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The Many Costs

In a recent commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, graduate student Jon Bardin says his path to a PhD "has been full of teachable moments that I know will benefit me regardless of the specific work I pursue." Blogger Chemjobber, though, cautions readers about the costs of graduate school, and how time is but one of them.

"When we talk about the costs of getting a PhD, I believe that we don't talk enough about the sheer length of time ([five-plus] years) and what other training might have been taken during that time," Chemjobber says, adding that opportunity costs also matter. "Are the communications skills and the problem-solving skills that he [Bardin] gained worth the time and the (opportunity) cost? Could he have obtained those skills somewhere else for a lower cost?"

Taking somewhat of a devil's advocate stance, Chemjobber asks whether, financially speaking, US taxpayers' contributions to Bardin's graduate education were well spent. Typically, taxpayer-supported scientific training pays for itself, Chemjobber says, as PhD-level researchers "can go on to generate new innovations in their independent career in industry or academia." But, should a PhD scientist chooses to leave research, "is this a bargain that society should continue to support?" Chemjobber asks.

HT: Derek Lowe

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.