I recently found a mistake in my thesis while submitting a postdoc application. I realized that I messed up my reaction rate quantification of one protein where I assigned too large of an intensity value for an unreacted protein. After fixing the quantification I saw that my conclusion I wrote in the text was unaffected, but a few points on a graph did change. Although I don't think this is a small typo, my corrected work will not upend any conclusions I make in my thesis. My examiners had nothing to say about this graph. While putting together my thesis, I think I might have forgotten to double check this graph.

So on the one hand, I do want to tell my boss to see if there's something I can do to correct this and mitigate any potential effect on my career. However I'm not sure how he's going to react and if this might cause drama in a department he has already left (went to another uni). I think he was also quite happy to have me finally out of the lab. So if I were to write an errata, it would be just for presenting a corrected rate graph.

On the other hand, some of my friends with PhDs suggest that it may be better to correct the error when/if that figure is needed for publication or patent. Their rationale is that more people read a peer-reviewed publication article and that's where it really counts. They've said that only a handful of people read thesis compared to papers and I should've stopped reading my thesis long after passing my defense. One of my friends even told me that professors may make future students redo certain experiments before publication, so my data may not even be used at all.

Currently my thesis is under embargo for two years. Regardless, do you think telling him now vs. later makes a big difference? What's holding me back from telling him now is that I'm starting off in a new job and I don't know what it would take to make a correction. Furthermore, when I was his student I didn't think he was the easiest guy to get along with.



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