I'm finishing my first year as a PhD in a STEM field (say field A), although my main field is B. I have two supervisors (say S1 and S2, both very well-known). I usually work with S2 (younger, less famous), and report to S1 (older, extremely famous).
Much of the work in field A can be applied in field B. Indeed, coupling the research lines is highly beneficial and much appreciated.
My supervisors have been trying to do this coupling in the past without experts from B. I noticed it very much since day 0 because most of their solutions were poorly implemented or didn't make sense.
So, I expressed my discontent and willingness to fix these issues by adequately implementing the solutions.
However, I received a strong "NO" from S2. He literally told me: "I don't care about field B; I don't care if the method from B is well applied or not; I just want you to work with my models, using these methods (his), and obtain results". Nonetheless, S1 is always very interested in what I have to bring, although I don't have many meetings with him.
I even re-implemented in two weeks what a student from S2 did in the past (again, not an expert in field B) in a proper manner, obtaining realistic and accurate results. However, S2 told me: "why did you spend time on this? The models were right. Just focus on the method." Indeed, I focused on the method as well...
It is painful for me to hear that. It is like an engineer telling a doctor that using gloves during surgery is not necessary, and if the doctor argues about it, the engineer replies: "I don't care."
After a year, I decided to implement in parallel my own improvements. I don't even bother about telling S2 about them anymore, although I do tell S1.
Is this normal? Is this an ego problem? I would like to hear some opinions :)
EDIT WOW, I was not expecting so many useful answers! Thank you.
I will mention some aspects to consider:
I could work directly with S1, but there are two issues. First, the relationship between S1 and S2 is close (essentially, S2 works for S1), and I want to avoid raising drama between them (although I am not afraid of raising concerns, I'm quite straightforward). Second, S1 is extremely busy, which may affect my supervision.
Indeed, I now realize my project is following a direction based on S2's authority, which actually detours from the original description of the PhD (which was extremely interesting to me).
Based on your advice, I now want to raise my concerns to both S1 and S2. Any advice on how to do this without creating too much drama?