When a physicist wants to determine the motion of two stars orbiting one another, it's called a two-body problem. This same term also refers in some egghead circles to two people in a relationship who are both trying to find satisfying jobs in the same location. Referring to high-achieving partners simply as "bodies" is a little crude, we admit. Maybe it should be called the "two-star problem."
Whatever you call it, the problem is especially prevalent in academia, where a disproportionate number of couples are both scholars, with many of them even working in the same field. A 2008 study from Stanford University found that almost three quarters of academics had employed partners, 36 percent of whom were also an academic.
We're interested in updating these numbers and finding out more about the two-body problem. So last year, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, we published a survey enlisting our readers to help us answer some questions. (Because what is more romantic than discussing difficult decisions that could possibly ruin your relationship?)
A few highlights from last year's results:
- 3,074 people responded
- 74 percent worked in academia or the sciences
- 90 percent had experienced or expected to experience the two-body problem
- 47 percent of females said they would move for their partner's job versus 56 percent of males
- 33 percent of females had actually moved for their partner's job versus 20 percent of males
This year we're asking you to help us again. Below is a slightly updated version of the survey. Filling out the final question helps give us insight into issues you're facing that our multiple choice survey questions can't address. We may quote from these responses in our follow-up post discussing the results, so please include your name and location if you don't mind sharing those.
We appreciated your responses and comments last year; they helped make this year's survey better! The survey will be open until Saturday, February 28. Thanks for your help!