Heaven is a Job in…

One of the most frustrating aspects of living in the groves of academe (not a typo, my friends, look it up) is the lack of control one seems to have over the eventual institution where one gains long term employment. I mean, who in their right mind really wants to teach at the University of Alabama? Not to bash such a fine football school, but it is hard for me to imagine myself happy at such a locale (for geographic, political, climatic, and social reasons…if you must know.) And thus I find my goals morphed into not just gaining a tenure track position in physics, but in the suicidal attempt to do so somewhere where I would be happy to live even if I wasn’t doing physics. Of course like any good quaesitum much grief and stress is reigned upon my world for being so particular. But on the good days, I like to think it could happen. And on those days I go and surf the web to find the placed where I’d love to end up.
Below I’ve assembled my dream list. The first entry, as you will see, is so pie in the sky as to be laughable (but if you are Paul Allen or Bill Gates, please do read this entry, heh), but the others are the places that keep me motivated in the political regime of acquiring a job.

Dave’s Personal Ranking of Schools Which Would Bring Him Much Bliss By Giving Him a Job

  1. Washington Institute of Technology What? You’ve never heard of WIT? Well I hope you have a sense of humor, because WIT doesn’t even exist. Conceived originally as the “Tahoe Institute of Technology,” WIT is the name I give to the idea spawned by myself and some Berkeley cohorts for founding a new leading private university located in a most beautiful location somewhere in the West. Indeed the Pacific Northwest is in particular need of a prestegious private research university: what with Intel, Microsoft, and Boeing having a large presence in Portland and Seattle. One might, of course, say, but what about the University of Washington? The answer is perhaps best served by looking at the fine example of Berkeley and Stanford: these two universities, one private and one public, are each bettered by the presence of the other. So, someday, the dream goes, we will found WIT in Seattle and create a new powerhouse in the educational system of the world. (addendum: if you are Bill Gates or Paul Allen, I would love to talk to you. lol.)
  2. University of Washington What can I say about UW that I don’t like? Located in one of the most beatiful cities in the world within easy distance of skiing and hiking. And its the Pacific Northwest, for gods sake, my favorite area of the U.S. Combine this with a really good physics department and a top computer science department and I’m hooked. Now if only they would hook me! I should have been a nuclear physicist.
  3. University of British Columbia Skiing is 15 minutes from Vancouver. 15 minutes. And Vancouver is an amazing city full of much culture and life. Did I mention that one of the best ski areas in the world is just up the road? Add the super bonus of good physics and computer science departments and location in beautiful British Columbia and I’m sold.
  4. University of Colorado, Boulder Starting to get the picture yet? I like schools from which I can ski and hike. Boulder also has an incredible physics department. The town itself has a reputation for being super lefty (what they recycle? how crazy of them!) and a great place for getting outdoors.
  5. Montana State University Well maybe this one shocked you a little bit. Montana State? All I know is that any university located in the Montana Rockies has got me sold. Plus, unlike University of Montana, they have a graduate program in physics. Yellowstone is just down the road as well as awesome skiing.
  6. University of California, Berkeley OK, the first locale not centrally located to skiing, although the Sierras are not too far away. Berkeley’s whole demeanor, easy access to the city, and laid back attitude puts Berkeley high up on my list.
  7. University of Oregon Eugene is a cool place to live and very “close to home” for me. Again, not centrally located for skiing, but its not far to the mountains. Oregon even has people doing research in quantum computing (unbelievable, eh?)
  8. Simon Fraser University Take all I said about UBC and add a pretty funky private university.
  9. Colorado State The Rockies draw me like a moth to a candle. Hike, ski, do physics sound good to anyone but me?
  10. Portland State UniversityPortland is a wonderful, if less than diverse city. With Mt. Hood just down the road, and easy access to the Cascades, PSU sounds good to me.
  11. University of Wyoming Wyoming falls down my list for being a bit farther than others from really rocking skiing, but still who could resist a job here in physics?
  12. University of Montana Again the mountains call. The biggest negative for University of Montana is that they don’t have a graduate program in physics (how disappointing.) But maybe with the prodding of a young faculty member this could be made to change?
  13. Colorado College Well now we’ve made it down the list to the funky little liberal arts/science schools which don’t have graduate programs but seem like cool places. Colorado College is located in Colorado Springs near the base of Pike’s Peak. It has a funky block plan for teaching which I find interesting. Alas, no graduate students upon which to base a world class research institute, but if it has to be that way (thank you Ben Schumacher and William Wootters for showing me this is possible), then this would be an excellent place to end up.
  14. Reed College Take Portland State University comments, plus a funky liberal arts college and you’ve got the makings of a very nice life.
  15. Fort Lewis College Fort Lewis makes the list due in large part to its location: Durango Colorado. Although Durango is a little south for my liking in Colorado the area is absolutely fantastically beatufiul (Could I live in Silverton and commute to Durango…well I might miss a few classes!)

2 Replies to “Heaven is a Job in…”

  1. university of wyoming?
    perhaps my friend you have never been to Laramie.
    i myself have spent multiple months parked on my grandparents porch in that one university, two horse town.
    i guess it is only a few hours from boulder but still…..
    i am also sad to see my alma mater, despite an excellent location, could not make the cut.

  2. You fail to mention that your top three choices would also allow you to spend more time with your two favorite cousins! But maybe such a reason isn’t sufficiently “right minded,” to borrow a phrase…

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