As a master's student in theoretical and mathematical physics, I've been advised that networking with fellow scientists is crucial for securing a good PhD position and building a successful career in the field. While I get along well with my postdoc supervisor, I'm interested in expanding my network and getting to know other scientists in the field.

For instance, I've been studying the dissertation of a former member of my current research group who is now a professor in another country. I'd like to connect with them, but I'm not sure how to reach out.

What are the best ways to broaden your network and make connections with other scientists in your field?
What is the best way to initiate contact and build a professional relationship with someone in your field?

1 Answer 1


Go to as many conferences as you can, even if you are not presenting.

Preferably go together with your colleagues or advisor, and ask them to introduce them to their network. This is the easy way.

If they are not willing (for whatever reason) you can still go to conferences and start meeting people there. Poster sessions are perfect for starting scientific discussions, and conference dinners/social events are useful for getting to know people from the community even if you don't share exactly the same scientific interests.

Some people start collaborations and "friendships" over e-mails. I never managed to maintain these kind of interactions with people I do not know personally, but I may be doing sth wrong myself.

However when you read a pre-print or paper of authors you don't know, and you really like the method, or you have questions about their approach, do not hesitate to cold-email the authors and ask/congratulate etc. Probably this will not lead to a collaboration from the get go, but eventually you might meet them in person at a conference and continue the discussion/interactions there.

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