StatPhysBio

Pressé Group

Recruiting

Graduate Students

We are seeking talented and motivated experimental as well as theoretical biophysics graduate students. You may be be admitted through any department in order to join my group. Graduate students with interests in theoretical biophysics, data analysis, fluorescence microscopy, microbiology and bacterial genetics are strongly encouraged to contact me directly (spresse@asu.edu). Please see our projects tab and our publications tab to get an idea of the types of problems we are thinking about.

Undergraduate Students

We are always looking for talented undergrads from a variety of majors (biology, chemistry, physics, math, CS, Eng.). We have both theoretical projects and experimental work underway in our lab. Please email, me (spresse@asu.edu) if you have an interest in research at the interface of physics and biology.

Postdocs

Currently all postdoctoral positions are filled. Postdoctoral fellows with independent funding are encouraged to apply. If interested in my lab and do not have independent funding at this time, please send me an email directly (spresse@asu.edu) as funding changes and positions may become available on short notice. For theorist applicants, experience in mathematical/numerical work and interest in collaborative work with experimentalists in biophysics are both required. For experimental applicants, experience in microbiology or fluorescence microscopy or optics is required in addition to a strong desire to collaborate with theorists.

Why Do a Ph.D. in Physics?

Only an article carefully weighing the pros and cons of doing a Ph.D. and properly links to many well-written articles and books on the topic can do any justice to this important question. Until I get around to writing it, let me give you my very brief take on it as it pertains to physics only.

Let me start with the positive. (1) The quantitative problem-solving skills acquired as a physics Ph.D. are highly transferable and unemployment rates for physics graduates are amongst the lowest across the sciences. Employers recognize this and career fairs at the university are the best way to see this first hand. Physics Ph.D.'s are attractive to many industries. These include consulting, finance, engineering, technology and many others. (2) While you acquire those quantitative skills, you will spend roughly five years at the frontier of knowledge and science. You will learn what are currently some of our best explanations for how our universe works at every scale. With those skills you will help solve a challenging problem that will further this understanding.

Now with the negative. (1) Graduate school takes time and, during that time, you are out of the job market, earning little money and not seriously investing towards your retirement (these are all points made by The Economist amongst many others). (2) If you eventually choose the academic route, the job market for postdoc and faculty positions is very competitive (a point made most entertainingly perhaps in a somewhat dated book by Emanuel Derman entitled "My Life as a Quant: Reflections on Physics and Finance" and many others). Statistically, few physics Ph.Ds end up with a faculty position even after increasingly long postdocs.

In my opinion the pros outweigh the cons in physics. As you reach the end of your Ph.D., you can invest your precious spare time preparing for interviews in another industry that will value your newly acquired quantitative skills. Or you can invest your time applying for independent funding and looking for a postdoctoral or staff position in a national lab. Both take time to do well and the physics Ph.D. gives you the freedom to choose between very good options. The best way to think of a Ph.D. in physics is to take it for what it is: a temporary training position of definite scope.