Academic institutions and industry are separate entities but strongly dependon each other. As innovation is their common interest, the exchange ofscientific information and of highly qualified scientists is essential for theirsuccess. However, there are serious obstacles for the mobility of scientistsbetween academic institutions and industry. These institutions have differentgoals and objectives that determine the working conditions. In the presentarticle, several terms describing the characteristics of work in either institutionare presented and discussed. Whereas academic life seems to proceedin circles around a topic of interest, life in industry may be best describedby vectors that can rapidly change size and direction. Scientists movingbetween academic institutions and industry need a high degree of flexibilityto adapt to the different environments.