119

Keep asking the dumb questions! It is better to look like a fool, than to be one. You worry that many speakers are annoyed at the `elementary' questions. Some speakers do it because they are stressed about public talking, and any question upsets them. For some, communication of mathematics is not the aim of the talk; they give it because it is a condition ...


104

You're not the first one to come up with this idea. In case it's not obvious, I recommend against doing this: Having stupid mistakes in your submission makes you look stupid. It wastes the reviewer's time. It wastes the editor's time. If all the mistakes get through the review process, it wastes the reader's time deciphering what you means, and also makes ...


92

The earliest reference known to Wikipedia (as shared by jakebeal) is from 1956, but I found a few that were earlier. First, perhaps a hint as to how this usage evolved, here's a mildly sarcastic 1919 reference about universities that have abandoned the ways of the Ivory Tower to offer such "practical" courses as plumbing and basket weaving (which ...


92

Before asking a question, ask yourself the following: If I get a nice detailed and understandable answer to this question, will I be able to understand a significant part of the rest of the talk? If the answer is "no", then you should probably not ask the question even if there really is some ambiguity that could be cleared up, because chances are that ...


91

There is no such thing as a dumb question is a good adage for the classroom, where our mission is to teach students, and we have a number of weeks to accomplish the learning objectives. We use this maxim to encourage students to ask questions rather than fall behind. However, there is such a thing as an annoying question can be an equally true corollary, ...


87

First, it is important to deploy your scientific skepticism in assessing this claim. The source, after all, is the American Enterprise Institute, which is a political "think tank" that is explicitly dedicated to pushing a particular point of view. Other key elements of its scientific record including taking tobacco company money to produce pro-smoking ...


79

This information came from a tweet I shared to express my excitement for finishing my PhD and, in the process, increase by 1 the number of underrepresented minorities in the US with a doctoral degree. I did not expect for this tweet to get the attention it has, but I'm glad it's opened the doors for more in-depth discussions about diversity and ...


70

Higgs's 1964 paper on the Higgs mechanism was rejected by Physics Letters (where his preliminary paper on the subject was published). He was told that it was not suitable for rapid publication and that he should send it to another journal. However, he reportedly heard that the paper had been rejected because the editors felt that "it was of no obvious ...


66

In 1961, one could easily get a good job paying a reasonable salary with the possibility of continued promotions without going to college. This is much less true in 2003, so many people are going to college not out of interest but as a default choice. Hence, while the population going to college in 1961 did so because they were interested in academics, ...


66

The US Census Bureau gathers data on educational attainment of people living in the US, broken down by race, sex, age, and other categories. They specifically include "Hispanic origin" (though they do not consider this to be a "race"). The data come from the American Community Survey and are widely considered to be authoritative. Here is their data for ...


47

It has become fairly common in the last few years for hackers and spammers to conduct phishing attempts by emailing university staff/faculty and pretending to be students, while asking for letters of reference. I receive mails similar to yours every 2 to 3 months, and just by me doing some Googling on the student's name and info mentioned on the email, it is ...


46

I tried digging through the 2013 annual report of Elsevier. Under "Revenue" (page 111) they list both "subscriptions" and "transactional" - but the latter include not only reprints, but also books etc. As you can see, even if we lump books and reprints together, it is still less than subscriptions. To get a more complete answer ...


45

I have recently finished a PhD in Particle Physics. Over my time as a student, particularly early on in my studies I frequently encountered this problem. I would start by pointing out that, generally, you won't be the only student in the room and there will almost certainly be others thinking of the same 'stupid question' but not asking. Many times these ...


45

As much as I'd like to leave this as a comment, I just can't. So here's a semi-rant but very informative piece of an American student's experience, and why we don't spend as much time studying as we may have 20-30 years ago. As a full-time student with parents who have fallen into essentially infinite debt due to tax and bankruptcy laws, I have zero ...


44

This is a terrible idea. Just a couple of days ago, I reviewed a paper with a lot of confusing descriptions and elaborate mathematics. It was not clear that the explanatory sections were going to be clear enough for me to be able to evaluate the mathematical material in a useful fashion, but ordinarily I would have given it a try. However, the very first ...


35

First, it is important to identify whether you are the intended audience for the talk or not. If you're not the intended audience (you're going to a seminar well outside your subfield, you're a second-year graduate student at a conference that's mostly not graduate students), then you should be careful not to annoy the audience. However, if you are the ...


35

If good students who understand the topic well are getting bad grades because they don't do all the problems, you should think very carefully about whether you've made the exam too long. If this is what is happening (and I suspect it is), there is a very easy way to fix it: Assign fewer problems. Then you don't have to worry about coming up with a new ...


35

In Academia, you do not disclose who has applied for a job unless you have the candidate's permission. Since academics work in teams on long-term projects, sometimes they have to keep their job search a secret. If they do not, they may be excluded from teams. Ask the candidate for permission before contacting any references the candidate did not provide. ...


33

I found this small-scale, not randomly-sampled survey from Boise State University: Warning: All charts below are from TAWKS Phase 1 Stats, initial survey of 30 higher ed faculty from Boise State University. While findings are highly suggestive, they do not represent a random sample. Answer to question: Only 17 percent of the workweek was focused ...


30

The only type of board that doesn't affect the air in the classroom is a digital whiteboard (aka a smartboard). If you're using an actual white board or black board be sure that your room is well ventilated and cleaned often. For chalk boards specifically some sources recommend chalk holders and even face masks. Here are the papers I found on the subject of ...


30

In the US, the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 selected a "nationally representative cohort" of 10th grade (~16 year old) students in 2002 and followed up on them in 2012 to see how far they had gotten. This study quantified economic status by equally weighting "their parents' occupation, highest level of education, and income." The ...


27

While I can't give actual firm numbers, I know that two (non-academic) consumers of academic articles are law firms and pharmaceutical/life science companies. One of my former classmates worked as a research assistant for a law firm that handles biotech and patent cases, and I recall having a conversation with him where he said they easily spend $20-30,000/...


27

The rationale is because graduate programs in the US are generally structured assuming the incoming student does not have a masters, and got a bachelors in the US, which can sometimes involve an embarrassingly small amount of math (and maybe more importantly, there is a very wide variation in what students learn at different universities, due to the ...


26

There is, in fact, a resource with the information you asked for, for institutions in the United States. Detailed information on individual academic libraries' expenditures (by university) is available from the National Center for Education Statistics in the United States, as part of their Libraries Statistics Program. The data from these surveys, ...


25

This answers is not exactly what you ask for — you ask for readership, but most of the research has focused on citations. The two are, of course, related, and the answer seems to be a pretty clear yes. (In my field, it's practically the only way I find stuff from overseas, as many online repositories don't seem to have much international coverage except for ...


24

There's no conflict in my mind, and given how hard hiring can be, I would value your input if I were on the hiring committee.


24

I'm surprised nobody seems to actually be examining the paper itself. I expect most here are academics, and this is a study after all. I did this and already found potential issues. I'm sure as you dig in further, you will find more to question. Like any study, one must first find potential flaws and address then with a follow-up study. The authors are ...


23

I co-authored a research monograph in a rather specialized area of applied mathematics. I have received about $300 in royalties over several years. I think this is typical. For most authors, the important consideration is not how much money they will make, but how effectively the publisher will be able to distribute the book. This usually means going ...


23

I found an archived version of the 2018 STM Report, which is now available directly from STM again. Among other statistics, it has this plot of the scientific output from 1975-2018 and four different databases: The Web of Science (WoS) line looks rather similar to the earlier results of Bornmann and Mutz (2014), who produced this figure for 1980-2012 using ...


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