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Unread 05-09-2017, 10:01 AM
w1cked w1cked is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,994

Originally Posted by Aathar View Post
There is no academic equivalent to a crossfitter these days. Even in interdisciplinary fields, people specialise within those fields. You can't compete otherwise. The whole nature of academia is becoming a specialist, from your dissertation to your publications, and even hiring. It is the only way to deal with the sheer amount of information, make novel contributions, and distinguish yourself for hiring committees.

As for specialists becoming generalists more easily, that is true, but only because they have already demonstrated ability to research well. It's like comparing NFL athletes to crossfit games competitors. The former are preselected to be exceptional, so they are better able to be generalists than the latter. But that's because they were better in the first place. The barrier of entry for generalists is lower, so it is harder to separate wheat from chaff, and attracts lower quality applicants anyway.

As for specialists transferring to other fields, it does happen. But there is usually large overlap, such as math and economics, or the specialist fills an underserved niche that benefits from their specialty. When those don't apply you get stuff like Linus Pauling thinking that vitamin c cures cancer.
So much this. Basically, if knowledge is a circle, a bachelors is at thin slice of pie coming outta the center towards the edge of the circle. A masters is a little more. A doctoral degree is creating a bump on the circumference of the circle.
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