189

Personally, it seems to me that he was just making a joke. Awkwardly, perhaps, but still, just a joke. Your personal library seemed to him (and me) to be so "over the top" that it was hard to fathom. Had he said something like "Wow, are you ever intense?" it would have had about the same meaning. It is possible that he had a negative ...


73

I own at least 4,000 physical books... True, some of my faculty colleagues own nearly none, and some treated me as a lending library. :) Prior to the existence of any sort of electronic books, at active math departments it was essentially necessary to have one's own copy of a high-demand book, otherwise the endless cycles of recall requests would prevent ...


60

To be honest, you will not be spared the moral decision. There will be a number of angry and/or unhappy people if you leave, there is no way around that. The core question is: do you know the other supervisor? Will you be happy with them? Is the added value of the other topic/institution so much more than your current that this difficult and costly decision ...


38

Go to the Dream University This quote from your question says it all. Internally, deep inside me, I want to leave and pursue my dreams and the things I am more passionate about. However, I feel very bad and selfish to do this. In this case your dream is achievable. Follow it. Everyone else will be OK. Your supervisor will probably get another student and ...


33

The professor has created no content for this course at all, and I put in at least 40 hours a week. Is the professor allowed to have me doing this much work? It depends on the individual university, but in practice almost certainly not. I a math professor in the United States, and by that standard this sounds absurd. From what I can tell, the professor's ...


27

you probably have bought many more books than most mathematics grad students because 1100 books is prohibitively expensive. I didn't have an extra $1100 lying around when I was a grad student. All the physics grad students I know with substantial collections did download the PDFs illegally, and used their collection more for reference and particular sections ...


24

tl;dr I think your professor was rude (and your library is underfunded). I probably accumulated that many serious physical books over a long career, most of which I gave away when I retired. I have a friend with many more. I still maintain a substantial collection of recreational mathematics, and some classics. I don't collect ebooks. I suspect that ...


21

I disagree with the prevailing sentiment. You could probably benefit from speaking to a professional. "I spent most of my income on buying books." This is not a smart thing to do with your money. Unless you have a fully funded retirement, you are frittering away your money on something with extremely limited value. Books have almost no resale ...


18

One thing that you might want to pay attention to is that this interaction touched on the topic of money, which is a sensitive subject for a lot of people and can trigger a wide range of emotions. The fact that you could afford to buy over 1000 math books, in a place where your library may be underfunded and maybe your professor also cannot afford to buy as ...


14

In most institutions, a TA position comes with an associated number of hours per week the be expended. In some cases, the TAs are actually paid by the hour, required to file timecards. In other cases (like my own Ph.D. experience), the TAs are given a number of credit-hours, just as though being a TA is taking a course (and it often is effectively a course ...


14

When I was a grad student (that was a very long time ago - we had no e-books), I loved to buy (mostly graduate-level) math paper books. There used to be more book store in NYC than there are now - we used to raid Book Scientific, Mir books at Viktor Kamkin, Warren Books, the math section at the Strand (still open), barnes & Nobles on 18th st, McGraw Hill,...


13

If you have just started the first PhD, I don't think there will be that much anger towards you. At this point there has not been a substantial financial, advisory or intellectual commitment to you. You are not abandoning a project midway through its completion. Of course, it depends on the PI of lab you are leaving. Maybe they had another student that they ...


8

From a career perspective, it doesn’t matter if one is your dream and the other is not. What matters is: What is the future of each individual field? How many publications does a PhD student in each group churn out during his/her PhD, what is the quality? There can be orders of magnitude in differences in quality How is the general funding? If you need ...


6

I do not want to quit my second PhD. It would be unfortunate if you needed to quit -- but not the end of the world. I want to start a new PhD being sure of what I am doing. In my experience, it is rare to ever be completely sure of what you are doing. How much social life and location can make a difference in your life? A lot. What should I do? ...


5

I was in a very similar position as a PhD student (although I hadn't actually started a PhD when I made my choice.) I chose not to go to the dream university. I went for the one with the better quality supervision. Who knows, I might never even have achieved a PhD if I had gone to my dream university? I will never know because I didn't choose to go there. ...


5

Movers! The most probable professional help you are going to need is when you are moving. 100 physical books look manageable and fit even in a small car along with other items. Well, you probably have other (non-math) books as well. I have a first-hand experience of moving ~4000 books family library and a ~1000 books personal one, both of them few times. Man,...


5

In this era of networked printers, few people ever actually load letterhead paper into a printer any more. Instead, most organizations have electronic "identity" or "branding" collections that include templates for letterhead, business cards, etc. As such, in my experience, most recipients (in the US and Europe at least) expect letters ...


3

Yes, it will count. Since you write "manager" I assume it's someone in industry, not academia, and so your manager may not be familiar with academic letters of recommendation. Probably the most important thing is that the letter should be a separate PDF document, and not just an email message. If the organization has an electronic letterhead, your ...


3

Many universities have online systems for submitting recommendations in which the recommenders will get an email with a link to submit. In many of these they can paste the recommendation into a form or else upload a PDF. No signature needed. I usually do PDF with my letterhead template but it's not necessary.


3

Generally speaking, for your future academic career, prestige of University as a whole is less important than prestige of department, and that is less important than prestige of advisor. And all of that is tempered by the strenth of reference letters you will obtain, and by the directly observable quality of your work. (By the latter, I mean how good your ...


3

A pure math major with no physics classes beyond those required for an undergraduate degree is going to be woefully unprepared for graduate school in physics. There is, in fact, relatively little overlap between pure math and theoretical physics; vector calculus, linear algebra, and group theory are about it. (I double majored in pure math and in physics ...


2

We can't really answer this question because it's about your preferences. It's obvious you are expecting to suffer in your new program. Is that worth quitting your program? That depends on the severity of what you are experiencing and how treatable your problems are. Based on what you wrote, you don't really have the experience of living there yet and are ...


2

Sweden consistently ranks in the top-ten happiest countries in the world. See, for instance, this ranking from 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report#2019_report It is natural to feel anxious when considering moving to a new, foreign country. It is a big step to make. If you feel like you occasionally need to indulge in a socially-...


2

I am not sure about this. You ask if a letter send by email without letterhead and without signature will be ok. If the system only accpects LOR via some annoying online portal, then the safe answer is no. The letter might never even get into the system. You need to check with the place you are applying. My guess is that if they accept a LOR by email, ...


2

One possible interpretation is that the professor felt uncomfortable because he has far fewer books than you do, despite him having had years more to accumulate them. That implies he's less dedicated to the subject than you, which threatens his status. The only other way he can frame the situation is that you have too many books, and he has the 'normal' ...


2

'My engagement with the first institution is still on the trial period, in which case I can cancel and leave without any problem.' That answers your question. There's a trial period. Use it. Now, man up. Talk to your supervisor. Just possibly he'll surprise you with 'Oh, THAT'S what you wanted to work on? You can do that here!' OK, probably not :-) ...


1

Remember, the education is about YOU and the product of the education is your abilities and your knowledge. The educational institutions getting money, professors and other staff being employed, etc, etc... are all secondary effects. Do whatever is better for you. You are the only one to decide what is better for you. It is you holding the greatest stake.


1

Do you need professional help because I buy math books regularly? As long as you think your habit of buying math books is useful to you, given what your goals in life are, you don't need to seek professional help. Even if many other people besides your professor say that your habit is out of line, and even if they can motivate why that's the case, that is ...


1

When I was early in my studies (physics) I had a real hard time with computing integrals. I simply would not "see" how to go from that weird integral to the nice ones and solve the equation. Our teacher (a prof that was doing both the lecture and the practical exercises) told us that we need to do at least 50 integrals to "get the vibe" (...


1

I read that the famous computer scienist and mathematician Donald E. Knuth owns a large personal library. He is notorisouly known for a series of books with the aim of covering a large portion of computer science and having a very detailed bibligraphy. In my studies I once visited a professor of statistics from the psychology department. As I entered his ...


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