For PhD applications, I have mentioned that I am interested in some research areas. Besides, I am thinking about mentioning some professors' names, so that it shows I have read their websites and I am not just sending out generic statements applicable to many schools.
But is it good to mention some professors' names in the statement of purpose, if I don't know them personally? In what cases is it good, and in what cases it isn't?
For example, is it good to only mention
- those whose research directions are aligned with my research interests, or/and
- those whose books or notes I have heard of, or better, might have read some parts of, or/and
- those who are already established and famous (such as having certain titles), or/and
- those that are directing the PhD graduate programs, or/and
- those that are heads of the departments?
What will other professors who are not mentioned think? How will you do, if it were you?