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questions [2021/04/28 21:13]
jthaler
questions [2021/10/07 02:32] (current)
jthaler [What are your pronouns?]
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 Present a simultaneous solution to the strong CP problem, hierarchy problem, and cosmological constant problem. ​ Bonus points if your solution includes a dark matter candidate and/or explains the baryon asymmetry of the universe. Present a simultaneous solution to the strong CP problem, hierarchy problem, and cosmological constant problem. ​ Bonus points if your solution includes a dark matter candidate and/or explains the baryon asymmetry of the universe.
 +
 +
 +==== What advice do you have for giving job talks? ====
 +
 +At some level, every talk is a job talk, since you never know whether your future employer might be in the audience. ​ But a "​real"​ job talk requires a lot of preparation,​ so start early and make sure to give a practice talk in front of a live audience to get feedback. ​ When I applied to MIT, my job talk was scheduled right after a winter conference at the [[http://​aspenphys.org/​|Aspen Center for Physics]], so I thought I was going to enjoy some skiing and relaxation in the mountains before my MIT interview. ​ Instead, after a decidedly mediocre practice talk, I realized that I had to rework my talk from scratch! ​ So no skiing for me, but the extra effort was really worth it in the long run.
 +
 +In terms of specific advice, here are three typical suggestions I make at practice job talks:
 +
 +  * **Make sure your job talk is about you.** ​ This might seem obvious, but sometimes applicants focus on the field as a whole and minimize their own contributions. ​ If ever there was a time to crow about your achievements,​ it is your job talk!  So while it is important to provide the overall context for your work, focus on what you've done and provide some indication about what you plan to do in the future. ​ And make sure your name is prominent in the citations throughout your talk.
 +
 +  * **Imagine that someone only watches the first five minutes of your talk.** ​ These days, most job talks are recorded, so it may be the case that some dean will literally only watch the first five minutes to get a sense of who you are.  In those first five minutes, is it clear what you work on and broadly what you've achieved? ​ Even if someone watches your full hour talk, the first five minutes are important to set the stage and introduce the key themes, so give a clear picture of who you are and a clear outline (and even the punchline) right at the beginning.
 +
 +  * **Don'​t bury the lede.** ​ Academic talks shouldn'​t be whodunnit mysteries. ​ If you've accomplished something, say so, say it loudly, and say it often. ​ You might even show your most important plot right at the beginning of the talk as a preview. ​ But, you say, isn't it more exciting to have a "​reveal"​ at the end?  It might be, if your audience is still engaged, but based on the five-minute advice above, they might not stick around for the punchline. ​ Plus, [[https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=8osRaFTtgHo|there is still a way to pull off magic even if your audience knows exactly what is going on]].  If you really want a surprise ending, you can slip in a [[https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=in9SX3enCHU|Jobsian "one more thing"​]],​ but make sure your main result is front and center.
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 He/him/his. He/him/his.
  
-I have debated many times with myself about whether I should put this information in my email signature. ​ "​Jesse"​ is a somewhat gender ambiguous name, and I don't mind (too much) when people add an extra "​i"​ by mistake. ​ It feels a bit uncomfortable to assert my gender at this point in my career when the gender ambiguity in my name (and in my past [[http://​v1.jthaler.net/​photos/​images/​2002.05.C/​dance_rig.jpg|hairstyle]]) was part of my experience growing up.  Also, physics is a rather male-dominated field, and I worry that providing my pronouns would somehow reinforce male-ness as the default for a physics professor, though I also appreciate ​that my reticence ​is probably doing so implicitly.+I have debated many times with myself about whether I should put this information in my email signature, and I finally decided to add this information in October 2021, for reasons I explain below. 
 + 
 +First, let me explain my long hesitation.  "​Jesse"​ is a somewhat gender ambiguous name, and I don't mind (too much) when people add an extra "​i"​ by mistake. ​ It felt a bit uncomfortable to assert my gender at this point in my career when the gender ambiguity in my name (and in my past [[http://​v1.jthaler.net/​photos/​images/​2002.05.C/​dance_rig.jpg|hairstyle]]) was part of my experience growing up.  Also, physics is a rather male-dominated field, and I worried ​that providing my pronouns would somehow reinforce male-ness as the default for a physics professor, though I also appreciated ​that my reticence ​was probably doing so implicitly.  I do like the way that providing pronouns signals an aspiration towards a more diverse and inclusive physics environment. ​ As I often tell my students: there are as many ways to be a successful physicist as there are successful physicists. ​ So while I didn't give my preferred pronouns, my email signature did (and still does) have a link to the [[https://​physics.mit.edu/​about-physics/​community-values/​|MIT Physics Community Values]].
  
-In any case, do like the way that providing pronouns signals an aspiration towards ​more diverse and inclusive physics environment.  ​As I often tell my students: there are as many ways to be successful physicist as there are successful physicists.  So while I don'​t ​currently give my preferred pronouns, my email signature does have a link to the [[https://physics.mit.edu/about-physics/community-values/|MIT Physics Community Values]].  +What made me change my mind to include my pronouns?  ​received an email from a student who put not only their pronouns but also the pronunciation of their name in their email signature. ​ In the same way that misgendering ​person is disrespectful,​ mispronouncing their name is as well.  ​Providing this information seemed like positive (albeit small) step towards making the physics community more welcome.  So while I didn'​t ​go so far as to create an [[https://diversity.lbl.gov/2020/09/15/how-do-you-pronounce-your-name-add-an-audio-pronunciation-link-to-your-email/|audio version of my name]], I now state both my pronouns (he/​him/​his) and my pronunciation (JEH-see THAY-lr) in my signature
  
  
questions.1619644418.txt.gz · Last modified: 2021/04/28 21:13 by jthaler