Astronomy jobs in trouble again?

Contributed by
Oct 17, 2007

When I was in graduate school, we were being told that there was a shortage of science jobs in the US. There were even commercials on the TV telling kids to go into science (ironically, the only person I remember clearly in one of the commercials was Newt Gingrich, who helped the Republican Congress throttle science in the 1990s).

A friend of mine called that The Big Lie. There were not that many job openings then, and in fact only a few of the grad students with me at that time went on to astronomy careers. A lot of them -- incredibly intelligent, good scientists -- couldn't find work. Most now make three times as much money in the computer industry anyway. But still.

Things eased up a bit for a while, but I wonder. There is a story on Fox News (I know, I poured Clorox all over my keyboard after linking there) that astronomy jobs are on the decline again.

I'll be attending the American Astronomical Society meeting in January, and I'll have to keep my ears open about this. I haven't heard much about a declining job market lately, and since that article is from Fox News it's almost certainly wrong, so I'm curious to know what's really going on.

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