Physical science professors are happier than professors in other disciplines.
This professorial happiness index was calculated by considering "teaching hours, university expectations for tenure, ability to balance work and home responsibilities and time for one's own research."
The slide show is awesomely strange.
The #1 happiest physical science professor is shown standing in front of a chalkboard covered with drawings and equations that will be familiar to many of you. He is doing an experiment at the front of a large lecture hall and appears to be explaining what he is doing. One student may be raising his hand to ask a question. Alternatively, he is pulling out his eyebrows; our view is blocked and we can only surmise.
#2. In the next slide, a "humanities" professor is standing in front of a desk covered with papers. He is holding a book, and appears deep in thought, eyes narrowed. The chalkboard has only one word on it: Madness. Say no more.
#3. The environmental science professor is standing in a marsh.
#4. The business professor is wearing a tie, speaking in the atrium of a building filled with well-dressed people. He seems to be making a speech.
#5. Representing the only-medium-happy social sciences is a woman holding a book titled "Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement". This is the only female professor in the slide show. Are we to surmise that her research interests focus on women?
#6. The medical people are wearing lab coats! Does anyone know what the Professor of Medicine is pointing to? What are those greenish blobs on sticks? Please tell me they are not organs.
#7. You may be thinking that the Physical Sciences Professor photo is my favorite, but you are wrong if you are thinking this. The Biological Sciences professor (also wearing a white lab coat!) is way more awesome. There are dead things floating in jars in the background, there is a very large dead thing in the arms of the professor, and the expression on the professor's face is.. inscrutable, but somehow.. wise. Perhaps he is mad?
#8. It is too bad that Math & Engineering are at #8 and not higher because these guys are clearly having a lot more fun than some of the bio/med people even though they don't get to hold large dead things. They aren't wearing lab coats, but in their own way, they are very geeky-cool. (Why are Math & Engineering lumped together? Was it a tie? I guess if you can lump all of "Humanities" together, you can combine Math and Engineering?)
#9. The Education Professor is only a small part of his photo, which mostly shows a highly engaged classroom of hand-raising and smiling students, who don't actually look like traditional students; some guys are in ties. Are they grad students? Robots? Why are so many of the women wearing pink? The students have name cards in front of them; clearly the professor cares about them as people (although, unless it's the first class, he doesn't have a good memory; it's not a large class, so why doesn't he know their names?).
#10. What exactly are the "Health and Human Ecological Sciences"? Anthropology, apparently, but why would that include Health Sciences? I don't know, but the guys in the photo are clearly scientists because there is a copy of Nature on the table. There are some impressive tomes on the shelves behind them. These guys seem to be part of a panel of experts debating or explaining the timing of migration of humans into northern Europe. They appear to be very unhappy, or mad. Perhaps that is why they are at #10 in the list.
#11. Visual & Performing Arts. Why so sad? The people I know who are in the V & PA all seem like happy people who enjoy their jobs, but maybe they hide their pain when they are around me, a happy physical scientist with the best professorial job in academe?
So now I need to do my own scientific study of the happiness index of FSP readers. When you vote, I want you to search your heart for the best answer and not be competitive and try to get your field to be at the top (or bottom) of the list.
The question is simple, and the factors on which your answer is based need not be limited to the professorial components of the Harvard Graduate School of Education study (the results of which are listed above). In the comments, to provide more background, you could give more information, such as: humanities professor, 1; environmental science postdoc, 7; or math graduate student, 3 (with the number corresponding to your answer to the poll). The results will be completely uninterpretable, but might provide some entertaining diversion on a summer day.
6 months ago