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It was quite different from what I expected in some ways because it was in Canada, very different from Austria, where I was from, even though I had been at Stanford in between.
In the end it’s the same amount of work, but because you’re a faculty member you’re responsible for the entire course, for the lecture component and for assignments.
Even though you have a TA it’s still a lot of work to take care of everything.
If you have an excellent person who wants to work with you, try to hire them at all costs, even if you have to spend the last of your money.
GK: What's one mistake you made during your career and how did you compensate for it?
program, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck and Junior Research Director at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
is a Fellow in CIFAR’s Quantum Information Science program, Professor of Photonics at the Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Innsbruck, Associate of the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing and Vice-President for Natural Sciences and Engineering of the Austrian Science Fund.GW: Think about the long-term goal but also think about intermediate research results and things that your students can publish because the time for evaluation and tenure review is closer than you think.And don’t waste time building too many different things. 'Never hire just because you can.' And in fact, I would turn this around.There was quite a learning curve to how to get things from the machine shop or what to expect from the electronics shop.GK: Exactly, you have to learn all the rules on how it’s done.When everyone is new except you then that’s a difficult bootstrapping process.I see some young colleagues where I think, wow, what they have planned sounds amazing but there’s no way they’re going to get that done in five years.GW: The other thing is that it was difficult to find students who were interested in doing experiments. I had a lot of experience with actual lab set-up but not how to find students, how to run a group efficiently or how to figure out who’s good and who’s not before you actually hire them. GW: The best advice was “never hire just because you can.” And in fact, I would turn this around.There were good applicants but none of them wanted to be experimentalists. I ordered all kinds of equipment but, for example, one of my first Ph D students poured concrete pads for the optical table legs himself, because there was just no way to get a contractor to do this without, you know, all the specifications. So, did you receive any training or guidance on how to build a research programme and lab? If you have an excellent person who wants to work with you, try to hire them at all costs, even if you have to spend the last of your money. But hiring mediocre or even hiring people who can be a real drain on the group takes more effort than it ever benefits you.The post-docs have their own ways of going about this, but by and large it's by shadowing, and they just work together for a while, and then the young people learn.From time-to-time a post-doc will give a little course for everyone to understand a specific technique. GW: I think no more than you can proofread papers and theses.