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So, I may have made a postdoc shortlist (the third I’ve made for sure since applying for postdocs last year). And I may have had a phone interview earlier this week.

Unfortunately I’ve only had one phone interview before and that experience was interesting at best. At times I lack a brain to mouth filter so I do recall referring to Janskys as “those obnoxious flux units infrared and radio astronomers use because they can’t use magnitudes” many years ago. Somehow however I got that job.

But I think this week the filter between my brain and mouth was lost again. When talking about the science I found interesting for the future, I was asked if I planned on following it up with JWST. My instant reply was that no, given the political situation with the budget overruns I’m not even counting on JWST flying. Shit. That was probably the wrong thing to say. But as it stands JWST is running billions over budget. It has/is going to be removed from the astrophysics division so it can be managed separately to help stem the flow of cash circling the drain. Ordinarily I’d say Yay JWST, but when some of the biggest supporters in Congress start to have issues with the cost overruns, I can’t help but be cautious when thinking of long term plans for the future.

And I’m kicking myself because there was other discussion about how this professor is the only one in *subfield* at this institution. I wasn’t sure if it was politically incorrect to correct them, but they were very wrong, there are people in a partner department and some others in the same department running on soft money that do some complimentary work, some of whom I see every year at the annual conferences and know on sight. In this case I held my tongue and I wonder if I should have.

But. . . now is the time for waiting. They mentioned maybe an offer this week, but nothing is on the rumor mill and it’s a holiday so I wouldn’t be surprised if all the uni admin types needed to make any sort of offer were already out until the new year. But until them I have at least one other postdoc application to churn out and a newer, better paper draft of paper #4 of my dissertation to write.


So what did I see in my inbox at University of the Frozen Tundra, but the colloquium schedule for the next term and at the end of the month, my advisor’s other senior grad student is scheduled to defend in the standard colloquium slot.

While this other student has been around longer than me by at least a year, it’s hard for me to not be jealous. Ze’s scheduled to defend because he has a job lined up. One I heard about last time I was in the Frozen Tundra which makes me a little uneasy. I don’t think he has the experience. I also think that this person defending is problematic as they have zero first authored publications right now.

In the end this all doesn’t really effect me, but I am a bit pissed that I have 3 first authored pubs right now (with 3 more lined up, one should be submitted in the next month) and I’m living in rejection city. More often than not I’ve been feeling like I can’t win- I don’t have a famous advisor and I’m not doing something like cosmology which is sexy and has like 80 million postdoc postings.

So for today, I think I may have a quality sulk with my next manuscript and will plot all my fellowship applications for the next two months.

Okay maybe start of postdoc application season isn’t write since two of the big ones were due last week and I applied for others before that. Current application count is 5, I have another 2 upcoming and 1 or 3 I’m a tad squiffy on. Doing asteroids is difficult for postdocs though- what I study look like point sources in the images so the planetary people don’t really want me and the astrophysics people can get a little high and mighty about the solar system not being astrophysics because it’s too close. . .or because they think it doesn’t involve any physics or telescopes. How wrong they are (as you can see by the banner at the top of the page which is constructed from 3 telescope frames showing the tracks of newly discovered asteroids in sets of RGB)!¬† I’m all about the use of telescopes and you have to use basic physics to determine orbits and they can tell you interesting thing about the chemistry of the proto-planetary nebula. Thankfully I’m studying main belt asteroids so we have the potential to test theoretical models of giant planet migration in our own solar system with them which means I can play the extrasolar planets angle. I just have my fingers crossed that it can get me a job.

Of course before I get a job, I have to finish my dissertation! Today my computer probably ran about 8 million calculations and I started my next journal article. I just have to write this article and two more and I’m home free. Well except for that observing run next week and that small astronomy conference in January in DC where I have to make a poster and help out one of the undergrads in our group with hers as well.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll write an entry on a journal article- either recent or posted on astro-ph. I read two from astro-ph this past week today but I spent too much time backtracking to referenced articles or looking for ones that really should have been referenced to actually write a thoughful post.

July 2018
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