That said, Gregg Berman, a Princeton-trained nuclear physicist, sounds like a pretty interesting guy to be working at the SEC, trying to sort out what sent the stock market into madness last month:

For Berman, 43, his SEC job in many ways is a far cry from the late nights he spent conducting experiments at Princeton’s particle accelerator in preparation for his doctoral thesis, “The Study of the Beta Decay Spectrum of Sulfur-35.” But in other ways, it’s not.

“Experimental physics is about drawing conclusions from very messy data,” said Berman, who started doing financial analysis after receiving his PhD. “And finance and economics and the type of work within the division that I’m at at the SEC is about trying to draw conclusions and make recommendations based on lots of data, data from the marketplace that can be quite messy as well.”

The Post wisely notes that the agency “is having trouble filling out more of its ranks with people with unconventional résumés.”

The challenge, Bookstaber said, is in recruiting undergraduate computer science wizards who might otherwise work for Google or trade for hedge funds. “We have to rely on public spiritedness as opposed to dollars to pull them here.”

The Post does nice work covering those who’ve made the leap. Hopefully now it will cover what they do with those new jobs.

Holly Yeager is CJR's Peterson Fellow, covering fiscal and economic policy. She is based in Washington and reachable at