Initial 2010 data from the Theoretical Particle Physics Jobs Rumor Mill indicates that the particle theory job market remains as trend-driven as ever. This year, it seems that if you want a tenure-track job in the US, you must be working on phenomenology. And not just any sort of phenomenology, your work has to be about dark matter. Of the seven theorists offered tenure track jobs so far, no less than 6 are phenomenologists working on dark matter. The seventh is Davide Gaiotto, who has been working with Witten and others at the IAS on mathematically quite interesting topics that use N=2 and N=4 supersymmetric gauge theory. His offer is from Stony Brook, where much of the funding comes from Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies. Simons is putting profits from the world’s most successful hedge fund to work keeping alive the idea that the intersection of mathematics and physics is still worth pursuing, so not everyone has to become a dark matter phenomenologist.
(By the way, the rumor mill seems to indicate that Kachru and Silverstein are leaving the KITP, heading back to Stanford. Is that right?)
If you’re a young theorist who wants to remain in the field, you better get to work on dark matter phenomenology. I’m afraid that this blog won’t be of much help, you should carefully follow Resonaances, which has the latest news and rumors.
Update: It seems that my point about the dominance of dark matter hiring has even more backing than I thought, since Sergei Dubovsky evidently has an offer from Stony Brook (and other places). So, that makes it seven out of eight for dark matter so far this year.