I have just started my PhD with the same advisor of my Master Degree. We are working in Cosmology, a new topic for my advisor who has worked for years in QFT. I owe him a lot and I learnt a lot of things from him, but now I am facing a really big problem: he is not an expert in Cosmology. He pushed me to work on ideas which I realized to be meaningless. Furthermore, I feel like we are working to publish, not to learn something. I suggested to work with a Professor of another university, a friend of my supervisor, who is a really famous master of the subject, but he didn't agree.

I don't know what to do. I really feel bad, because I don't want to waste my PhD but I don't want to argue with my advisor. What can I do?

  • To put it bluntly, your first job is to publish. Learning comes second. That is how the sea flows in the ocean of academia. – Vladhagen Jan 8 '18 at 23:26
  • It is not possible to publish without learning. It is like a chain, your final goal is to have a PhD, which cannot happen without publishing good papers, which are in return the fruits of your learning. As you are a PhD candidate, you do not need a supervisor who is an expert in the domain. You can have your own contacts with other researchers, with whom you may publish a joint work without having problems with your supervisor. – Younes Jan 9 '18 at 0:11
  • 6
    You need a different advisor... – paul garrett Jan 9 '18 at 0:26
  • An advisor who is an expert on research, but not on cosmology, would not be a problem if the advisor were leaving the OP to make their own collaboration network and decisions about direction. "pushed me to work on ideas..." and not agreeing to working with a subject expert are both bad signs. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 9 '18 at 0:48
  • To add to paul garrett's comment: I tried to write a thesis with an advisor whose interests and expertise turned out to be different than my interests (Initially neither of us appreciated this, but it slowly became clear). That advisor has been successful with other students, but in my case my interests wandered away from the context in which that advisor could act effectively. The solution then (and I think there was no other) was to change advisors. Fortunately in my case everyone involved worked to help me and handled the situation professionally and no egos were involved. – Dan Fox Jan 9 '18 at 8:44

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