and maybe I'll add a few bells and whistles once we're up and running. Comments and recommendations are always welcome.


Anonymous Matthew Sharp said...

Dear Tim,

So far so good. Keep it up, and keep it full of details!

good luck

8:37 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Hey Matthew. Will do... let me know if anything in particular would be most useful.

9:09 AM  

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