So what am I doing at the stock exchange? Am I not supposed to be doing cosmology?

Of course, like most people who have worked in the field, I would have liked to continue working in cosmology and getting paid for it. In retrospect, it's amazing that I survived as long as I did, since I had several unlucky breaks which led to quite a bit of debt. They also resulted in a rather non-linear career, so my chances of returning to the field are probably quite small. There are advantages outside of academia as well, of course, such as a secure, well paid, permanent job at a relatively young age. I'm lucky enough to have one which is interesting and allows me to learn a lot while working under very good conditions with nice colleagues (and is also somewhere I enjoy living).

At the stock exchange I work not on the financial side of things (though it is not uncommon for physicists to do so), but rather as a systems analyst and database administrator, working with Rdb and VMS.

I also have a nice collection of VAX and ALPHA (and, perhaps, soon some Itanium) machines at home. Thus, my research environment is still intact (I always used VMS; if the institute I was at didn't use VMS (anymore), I used my own machines) and thus it made sense to keep my web pages online.

I've also had the misfortune to get cancer, more specifically highly malignant, diffuse, large-cell, non-Hodgkin, B-cell lymphoma, stage IV. Fortunately, it can be treated with chemotherapy and after a few months in hospital altogether I have now completely recovered. Who knows what would have happened had I been on a soft-money research position when ill, perhaps in a country where it would have been difficult or impossible to stay if not working.

Now that this and other distractions are hopefully gone for good, I'm looking forward to doing some research in cosmology again, if only as a hobby. Obviously, I can do it only in my spare time, but I don't have to worry about getting money for expenses, getting the next job or any of the other distractions one has in academia. Since I have a fast internet connection, the only thing missing is daily face-to-face interaction with colleagues.

If you have any questions about what I'm up to or what my plans for the future are, send me an email.

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last modified on Friday, April 24, 2009 at 07:49:46 PM by helbig@astro.mNuOlStPiAvMa!