Also this week: NSERC prize winners, preprints vs. citations, and more.
Here’s an interesting variation on academic “quit lit”: Marcel Haas regrets quitting astrophysics. (ht Meghan) Related: this old post compiling “quit lit” from people who left all sorts of professions. Some of whom moved into the same professions that other people quit. The lesson I take home from this is the boring, obvious one: people are different, professions are different, people don’t (and can’t) always have perfect information about what a given profession is like, and so sometimes people change professions. Which is fine, because it mostly improves the match between people and professions (not always, as the first link illustrates). Therefore, the fact that some people who leave profession X write “quit lit” about doing so does not show that there’s anything wrong with profession X at a systemic level.
The Atlantic profiles ex-population ecologist, now “cliodynamicist” Peter Turchin. Having read one of Turchin’s books attempting to discover cyclic patterns in historical data and use those patterns to predict the future of human societies, I have to say I wasn’t very convinced. Certainly not as convinced as I was by his outstanding work on the drivers of population cycles. But I’m no expert, obviously.
The 2020 NSERC prize winners have been announced. Congratulations to ecologists and evolutionary biologists Mary O’Connor, Fanie Pelletier, and Marc Johnson on their E.W.R. Steacie Fellowships!
Stephen Heard reviews the limited, shaky evidence that posting preprints increases your citations.