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What's in an error bar anyways?
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Nick Fahrenkopf
Albany, New York

In 1955 while addressing the National Academy of Sciences Richard Feynman stated "Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty." As usual, Feynman's statement was spot on, and holds true decades later. In his famous "Plenty of Room at the Bottom" lecture Feynman talked about what we now call nanotechnology, and all the different applications. Here I am, half a century later, working "at the bottom" and living in a world of uncertainty. I hope to share some of the exciting discoveries at the nanoscale and explain how they apply to my passion of biotechnology- as well as the everyday world. Learn more about Nicholas Fahrenkopf

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Comment by Nick Fahrenkopf in What's in an error bar anyways?

lkasdjfsaid: The difference is not in the fields of study, but rather in the two different types of work . . .Read More
Nov 27, 2012, 9:34am
Comment by Nick Fahrenkopf in What's in an error bar anyways?

Brian Krueger, PhDsaid: Since you're working on semiconductor sequencing, what do you think of Oxford Na. . .Read More
Nov 27, 2012, 9:28am

Good one . . .Read More
Oct 15, 2012, 12:42am
Comment by lkasdjf in What's in an error bar anyways?

The difference is not in the fields of study, but rather in the two different types of work being done.  In the example, the EE is making an new device,  -- i.e. developing a new type of technolo. . .Read More
Sep 07, 2012, 11:38am
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Thanks to Flickr users kevindooley and DESQie for their art I integrated into the blog's header image.
Saturday, July 30, 2011

I don’t really follow football but someone tweeted earlier today that with his new contract (5 year $90 million) Colts QB Peyton Manning will make $26,510 per pass attempt. Every time he tries a pass in a game, he’ll make what a graduate student makes in a year*. That got me thinking- what does it take to make/earn/rake in what a graduate student slaves away for each year?



*Let's say a graduate student makes $25,000 a year- for many people it is less, and for some in high demand areas it may be higher. But for the sake of argument (and ease of calculation) let’s say a graduate student makes $25,000 a year.

Last year President Clinton came to my campus and his speaking fee was a $200,000 donation to his foundation. That is, after speaking for 5-10 minutes he raised what a graduate student makes in a year.

In 2010 the head of my college had an annual salary of $793,000, making his biweekly paycheck just over $30,000. So, every two weeks he got a paycheck that was more than a graduate student gets in all of their paychecks for a year.

Sir Elton John made $100 million over the course of 102 shows recently. That’s something like $980,000 a show. If a show is 26 songs long that’s $37,000 and change per song. So every song Elton sang brought in more money than a graduate student makes in a year.

Google made $28,236,000 in advertising revenue in 2010 (keep in mind- how often have you clicked on an ad on a Google search page?) That means every 4 hours, Google made enough money of advertising alone to pay for a graduate student stipend.

The “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” (the Kentucky Derby) netted $2.1 million for the winner “Animal Kingdom”. That’s a graduate student stipend every 1.5 seconds.




Which comparison riles you up the most?

Have any other good comparisons?




Thanks to flickr user AMagill for the money photo.

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Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Grad students and postdocs really are underpaid slaves.  But I think a lot of researchers would argue that the training and the education probably double that number.

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Yes and I still have to get out student loans to pay for school fees, books and health insurance,(school will not cover these things) and any other living expenses. My monthly salary, over half goes to my rent then cell phone bills, electricity, internet etc. Without the student loans I could not survive. The department paid bare min. for me. New one has better possibilities. I make 13,000$ less than what you stated was average. The school I go to also has policy you are not allowed to have 2nd jobs while in grad school, not that it affords time to do so but I wonder how people do it. Rent is not cheap here and the only housing solutions are dorms for me (w/ undergrads) or provide my own. Since I am single without children I do not qualify for university grad housing.

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I live outside USA and grad students in our  country don't make good money. Other's are still not earning and still dependent on their parent's money. In my own opinion, for US, the $25,000/year is not big enough for grad students there. They have rents, bills to pay and food to buy. It's quite difficult to find really good job when you are still a student.


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I make 25,000 a year as a grad student at the University of Washington.  I was used to working at crap jobs and making less than that per year, so its a joy getting paid to study what I love.  It's hard work to be sure, but I love it.

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