Re: Degrees vs. smarts

Amara Graps (
Mon, 4 Oct 1999 14:04:52 +0100

David Lubkin ( Fri, 01 Oct 1999 14:05:56 writes:

>Surely it is least appropriate to judge people on this list by
>the criteria Joe is applying to Mike. Is Robin any more
>insightful than Eliezer because he's Dr. Robin? Do you know
>what degrees, if any, Anders or Hal or Kathryn have? Who

"Who cares?" ? I'll bet Dr. Robin cares about the degrees that Dr. Robin holds. (And me too. I know something about his long and hard-earned effort.) I would guess that the other list members that hold degrees would care similarly about the hard struggle and effort in gaining their degrees.

If a person is really passionate about the work that they do, then holding degrees in ones' field has a special meaning. Those degrees are not medals that they think that they can hang around their neck, nor are the degrees a guaranteed admittance to the job world (certainly not in astronomy). Those degrees are symbols to themselves that they were committed to learning and gaining an expertise in a particular area. In some fields, it's not necessary to have a degree to gain an expertise, in other fields (like science) it is (usually) necessary.

I think that the main issue here is whether a person loves their work. If a person truly loves their work, and are committed to it, it shows in every aspect of their life. Degrees, papers, products, talks, paintings, music compositions, etc. are natural by-products of this passion. How many people really love their work? How many people jump out of bed in the morning and say, "Oh boy, another day that I can do my job!" I would guess that not a significant proportion of the population feel that way.

Pursuing one's dream(s) is what life is all about (my personal opinion).


Amara Graps                  email:
Computational Physics        vita:  finger
Multiplex Answers            URL:
     "Trust in the Universe, but tie up your camels first."
               (adaptation of a Sufi proverb)