Alan Hale's open letter

April 18, 1997

"I was inspired by the scientific discoveries taking place during my childhood to pursue a career in science only to find, after completing the rigours of undergraduate and graduate school, that the opportunities for us to have a career in science are 'abysmal'.

"My feeling is that, unless there are some pretty drastic changes in the way that our society approaches science, there is no way that I can, with a clear conscience, encourage present-day students to pursue a career in science.

"I know I'm not alone in being frustrated about the prospects for pursuing any kind of decent career in science, and I'm sure that many of you have horror stories about your searches for decent employment similar to my own. I'd like to hear them. I'd especially like to hear from those of you who are on your second or third or fourth postdoc, or who have left the field as a result of the employment situation, or who have experienced severe personal difficulties. I realise that these might be painful to discuss, but I'd like to show that we are not a bunch of impersonal statistics, but human beings trying to make an honest living and perhaps make a contribution to society while we're at it."

Email your stories to ahale@nmsu.edu with a subject line "horror stories" and please copy to sian@thes.co.uk

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