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Departmental Colloquium

A Physicist's Life Cycle  
Guest Speaker
Joseph Hermanowicz  
Thursday, April 8, 2010 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm  
202 Physics  

Dr. Robin Shelton is hosting Dr. Joseph Hermanowicz of the University of Georgia Department of Sociology this week. The Abstract for his talk, "A Physicist's Life Cycle" follows.

What can we learn when we follow people over the years and across the course of their professional lives? A sociological study has been undertaken of contemporary academic careers situated in varieties of the modern American university as revealed in the lives of fifty-five university physicists. The study is based on face-to-face interviews with academics who were first interviewed in 1994-95 and again in 2004-05. Physicists were initially sampled across a range of career stages, from early, middle, and late career. The longitudinal study examines the career paths of these academics as they have advanced from these points, including into the stage of retirement and exit from the career. The study examines scientists' shifting perceptions of their jobs to uncover the meanings they invest in their work, when and where they find satisfaction, how they succeed and fail, and how the rhythms of their work change as they age. Interviews with subjects shed light on the ways career goals are and are not met, on the frustrations of the academic profession, and perceptions of the arc of a scientific career.