Hot answers tagged

182

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 system do its thing. The central issue I see is that this student is clinging tenaciously to a goal of disruptive fame rather than a goal of advancing research. ...


122

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 students. It is also a good way to get to know faculty in your department, which can be useful e.g. if you are looking for a research assistantship, or ...


113

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 proof techniques that can be applied to a larger set of problems. For instance, in some sense the Lebesgue integral is "just" trying to prove the properties of ...


111

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 will likely also be the least-read piece of your career. More to the point, your (presumed) target audience (young physicists in other departments) are very ...


104

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 professors. It is very unlikely that they are clones of this guy, even if they do have a friendship with him. Yes, you do need to talk to the dean of graduate ...


103

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 you in a way from future claims if people don't examine everything thoroughly. The journal may not be able to actually retract the paper, but might be able to ...


102

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 just is not one of the goals.


98

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 especially true when it does not further the scientific purpose of the paper. The rest of the statement - about the document no longer being available at its ...


81

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 would depend on whether you want the new result under your name or are happy enough for it to be under theirs. If you write, however, and get pushback, ...


80

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 studies is almost certainly a physics department that any student is better off away from. Scientists are not in the position of "believing" or "disbelieving" ...


74

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." It is, however, still the case that you personally are wanting to dig into the mathematical foundations of these concepts more deeply, and find it important ...


74

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 ability by not taking advantage of the resources available. No, it is not frowned on to go to office hours. If a professor goes out of their way to make a resource ...


63

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 proved their idea – now it is the community's turn to see how awesome their science is.1,2 Maybe a first step is to make your student see this. The next step ...


53

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.


51

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 fragile that hearing one man's opinion that you disagree with causes you such extreme discomfort, I suggest that you go and find yourself an occupation where one ...


51

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 avoided by being careful or by knowing a bit more math: Write up a correction, contact the group and offer to co-author the correction with them, so that way ...


50

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 results. Is seems like @aparente001's procedure seems appropriate. Also take notice to @Dan's advice; reacting too vigorously may spoil you career within the ...


45

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 at least an arXiv link) on your personal web page. Keep your CV up to date, including links to freely available version of all your papers. Make sure Google ...


45

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 game. If the specific goal of a work is to find an alternate approach to establishing something, however, it could well be the case that one or more prior ...


44

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 their work and get brainwashed by their own ego and denial. On the other hand, Einstein himself was indeed regarded as a bit of a crackpot for a while (I believe ...


43

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, which means his students need to take fewer TA positions to fund themselves, and can work on research instead. Note that this might also be a bad thing if you ...


42

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"?


38

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 be distracting or obnoxious, must not broadcast data that other students could use to cheat, and must follow all announced regulations. Yes, like with ...


35

The usual convention in CS: Use italics when you first mention the term and define it. After that, you will use it just like any other word. No italics, no boldface, no quotation marks.


34

Will there be any positive gain thanks to the publishing of the code to me? Publishing the code is necessary to make the calculation reproducible and the results verifiable. If I were the referee of your paper I would likely insist that you publish the code. So the “positive gain” would be that your paper will not be rejected outright. It will also help ...


32

One of my favorite quotes is Einstein’s PhD thesis was a sensible contribution to Brownian motion theory Tell him that even if he wants to surpass Einstein, he needs to start from a sensible contribution to current research for PHD. This means that finding a gap in the current science and filling it with sensible contribution. Even if he has ...


32

It is worth pointing out, that theorems are usually inadmissible if they lead to circular theorem proving. If you study math you learn how mathematical theories are built lemma by lemma and theorem by theorem. These theorems and their dependencies form a directed acyclic graph (DAG). If you are asked to reproduce the proof of a certain theorem and you ...


31

I really sympathize with your situation. This is the kind of case that gives academia a bad name and highlights the inherent power imbalance between professors and students. Academia has devised all kinds of tricks and checks and balances to mitigate this imbalance and the conflicts it leads to, but unfortunately the system still leaves plenty of room for ...


30

Echoing parts of the other answers, and some of the comments: first, it is inaccurate to declare omissions such as "proof of convergence" a "mistake". There simply is no absolute obligation to verify that all parts of the mathematics work as a physicist expects for other reasons. Yes, you or I and others might want to see the proof, that is, mathematical ...


30

I am rather confused. What are you confused about? It is crystal clear from your description that this student is going nowhere fast. Working with him is, to put it semi-diplomatically, not an optimal allocation of your time, energy and other resources. If you are confused, it's because you are letting your emotions get in the way of acknowledging that ...


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