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What steps have you taken to pursue your career in physics?

By Margaret Harris
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In last week’s Facebook poll, we asked for your views on the most important criterion for choosing a postdoc position. The results weren’t quite what I had expected. While it makes sense that “institutional resources” came out on top – you can’t do much experimental physics without lab space and equipment, and theory is certainly easier if you’ve got a good bunch of colleagues – I was surprised by how much it outpaced the other poll options. A whopping 65% of voters rated “institutional resources” as the most important factor, with “prestige” of the supervisor and institution coming a distant second and third at 17% and 13%, respectively.

But the thing that really puzzled me was the low emphasis placed on “location”, which picked up a measly 5% (three votes out of 63). Are physicists really not that fussy about where they go to do postdoctoral research?

To find out, I’ve constructed this week’s Facebook poll so that it focuses on mobility – both geographic and intellectual.

What steps have you taken to pursue your career in physics?

Moved to a new location (less than 500 miles away)
Moved to a new location (more than 500 miles away)
Changed my field of research or expertise
Switched to a different sector (e.g. from academia to industry)
Two of the above
Three or more of the above

Have your say by visiting our Facebook page, and please feel free to explain your response or give us more suggestions by posting a comment below the poll or by e-mailing us at

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