So, the grads are here, almost time for "So, you want to be an astrophysicist, Part 2, but not until after April 15 I think. It is hard sometimes to advice the students, since they are mostly astronomy grads, applying to an astro program, whereas I was a mathematical physics major, and did a physics PhD in a physics department. Back then String Theory was fading from its first renaissance, and prospects looked grim, the Superconducting Supercollider was a distant prospect that was causing excitement, condensed matter physics had not resurged yet, funding prospects looked grim, and there was faint hope that a new NASA mission called COBE might soon make an obscure sub-field called cosmology into a real science. Hubble had just launched, and found to be flawed, there was hope for a repair, but no certainty. Infra-red astronomy was a new field that very few had experience of, but radio astronomy was active and a new x-ray satellite called ROSAT was returning unprecedented data. Ah, the Good Old Days. Not!
There is significantly more activity and capability now, and some very interesting future directions; especially in exoplanets, near and mid-infrared, possible resurgence of radio astronomy and prospects for actual gravitational radiation detections, Real Soon Now. Ah, which to choose. Choose wisely.
So, Universities: the Perfect Self-Perpetuating Oligarchies. What good are they, what with Freedom Reigning all over the place, including even Florida. We shall have to examine this at some point. And do some serious cat blogging, I don't know how other people get their cats to stay still long enough to take digital pictures...