2011 Survey of Planetary Scientists
Planetary science is a highly interdisciplinary field. Planetary scientists are trained in many areas of science (from math to physics to geology to atmospheric science to chemistry), work in a variety of types of institutions (government labs, non-profit labs, industries, universities), and belong to different organizations, including the Division of Planetary Science (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the Meteoritical Society. As a community, we have little information about the profession. There may be ten to twenty universities producing PhDs in planetary science - but we have no fundamental data such as the number PhDs in planetary science produced each year and the types of career paths the PhDs typically take. While astronomers talk about over-production of PhDs, anecdotal evidence suggests that post-doctoral and even faculty positions are sometimes hard to fill. But there are no concrete numbers. There have been demographic studies of astronomers, physicists and geologists. DPS has taken surveys of its membership every 5 years for decades. But we do not know the demographics of planetary scientists who are not members of DPS. The objective of this proposal is to fill the data void by gathering statistics on professional planetary science (estimated to be about 2000 people) and providing the analysis of these data to NASA's Planetary Science Division, the DPS, AGU and the Meteoritical Society.
NASA is providing funding to support the survey of individual planetary scientists. A group of planetary scientists completed the departmental study with no external support.
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership corporation created for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare. It is the mission of the Institute to serve the sciences of physics and astronomy by serving its Member Societies, individual scientists, students and the general public. For more information about AIP, please visit www.aip.org/aip The Statistical Research Center at AIP has been collecting data on physicists, the physics workforce, physics degrees, and related sciences for over fifty years. We have data on education and employment in physics, astronomy, and allied fields. We are happy to be working with Fran Bagenal on this study. For more about the SRC, please see www.aip.org/statistics
Fran Bagenal is coordinating this study. Fran is at the University of Colorado. She contacted us to request our assistance in developing both the departmental and individual questionnaires; she also requested that we conduct and analyze the survey of individual planetary scientists. With our experience in conducting similar surveys for other groups in physics and allied sciences, we believe we are well equipped to participate in this study.
In order to obtain as complete a picture of the planetary science PhD workforce, we are trying to contact every PhD planetary scientist in the US. To that end, we requested and were given contact information for members of AGU's Planetary Sciences Section, AAS's Division of Planetary Science, and for subscribers to NASA's LPI listserv. We did our best to eliminate duplicates. We have requested the membership list from the Meteoritical Society and will add unduplicated names when we receive this list.
First, we will destroy the contact lists within twelve months of the completion of this project. We will not use these lists again for any purpose. Second, your responses are stored separate from your contact information, and we will not match your responses with your contact information at any time. Third, all data is stored on a secure server. This server sits behind two firewalls and is physically located in our building. Staff can access the server only when they are physically present in the building, and only staff who are assigned to this project can access the data. Finally, the results will be reported in the aggregate only, and no individuals will be identifiable. If you have any concerns, please contact Raymond Chu firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan White email@example.com.
Participation is completely voluntary. We do hope you will take about 10 to 20 minutes of your time to help us obtain a complete picture of the planetary science workforce. Without your data, we will not have the whole picture. You may skip any questions you are not comfortable answering. If you have any questions about the questions on the survey, please contact Raymond Chu firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan White email@example.com.
Please click on the link to access the survey and tell us you do not have a PhD. This is the very first question you will see after you agree to participate. Once you have told us you do not have a PhD, we will not contact you again.
Please click on the link to access the survey and tell us you do not reside in the US. This is the second question you will see after you agree to participate. Once you have told us you do not reside in the US, we will not contact you again.
Yes. The results will be made available in a variety of ways. The results of the departmental survey are currently available at http://lasp.colorado.edu/mop/resources/links/Planet aryScienceWorkForceSurvey2011/ We will post a link to results from the survey of individuals there when they are ready. We will also present a copy of the report to NASA and will highlight the findings at a variety of meetings including "NASA Nights", PSS meetings and other events as requested. If you have any questions about the final report, please contact Fran Bagenal at firstname.lastname@example.org