Re: PSYCH: Women and Math

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Mon Feb 26 2001 - 10:02:01 MST

From: "Gerhard Haak" <>

>As an aside, consider the following. Typically, the pure sciences and
>mathematics don't pay as well as law and medicine, and tend to have a lower
>status in society.

I don't agree about the 'lower status in society' in the societies
where I've lived. I think the words: 'different status' or 'unique
status' might be more appropriate. I agree with your assessment
about the money earnings, however.

So of the countries that I know about-

I know that in Poland the bus drivers make more money than PhD
astrophysics researchers- there's something very wrong IMO about the
science earnings and status in that society. Hungary and the Czech
Republic and Romania and Baltic countries are better as far as the
"status" part goes, but the earning power in those societes is bleak.
(economically those countries have some ways to go)

In the US, I was earning more as a scientific programmer in my
government (NASA) lab than the post-docs at the same place, who had
more formal scientific training.

Germany is interesting ... people seem to be leaving the sciences
in droves (simply my subjective opinion) and headed towards the
businesses because of the money lure. The societal status of
scientists is fairly good here, but money doesn't follow. The
scientists I know are not poor, but there is not anyone who is
wealthy either.

Maybe a useful note: every astronomer I know is in the astronomy
field because they love the work and not for the money (take an
astronomer to lunch, please). Another note: the astronomers whom I
know that have left the field because of the money lure, later
regretted it. As a point of reference: I cut my monthly earnings by
about 2/3 in order to go for my astrophysics PhD. I have no
illusions of big money in the coming years either, and that
honestly doesn't bother me.

>As a living, physics and math just don't cut it.

I disagree.. Supporting one.. looks OK to me. Supporting more
than one person.. well.. could be a problem. Some high-paying
consultant work on the side would be beneficial (!).

Everyone needs to assess for themselves the "money value" compared
to the "joy value" of one's work-life, don't you think?


Amara Graps email:
Computational Physics vita: finger
Multiplex Answers URL:
"Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the
future of the human race." -- H. G. Wells

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:48 MDT