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Rant about academics and blue-collar workers

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by del_and_bones, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. del_and_bones

    del_and_bones Anchorage, AK Physics Pirate

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    I had my preliminary oral exam yesterday (second to last hurdle in my PhD campaign), meaning I got grilled by 5 professors for 2 hours, which I passed. Now I have about 2 years of research left and then my dissertation defense. I know one of the professors didn't want to pass me, they cast a dissenting vote against me. I do like this person and I hold no ill will toward them.

    I worked for 6 years laying waterline about 10' deep in Alaska which allowed me to pay for my undergrad out of pocket (got degrees in both math and physics in 4 years). I know what it means to do a hard days' labor or, as my father would say, "put on your diggers and go to work everyday." I come from "high-class trailer trash."

    Some of the "academics" I deal with have little appreciation for the "blue collar" population which supports them. The main project I've been working on for the past 1.5 years has been a micro-fabrication nightmare, which I have received little help with. I've had to troubleshoot so many problems and gather advice from many experts in differing fields, then roll it all together to do things which about 5-10 people on the planet do. The progress I have made is double what any of the other physics grad students here at OSU could have done. On top of this, I have organized the lab I work in, done other projects for people in our lab, and coordinated with other labs to do collaborative work (including with the professor who voted against me). What angered me is how I have all this and then they want to fail me because I can't explain antenna theory and I couldn't explain how one type of physics process happened. Both are related to my research and I should know more about them than I do, but I don't think that is ample reason to fail me. I have done everything they asked of me and I will keep crushing problems, I just can't wrap my head around their lack of appreciation of the practical, blue collar workers which keep their world turning (ie machinists, skilled laborers, etc).

    Anyway, a win is a win and I'll keep kicking *** and taking names.
    gallogiro and (deleted member) like this.
  2. markpeters1970

    markpeters1970 PNW Active Member

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    Congrats on your successful defense! These folks will soon realize that with a small manufacturing and some minor technology the invention process will be flipped on its side no longer from the Ivory tower down to the common folk. We are facing a data revolution that will lead to a major flattening of the invention and manufacturing process. NPR just did a story on "Fab Labs" and the MIT center for bit and atoms. Hopefully your on that path and we mere humans will benefit from your work soon. Keep up the good work and let me know what support you need, Anyone working to upset that status-quo, has me as a fan. All the best!
  3. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Congratulations! I think that most academics would be astounded by the number of truly intelligent people who, for one reason or another, never went to grad school or even attended college. Good fortune to you!