Wow. Does everyone have the moving bug?
I seem to recall Kyle over at The Chem Blog drawing us a convenient map a few years back, during another busy moving season (2005, I believe?). The past two years have proven quite busy as well, with no less than an entire ChemBark post entitled "Nocera to Harvard!" (vide infra).
Without further ado, I present my highly-researched, but definitely not-to-scale, map of synthetic faculty moves, 2011-2012.
Legend (Updated 9/20):
1. Keith (purple) Woerpel, Irvine to NYU
2. John (Berkeley blue) Hartwig, UIUC to Berkeley
3. Vy (green) Dong, Toronto to Irvine
4. Dan (crimson) Nocera, MIT to Harvard
5. O(maroon) Yaghi, UCLA to Berkeley
6. M.(Goldenrod) Finn, Scripps to Georgia Tech
7. K.(Cyprus orange) Nicolaou, Scripps to Rice (confirmed!)
8. Greg Fu(schia), MIT to Caltech
9. (Rust)em Ismagilov, Chicago to Caltech
10. Paul (cyan) Chirik, Cornell to Princeton
I've been searching for a chemistry faculty movement metaphor. At the end of the NFL season, reporters write about the "coaching carousel," where coaches switch jobs circuitously, trapped on an employment merry-go-round. Well, that's not quite right here. Chemists usually move away for good, and there's clearly a directionality to the moves: towards more money, higher prestige, or warmer climes. Perhaps a Ferris wheel? Nah: it implies "up" or "down," a good view of the situation...and far too smooth a ride. Negative on the Gravitron, though grads and postdocs might feel like they're smashed by the pressing gravity* of an upcoming move.
I've got it: Bumper cars! Everyone starts out hesitantly, driving around in circles, hesitant to make first contact. After a few minutes, though, it's a free-for-all, everyone bouncing off each other, crashing, laughing, sparks flying off the ceiling. In the end, no one ends up where they started, and everyone has headaches. (Bear with me, it's a work in progress, doesn't yet have the oomph of a "Manifest Destiny" or "fiscal cliff.")
Faculty jostle for top spots like, well, you get it...
Credit: UK Telegraph
Are faculty moves unavoidable? It's true that the grass is always greener. But, if you're already a professor at a Top 20 institution, you likely receive the lion's share of grant monies, decent media coverage, and your pick from top-shelf graduate students. So why go? Some moves are nostalgia-driven - the Prof. wants to return home to a welcoming parade, having "done good." Some moves try to fix the two-body problem. Some happen because of missed tenure, or a feeling that it's "just time." Maybe in today's uncertain economy, it's just best to assume you won't be in any job longer than ten years...with a handful of exceptions.
Readers: Know of any more high-profile U-Hauls being loaded this academic season? If the "Chemistry Bumper Cars" trend persists, this might yet become an annual post.
P.S. Heard about a move I missed? Email me at seearroh_AT_gmail, and I'll add it here!
*I completely understand, having been involved with two moves in grad and postdoc.