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RE: The (long) future of paleontology



The Zelazny book is "Doorways in the Sand". I somehow kept buying better and better copies of the book, until I had around 10 copies - then I gave half away. (I liked the book - especially its overuse of flashbacks - it had one in the beginning of each chapter)! The lead character kept changing his majors in order to avoid being graduated, and they would always create a new major that he could switch to. Also, he liked to climb the buildings at the school. The school changed the rules in the middle third of the book, and managed to get him a PhD, without dissertation, and without a masters degree! (He protested vehemently - they wrote the rule just for him). [BTW, it was his deceased uncle - who turns up alive].

I've worked with people who were working, but they were on their 12th year of graduate work, with no real end in sight. (In various professions and academic choices - its not limited to paleo or geo).

Allan Edels

From: "Richard W. Travsky" <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>
Reply-To: rtravsky@uwyo.edu
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: The (long) future of paleontology
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 13:01:21 -0700 (MST)

On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org wrote:
What Phil wrote is only partially true. I was at a university that made the transition between a loosely held time limit and a rigid, official one. The change was because of a growing number of "professional students", meaning that they got so comfortable being students that the thought of finishing and having to look for a job (hence "grow-up") was difficult for them. I know of at least one graduate student at the U. of California Berkeley who had already been a graduate student for 20 years when I met the person in the late 1970s. The rigid deadlines became a way of forcing students to finish something they started and to move on in life. Ken

I'm reminded of the Roger Zelazny story about the fellow at college whose
(deceased) father left him access to the inheritance so long as he was in college - so he stopped one credit short of every program at the university...