Mia’s results November 16, 2006Posted by dorigo in news, personal, physics, science, travel.
Mia finished her tour of italian universities yesterday. In the course of a month she attended five written exams: in Rome, Udine, Padova, Bologna, and Perugia. The logic behind this serialization of PhD applications (but in Italy you rather talk about “attempts”) is that any single exam is a blind shot: even if you are very well trained and knowledgeable, you can always run the risk of being presented with a problem you cannot solve in the allotted time, or asked to write about a phenomenon you know too little about.
In the past things were even harder, because pressure from below (number of applications) was very strong, and only the very best won paid positions as PhD students. Now it looks like there are fewer would-be-researchers in Physics, probably because of the horrendous lapse between the moment you graduate and the time you get a tenured position. In times of economical crisis, the uncertainty in one’s income becomes a factor.
Back to Mia. She did well in three of the written exams: in Udine, Bologna, and Perugia. Very bad luck, since she (and I with her) rather wanted to win the position in Padova – so that she could have continued to work with me. However, she made three good oral exams in those universities, and she won a position in Bologna (7th place overall, with 11 paid positions), almost certainly won one in Udine (but the ranking is not out yet), and got 6th place in Perugia, where there are 5 paid positions. -but one of those preceding her could give it up to her, having won elsewhere.
Overall it is a nice result, and Mia should be pleased. However, tripping over the written exam in Padova was really a bad thing. I hope we can find a way to continue working together. I know she wants the same, but I will refrain from ill-advising her into solutions that favor my research rather than her career. Time will tell.