The Sassy Scientist – The Philosopher’s Stone

The Sassy Scientist – The Philosopher’s Stone

Hermione has finally completed her graduate studies, with some extra-curricular training that will remain unnamed here and with activities which some will not remember. Now the time has come to use that newly acquired title for good although demands, desires and duties meander through the realm of possibilities, leaving Hermione in a perpetual plight:

What to do when obtaining a PhD in geodynamics?

Dear Hermione,

You’re supposed to love knowing things, and to seek expanding that knowledge (I guess … my ancient Greek is a bit rusty). I mind you you’re the one who just acquired a doctorate in philosophy. The onus is on you to adhere to your putative duties. In any way you see fit. With as much or little ambition reflected in your activities. Such ostensible responsibility is nothing compared to the reality of spoiling lives as a mother of two? It’s all up to you. You decide in which House of science minions you’ll reside. Surely you aspire to become the Dumbledore of your own academy one day, with the inclination to inspire many to pursue a career in academia, and a publication list that will make Tolstoy’s War and Peace look like a shopping list. Beware of the Draco’s and Snape’s roaming the dusky hallways of many an institute. Ambition is an attribute which oftentimes coexists with resourceful cunning and unparalleled discourtesy. A concurrence which baffles you I’m sure, though not an uncommon occurrence in academia, unfortunately. However, don’t feel obliged to take the moral high ground and alleviate those professional worries. You don’t have to be the next Dumbledore. There’s a lot of elbow room in the realm of scientific appointments. Most of whom don’t carry names that will stay with you for the rest of your life per se, but indispensable in the perpetual progression of expanding knowledge nonetheless. With many a student beholden to your efforts, your plight will be swayed and the disdain of some of those overzealous, attention seeking, power mongers can be simply ignored. Simply may not be the correct word, as there are a lot of Voldemort’s lurking around. The rat race never ends. There is no sorting hat to put you on the right track. No Hagrid to take you by the hand and lead you comfortably into the world of science. You know your worth, and you’ll not let anyone poison your well of crystal clear conscience. There remains one other option, which will keep your mind free of any shenanigans in science; don’t stay in science. But that’s giving you a perfectly nice broom, and you’d prefer to swipe your room instead of a pick-up game of quidditch. ¿Raro, no?

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written without any inkling of popular culture, but a wild imagination.

PS2: Just read the books, listen to the audio-books, and watch the films. In that order. No, that’s not overkill. You know which ones.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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