Наткнулся на отличную книгу с критикой американской университетской системы: Gone for Good: Tales of University Life After the Golden Age by Stuart Rojstaczer
When I took my job at my university, I was aware that raising money through grants was important. At a personal level, I knew it was financially lucrative. Included in the budget of most grants is a month or two of summer salary. If I wanted a summer paycheck, I needed to get a grant funded. But it wasn't until the first meeting of untenured faculty in October (discussed in detail in another chapter), that I understood the external pressure to obtain grants.
At that meeting, I had asked the chair of the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) Committee a question. "Suppose, hypothetically," I said, "in the next seven years I work on problems that don't require research money or graduate students. I publish a lot of research papers, many of which are highly regarded, teach well, but don't raise any grant money. Will I get tenure?"
This was, I knew, a somewhat pretentious question. But I wasn't being difficult for the hell of it. Part of me wanted to follow this hypothetical path. There are numerous interesting problems in hydrology that don't require graduate students or a lot of money. It seemed to me a romantic ideal to avoid grant writing and concentrate on research and teaching. If I could stand the lack of summer salary, why not? After all, it was a model with an extensive precedent. It was practiced widely prior to the Golden Age of the American university.
Part of me wanted to be such a throwback. At heart, I am a purist. In baseball, I can't stand artificial turf. I find the idea of a designated hitter absurd. I'd much rather watch a day game than one under the lights. If I had been alive in 1919, I would have likely been against the livening of the baseball to allow for more home runs. So the question I asked the chair of the APT was an honest one. In response, he did not flinch.
"Receiving grants from peer-reviewed proposals is an indication that your peers value your research," he replied. "I would think that it would not be possible to publish highly regarded science articles and not receive grants." In other words, I wasn't just being told to publish or perish. I was also being told to get grants or say good-bye.
No one had been so up front to me about the university's expectation that I obtain grants until then. Still, I should not have been too surprised. It was fairly old news. The Golden Age of the American research university was fueled by federal grant money. And while the Golden Age had ended, the need for federal grants was still very strong.
Стюарт Ройстацер (известный критик grade inflation, я его слышал по NPR) описывает ситуацию 20-25 лет назад. Заявка на Career Award занимала у него 5 страниц. И он его получил, никакой китайской или другой этнической мафии в NSF тогда не было. Он получил CAREER award в 38 лет и казался себе старым, мол, какой же я Young Investigator? И он был в приличном топовом месте. За 25 лет все стало значительно хуже, людей на земле стало больше, и научных работников стало больше, и подвалило из других стран еще больше, люди никому не нужны.
Я на него наткнулся вот почему. Этот Ройстацер родом из Милуоки. Закончил ту школу, куда ходит мой старший ребенок. Ройстацер написал сатирический роман "The Mathematician’s Shiva" про еврейскую женщину-математика из Висконсина, которая по слухам решила одну из "проблем тысячелетия" Института Клея (существование и единственность решения уравнений Навье-Стокса) и умерла. Ее сын пытается организовать религиозные похороны, но по слухам она забрала рукопись решения в могилу. И вот на похороны съезжаются сумасшедшие математики. Книгу я пока не читал, она еще не вышла. Меня попросили провести с ним интервью, участвовать в панели, когда в сентябре будет презентовать свою книгу у нас на кампусе.
Вот его сайт. И, похоже, он ушел из академии, будучи уже полным профессором, со всеми грантами и публикациями в Nature по гидрологии.:
"The Mathematician’s Shiva" A Novel Stuart Rojstaczer
A comic, bittersweet tale of family evocative of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Everything Is Illuminated
Alexander “Sasha” Karnokovitch and his family would like to mourn the passing of his mother, Rachela, with modesty and dignity. But Rachela, a famous Polish émigré mathematician and professor at the University of Wisconsin, is rumored to have solved the million-dollar, Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize problem. Rumor also has it that she spitefully took the solution to her grave. To Sasha’s chagrin, a ragtag group of socially challenged mathematicians arrives in Madison and crashes the shiva, vowing to do whatever it takes to find the solution—even if it means prying up the floorboards for Rachela’s notes.
Written by a Ph.D. geophysicist, this hilarious and multi-layered debut novel brims with colorful characters and brilliantly captures humanity’s drive not just to survive, but to solve the impossible.