While many who have left science have taken jobs that keep them in contact with the research community, others have divorced themselves completely from science. And that's the way they prefer it, they say.

"I quit, cold-turkey," says Bud Grace, who has a Ph.D. in atomic physics from Florida State University and now draws a nationally syndicated comic strip, "Ernie." After getting his doctorate in 1971, Grace took research and teaching appointments at the University of Georgia and then back at Florida State. In the mid-1970s, he went to work at Florida's state energy office, where he made recommendations for nuclear waste disposal and developed the state's energy-efficiency building code.

Grace stayed at the energy office for two years, but grew unhappy with the work he was doing. "I was going crazy there," he recalls. "I knew I wanted to write or draw, so I migrated toward cartooning.

"I find...

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