In 2008, I wrote an article called “Breaking_The_Grey_Ceiling” which was published by Physics World in its “comment” section. It was about the difficulties faced by older students trying to “break into” the academic hierarchy in physics, and the benefits they can bring to the discipline if they manage to get in.
I followed it up in 2009 with another article headed “Will the last person to leave please turn off the accelerator?“, which dealt with the challenges facing young PhDs in particle physics, and the difficulties involved in balancing career aspirations with relationships, home-building and families. It consisted mainly of the results of an informal survey I had conducted among my peer group of 56 PhD students in the 2003-6 cohort. Continue reading