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Sending particle/nuclear theorists to China February 1, 2007

Posted by apetrov in Near Physics, Particle Physics, Physics.

I noticed an interesting thing today: we are outsourcing particle/nuclear theorists to China! Here is the story: several national labs in the United States have several so-called “bridge faculty positions”. These positions usually involve two parties (hence the term “bridge”), a national lab and a university. This program has been extremely popular among theorists — brigde positions between Jefferson Lab (JLab) and nearby (and not so nearby) universities, Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) and US (and some Canadian) universities, etc. Usually, the lab — in other words, U.S. Department of Energy — pays half of the theorist’s salary for five years, that is, until that theorist is tenured at the university on the other side of the bridge. Those positions are good for the lab (they get theorists who work with lab exeprimentalists/users) and for the university participating in the program (brings external money and prestige). It would be great to bring one of those positions to WSU one day in the future…

So, here is a new announcement for a new bridge position with Jefferson Lab! Cool — one more theory job! Well, only this time the bridge is a bit too long. The position is in Beijing — that is, in China. Same deal though, JLab pays half of the money for five years. I wonder what the salary is…

It’s interesting, though, why Peking University is chosen as a recipient for this bridge. It appears that the whole experimental delegation from China is about 8 people (none of those eight are from Peking University). That is, 8 out of hundreds of JLab users (for example, Armenia: 48, France: 112, Japan: 44, Russia: 65)….


1. Matt - February 23, 2007

The advertizement lists Xiangdong Ji as a contact person. I imagine that he is involved in spearheading an initiative to bolster the present Chinese involvement in hadron physics. I wonder if he will be spending a lengthy amount of time in Beijing, away from Maryland. It is an interesting development.

2. apetrov - February 23, 2007

Hi Matt,

It’s an interesting point. He apparently has a visiting professor (“Changjiang chair”) position at Peking University. So that’s why PU is chosen. One thing that is mysterious to me is how he managed to convince DOE to pay (part of the) salary of a professor in China…



3. Matt - February 24, 2007

One possibility is that JLab is having a hard time finding US partners. Physics departments seem more interested in people doing LHC physics (ostensibly) than JLab physics. I don’t have any inside information though, and I could be wrong.

4. apetrov - February 27, 2007

Maybe this is it… You know, five years ago I’d really disagree — what University would turn down a faculty position when half of the expences are paid by another party (DOE)? But sadly, depending on the poilitcs or priorities, the Departments sometimes do not pursue opportunities like this one (some years ago we tried to argue for a RIKEN fellow position to no avail… and our nuclear experimental group is quite strong on the national scale)… The only thing is that DOE usually does not send money overseas that easy…

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