Can Academia Be Simulated?
After last week’s great Astronomy Journal Club conversation, a thought has been rattling around my brain. We discussed the current career situation in astronomy, which is evolving in a direction most are unhappy about / unnerved by. There were calls for the system to be consciously redesigned to produce a steady state, where the total number of PhD students entering academia is somehow balanced by professors retiring.
My thought is this: to design such a steady state, which will depend strongly on demographic changes and economic turbulence, surely simulations of the system are needed.
I’m thinking about developing an agent-based simulation of the academic career progression (if Ken is reading, it won’t be during office hours!), but I’m interested in canvassing opinion. Is this a good idea? What variables would need to be tracked – gender, age, relationship status?
Feel free to tweet me or leave a comment – I look forward to hearing your suggestions!