New answers tagged

1

I would say that the expected level of commitment of a postdoc is extremely high. The expected level of a PhD student is very high. Being a postdoc brings you even closer to the "top" in the pyramid of academic life, hence it is extremely high. Notice that this has not much to do with your PI or your postdoc host. It is you who should expect to be ...


2

Every position is different. Every PI is different. Every field is different. In math you can probably set your schedule to suit yourself. In some lab sciences with demanding PIs it isn't so easy. But a few points to consider: First it is fair to explore your working conditions before you start, though it may be a bit risky. If you can manage a visit, you ...


5

I work at a government research institution in Germany. We consist of a number of institutes. In the last decade, our president has worked on strengthening ties to close-by universities (we have institutes at different locations). As a result, there are now strategic cooperations in place. The most important one being that new institute leaders ...


4

I agree with aRandomName's answer, to be clear the assumptions made in the question are wrong or at least misleading. For what I know, one finishes PhD with only 3 years in France which is rather efficient, but one may suffer if one's research interest gets changed in the mean time, because the thesis topic is locked by the funding and by the advisor right ...


5

Most of your questions are field-specific, so as a physics PhD student I might be a bit off the reality of CS. Still, here are a few hints: the thesis topic is locked by the funding and by the advisor right from the beginning of the PhD This is only true in principle. If you don't have any obligation of obtaining a particular result, things are not that ...


1

Initially, Heisenberg wanted to study maths but the professor in Munich asked him about the books he already read and based on that, he told him, that he won't be able to succceed and he will not allow him to enter there (however that process went in detail, I read it in a book from Heisenberg "Physics and beyond"). And Einstein? His marks were so ...


1

That depends on the university and its rules. General advice is probably worthless. It may be more lenient for an MS than a doctorate, perhaps. But the competition will still be there, and there may be specific rules about candidate selection. I would expect that most places tuition reimbursement is a complete separate issue than placement into a program. My ...


4

There may be various reasons for what he says and what you hear. There is no particular order in the points below. The professor He may be an asshole Some people have a huge ego and they feel like the masters of the world. They do not care about others and thrive on making them miserable. The extreme case is a psychopath. → my advice: find someone else He ...


6

I like @Xavier's observation that the professor's notion of inherent ability in individuals badly reflects back to him as a teacher. That said, probably all of us know people who we felt were not good at what they were learning and should rather try something else. I'm drawing from my surely limited experience as a computer science tutor in the college lab. ...


3

people are born with the ability to know if their proofs are correct What people are really born with is the desire to learn. And this goes for all people. What is research really if not the process of learning on a subject? We do this every day with every aspect of our life. Granted, academic research has evolved to have some very strong guidelines, but ...


3

If people are born with the ability to be leaders and educators, this professor is out of place. Sorry for the lack of further elaboration [*], but I really think that the argument can be so easily reverted that I feel sorry for him. Taking your story at face value, and assuming it is not just an episode, I would start to think that this person cannot be ...


28

"people are born with the ability to know if their proofs are correct" Aside from this statement being utter and complete poppycock, even if it is correct the conclusion your professor draws from it that you cannot be a successful research mathematician is a non sequitur. I know many successful mathematicians who are, to put it mildly, not good at ...


54

There are two aspects to this, the claim that you are producing proofs with gross errors, and the claim that the problem is unfixable short of being born with different genes. The second claim reveals a weakness in the professor, not you. Some people are "naturals" at some activity such as singing or drawing. Some naturals have so little ...


31

Some of my research problems drifted from my advisor's area of expertise, so I reached out to a researcher [this Professor] from my department. It sounds as though you are still formally "signed up" with your original advisor, who should have some responsibility for your wellbeing. Maybe you could have an informal chat with your advisor about the ...


10

There are two key points which need to be addressed here, although the other answers cover things. 1.) You do not need to be a 'genius' to contribute to any subject. The notion of 'genius' is not necessarily a useful one and it would actually probably be detrimental to a subject if everyone who went into that subject was a 'genius'. Certainly in the long ...


15

Complementarily to @Dmitry Savostyanov's excellent answer I'd like to point out that you need to be very careful about impostor syndrom. Some people might be toxic for bad reasons (lack of empathy, need to denigrate people to shine, narcissism, ...). This should not make you think that you are unfit for research. If you feel like an impostor, your thesis ...


149

I am sorry that it happened to you. This is not a pleasant experience, and frankly it's a shame that toxic professors and supervisors are still common in academia. Academic research is broad and multi-dimensional. Some people excel in writing proofs, others design and set up wonderful experiments, collect useful data and find beautiful dependencies within. ...


2

The main issue I can think is time. Other people who will be working on the same research field will spend their full working week on the topic while you will be working only in your free time (weekends etc.). So you will be progressing very slowly and there is a high chance that you might get scooped if you are working on some hot research topic. All that ...


2

Should I conclude that I am not capable enough to do PhD with the words of my advisor? or Should I give myself another chance? No you shouldn't conclude that you are incapable of doing a PhD. Whether or not you should give yourself another chance depends entirely on you. We can help you with identifying the salient points that should play a role in that ...


3

Though I can't relate to your situation, I have friends who were in a similar situation during their Ph.D. They were mentally abused and constantly demeaned by their advisors. Though this behaviour is predominant in South Asian universities. But it's quite prevalent in many western universities too. However, all my friends who went through such hard times, ...


1

If you are on a trajectory that will let you quickly complete a doctorate, then I'd suggest that you don't redirect at this time. This depends on your country, of course, and the requirements for a doctorate. In the US, having a broad enough knowledge base that you can pass qualifying exams is a necessity and is also an advantage in that you would be able to ...


1

Solving applied problems demonstrates your ability and willingness to perform in industry, which is probably more convincing in the job market in comparison with applying familiar tools, which only shows you have the right skills. You can adjust your self-promotion to improve your chances, e.g., by explaining that applying tools allowed you to hone your ...


3

Mathematician working in industry here. I'll second scaaahu's answer and would like to offer an additional point of view. Industrial employers have problems to solve. They are looking for solutions. Tools are only means to an end. As such, they will usually prefer candidates and employees who will use the most appropriate tool to solve the problem at hand - ...


0

It is difficult to be certain, as it is partly a matter of individual personality. I think, however, that it would be good to mention in each letter that you are also making inquiries generally in the department so that no one is surprised. And if they are slightly tailored, say mentioning a paper of theirs that you are familiar with it is a bit better. ...


5

It is okay in the sense that it doesn't violate any ethical rules. However, I think it is unlikely that you will find success on this path. Professors receive an unhealthy number of emails every day, and this increases with an unhealthy number of PhD application emails in PhD application season. If you want an email to a professor to be successful, it may ...


4

There is nothing wrong with your approach, following along the lines of Dmitry Savostyanov's comment on your original question ("There is nothing to criticise here..."); however, here is another way to frame your thinking on this: I've been guilty of having a tool, say a hammer, and looking for nails to hit with that hammer. In many cases where a ...


6

In my opinion, your friend is more right than you. This applied area uses this and that tools, which I'm already familiar with and like using, hence I must like that applied area as well. means to me you are interested in the tools, not the application. The employer may think you'll leave if they change the tools. If that happens, they lose the investment ...


8

If you are making a mistake, it may be in narrowing your focus, closing off opportunities. Especially if it is you who is giving a too-narrow definition of your capabilities. A math PhD should be able to teach (nearly) any undergraduate math course and many MS level courses. Every college and university teaches math and so needs people to teach those courses....


2

You are worried to much. My PhD advisor also has several connections in HR. This can also be damaging if a company background-checks through the university HR department. First, HR is not allowed to say anything bad about you with no clear evidence (for fear of being sued). They will just give minimal information, and that's it. Second, background check is ...


1

Walden is just a scam like the Trump "University". The degrees from these bogus schools aren't really worth anything.


1

Well, I think few people make a lot of money doing mathematics unless they are "quants" in stock investments, or actuaries in the insurance industry. People don't normally go in to mathematics for the money, but, rather are driven to do it by some internal inescapable mechanism. My advice, such as it is, is to evaluate your options. It may be that ...


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