Scientist couples tell Adam Levy how they tackled the two-body problem when faced with a lab move.

In the second episode of this Working Scientist podcast series about moving labs, physical geographer Mette Bendixen and her ecologist husband Lars Iversen describe how they resolved their two-body problem after moving from Denmark to the United States in 2018 with their three-year-old son.

With the help of supportive supervisors and a sympathetic funder, the couple worked 1,200 kilometres apart for a while, before they each found academic positions at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

They are joined by Andrea Stathopoulos, who met her partner in 2010 when they were neuroscience PhD students at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Stathopoulos is now a scientific analyst at Verge Science Communications, based in Arlington, Virginia. She says that her ambivalence about an academic career perhaps defined her as the “trailing spouse” whose career would take a back seat while her husband’s progressed. The couple’s career plans changed frequently over the years, and they’ve had to spend time living apart. They resolved their two-body problem by leaving academia.

Never miss an episode: subscribe to the Nature Careers Working Scientist podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app. And please leave a review. Your feedback is important to us.