Hot answers tagged

188 votes

What to do when your student is convinced that he will be the next Einstein?

Let the standard processes of education and research take their course. This student will probably not survive them to receive the degree, and that is as it should be. Tough love: warn, then let the ...
user avatar
  • 6,758
131 votes
Accepted

Applying for a postdoc. Should I mention that I completed my PhD with no supervision?

Should I mention that I completed my Ph.D. with no supervision? Definitely not. "I had no supervision during my PhD." could be interpreted as "Nobody taught me anything during my Ph.D. so I am ...
user avatar
126 votes

Inadmissible theorems in research

Does maths research have anything inadmissible? No, but trying to prove X without using Y is still a very useful concept even in research, because it can lead to interesting generalizations, or new ...
user avatar
122 votes
Accepted

Is it frowned upon to go to office hours as a graduate student?

Grad students who come to office hours with good questions that show serious engagement with the material (e.g. attempts to solve the problem themself) are generally seen as mature, hard-working ...
user avatar
  • 107k
111 votes
Accepted

Can I use a section of my thesis to "soap-box" about a meta-issue regarding research?

I think this is a fairly bad idea, for the following reasons: It's largely shouting in the woods. Let's face it, while you may feel that your thesis is the only piece of work that's "truly yours", it ...
user avatar
  • 126k
106 votes
Accepted

What if the lecturer is not rigorous?

In physics we deliberately do not prove the series converges, because we are not interested in teaching concepts like convergence. Physics courses are not intended to be mathematically rigorous. It ...
user avatar
106 votes

Will a paper be retracted if a flaw in released software code invalidates its central idea?

If the main idea in the paper has been invalidated by the correction in the code, you would do well to try to retract the paper yourself. This is just a point of professional ethics. It also protects ...
user avatar
  • 258k
104 votes

What should I do after advisor got upset when I expressed "belief in evolution" and then said he couldn't add me to his research team?

Well, this is clearly not a match made in heaven. (Sorry, I really didn't intend this as a pun.) What a shame, you had really bad luck. There is no need to keep this a secret from the other ...
user avatar
  • 38.5k
104 votes

When someone cites one of your papers, is it a good idea to send an email to the authors to show appreciation?

Straight answer: NO it's not a good idea Citing someone is (and should) be neither a favor nor a gesture of politeness. So there's no point to send a thank you email. Thanking someone for a citation ...
user avatar
98 votes
Accepted

Where should the line be drawn regarding political statements in a scientific report?

This appears to have been under the instruction of President Trump, as news sites reported data on the EPA website was removed. Speculation usually doesn't belong in a scientific paper. This is ...
user avatar
  • 107k
82 votes

What should I do after advisor got upset when I expressed "belief in evolution" and then said he couldn't add me to his research team?

This is a startling story. Bottom line: any physics department in which the chair makes a point of "not believing in 'evolution'" and takes a student's "belief in evolution" as relevant to her ...
user avatar
78 votes

What if the lecturer is not rigorous?

Let me add a thought following the other post, which asserts that this is not a mistake, pedagogically. Take this as a given: you don't need to "call out" the professor for failing to teach "properly....
user avatar
  • 180k
78 votes

Found a major flaw in paper from home university – to which I would like to return

Don't make it personal. Keep it about the science. You can inform them of the flaw and let them fix it or you could just publish a new paper with better results, pointing out the flaw if needed. That ...
user avatar
  • 258k
76 votes

Is it frowned upon to go to office hours as a graduate student?

One common mistake grad students make is not asking for help when they need it, either from professors or advisors, out of a misguided belief that they're supposed to demonstrate independence or ...
user avatar
  • 19.9k
75 votes
Accepted

Is it still possible to get a decent job in academia (specifically physics) nowadays?

I've heard from a couple physics professors and chairs that it's somewhat difficult to find a first position in physics in general This is a dramatic understatement. I always recommend reading the ...
user avatar
  • 50.8k
66 votes

What to do when your student is convinced that he will be the next Einstein?

A major part of good science, is not only performing good research, but also convincing others that your science is worthwhile. A common belief of researchers is that their job is done after they have ...
user avatar
  • 7,349
63 votes
Accepted

Does a PhD from US carry *more academic value* as compared to one in India even if the research skill set developed is same?

While I was an Indian undergrad in mathematics, I was told similar things by my friends who were doing, or planning to do, their graduation at universities abroad. Specifically, they told me that: ...
user avatar
53 votes

Will flat earth society membership affect my graduate school application?

No, I do not think an admissions committee would check for this type of information. Nor would they assume the poster with the same name is the applicant.
user avatar
51 votes

Is it acceptable for a professor to claim that his students will never revolutionize the field?

Is it acceptable for a professor to claim that his students will never revolutionize the field? Yes. He was clearly expressing his opinion. This is what we do in academia. If you are so soft and ...
user avatar
  • 168k
50 votes

What should I do after advisor got upset when I expressed "belief in evolution" and then said he couldn't add me to his research team?

IMHO, you should feel lucky about knowing that the rapport with you and this person is incompatible at such an early stage. Occurrence of such an event at a much later time may have caused devastating ...
user avatar
  • 12.4k
50 votes

Found a major flaw in paper from home university – to which I would like to return

I'm no physicist, but speaking from common sense: Depending on how "ground-breaking" your discovery of their mistake is, here are the options I would consider: Silly mistake that could have been ...
user avatar
  • 877
46 votes
Accepted

How to advertise a paper to increase citations?

Aside from giving excellent talks at important conferences, here are several other ideas. I've seen all of these work (although rarely all for the same paper). Maintain a freely available copy (or ...
user avatar
  • 96.8k
46 votes

Inadmissible theorems in research

In the sense that you are asking, I cannot imagine there ever being a method that is ruled inadmissible because the researcher is "not ready for it." Every intellectual approach is potentially fair ...
user avatar
  • 180k
44 votes

What to do when your student is convinced that he will be the next Einstein?

Note: I'm a PhD student so the following is based off of very limited experience. You're in a very tough situation. It is likely that the student will end up spending a lot of time obsessing over ...
user avatar
  • 651
44 votes

Is it good to finish a PhD fast?

One of the questions is why his students finish so fast. That's likely at the core of whether or not things are "Good" or "Bad". For example, some potential good reasons: His lab has stable funding, ...
user avatar
  • 51k
43 votes
Accepted

To what extent can I use the concept of "God" in a meteorology lecture without offending anyone?

It's acceptable, but why do you need to use it? It seems to me that you could just as easily use a secular phrase like "looking down from above"?
user avatar
  • 180k
39 votes

Is it still possible to get a decent job in academia (specifically physics) nowadays?

I'd like to offer a different perspective on this. I was in your position in 1979, and convinced I was going to solve the unified field theory problem¹ I went to Cambridge to do first a degree then a ...
user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

Is creating your own "experiment" considered cheating during a physics exam?

No, this is perfectly fine. In physics, it is common to see students making odd motions as they think through the problem or apply rules like the right hand rule. The usual caveats apply: you must not ...
user avatar
  • 50.8k
38 votes
Accepted

When someone cites one of your papers, is it a good idea to send an email to the authors to show appreciation?

No, because citation is a matter of transparency to scholarship generally... No, one does not "thank" someone for citing one's paper. An academic author is obliged to cite a paper when he/...
user avatar
  • 619
37 votes
Accepted

Is it possible (practically, in real life) to pursue two very distinct research interests (e.g. in AI and theoretical physics)?

It is possible (even “practically, in real life”) to do all sorts of things that are very difficult to do, like: publish five bestselling novels; climb the highest mountain in every continent; win a ...
user avatar
  • 168k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible