Richards, V. et al.
After receiving his first research stipend, physicist Matthew Jones was shocked to discover that his salary was equally as hypothetical as his mathematical models of the Large Hadron Collider, and just as wildly misunderstood by the general public .
“Many people think that if you’re a scientist working on important problems you must be receiving a fixed income, but the calculations prove that’s not true,” said Jones, while diving through trash cans in search of food. He added, “the laws of matter and mechanics are nothing compared to the inner workings of the boards that award research grants.”
Navigating the difficulties of funding his work has started to take a mental toll on Jones, and he is now forced to devote large amounts of intellectual resources applying for food stamps .
“I spend the daytime grappling with the contradictions of nature only to come home and have to struggle with the even more confusing puzzle of whether the conference I’m speaking at pays, and how to convert a $3.87 royalty cheque into a week’s worth of meals,” said Jones.
And, despite working on theories that have occupied many bright minds before him, such as Newton and Einstein, Jones’s strong subject knowledge has so far failed to help him in coming up with solutions to the problem of his income.
“I tried to explain to the cashier at the grocery store that I’d worked up a mathematical model that proved, due to entropy and the heat death of the universe, my lack of payment would not affect their business at all in the long term. For some reason they wouldn’t accept this.”
Jones did however contact some experimental physicists for advice, but the responses he received were not heartening. While several replied that they may have a solution, they also stated that it would take them at least forty years to build the equipment and run an experiment to find out for sure.