330

Now it is more a matter of my authority. Well, yes... I’m sorry if this will come as a surprise to you, but coming across as an unreasonable, coercive boss who wants to force their students to participate in distasteful, privacy-violating activities that have zero relevance or value to their professional training, is in fact something that will greatly ...


277

As many have pointed out in the comments (Nate Eldredge, Dan Romik, Per Alexandersson, etc.), the point is not to catch you cheating (as if you were intentionally trying to manipulate your results), but rather to verify your process of obtaining such results. We all should be so lucky as to have an adviser take the time out of his/her schedule to verify our ...


184

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. ...


171

Wait for two days, and if she doesn't give me an exact delivery date (which she probably won't), just give her a fail grade. Given that you already agreed to this extension, this is the only option you have. Do this. Honestly, you should not even have agreed to this extension. I understand that you were under stress when you agreed to it, but students ...


160

My view is that her gender does not/should not change anything in how I supervise her or what I expect from her, the rationale being that doing so might ultimately hurt her in her post-PhD career. For this reason, I have not brought up her gender in any of our discussions. I briefly contemplated telling her that I will treat her the same way as her male ...


124

You can ask, but it's really none of your business. Admissions committee deliberations are generally treated as confidential. Asking about the other candidates and why they were rejected will almost certainly be seen as intrusive. It's the kind of thing that's likely to cause them to wonder how they made the mistake of choosing you over all those other ...


122

It is not unreasonable for a supervisor to write emails in the middle of the night. I do it myself, and frequently at that (sometimes because I am honestly just working late, sometimes because I am in a different time zone). However, it is unreasonable to expect immediate response when you do so (more accurately, it is unreasonable to expect immediate ...


115

Your friend's advisor has made a very unethical request because, as a supervisor, it makes it harder for the postdocs to feel like they can say no. And they should feel free to say no, since the request is not normally part of any university employment contract I've seen. Now, if the request were at the workplace, incidental and of brief duration (...


114

Preparing a graph from already-generated data, to me, doesn't merit co-authorship but would justify a mention in the Acknowledgements. However, something that takes two days out of a student's time (even if it would only take you 3-4 hours) seems like a lot to ask for just an acknowledgement. How useful is learning the process? If it's legitimately ...


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 ...


110

It's embarrassing, but it's also understandable. I think if your supervisor has decided to ignore it, then you should take this opportunity to not ruminate. So silently thank him, and forget it. I know advice is always easier said than done though. Rumination is defined as "to keep thinking about a problem which had already been, or can never be solved". ...


109

You have suspicions, but the evidence, as you sketch it here, is circumstantial. You need hard proof. Then you can (and must) act. Falsifying data is a capital crime in academia. It wastes time, possibly years of other people's work. Don't let it get through. This person, if they indeed falsified data and would come through with this, will taint anybody ...


101

If you have to ask, then I suspect that at some level you know it's wrong. I'm a PhD student, and I would find it extremely rude of my advisor if he behaved this way. It's not a student's job to perform menial tasks for his or her advisor.


101

More years ago than I care to remember, I changed departments and started working for a new manager (NM). At the same time, another person (AP) also joined the department. My new manager put a weekly meeting on our calendars for the three of us. We would go into the meeting, and NM would start asking us what seemed to me to be really simple questions - what ...


99

If your colleagues in the department—presumably also PhD students—don't understand the concept, either, it doesn't strike me that the question is truly "basic." That said, if your advisor is aware of your background, then he should know that there will be some things that might not be "obvious" to you. Now, in this case, you have already "done your ...


95

I am currently on my second PhD since I dropped out of the first one. I was the "nightmare student," and so I'd like to give you my perspective. This may not be relevant, but I started out as highly enthusiastic and motivated but got disillusioned as the level was much higher than I anticipated. Like your student I was moving into a physics field with a ...


94

Sometimes a student's failure is a teaching success. The lesson is just not the one you wished that you were teaching.


93

This is unethical and unprofessional. It is simply none of your business. You are not in a position to evaluate the student. Writing to his supervisor will make you look bad. It is an insult to his supervisor. The Ph.D. degree can not be awarded to someone incompetent. If this happens, it is going to be shown sooner or later. Let future employers and ...


87

There may be another reason your advisor wants to do this: perhaps the work can be continued in the future by another of their students, and your advisor wants to be able to explain the details to that (potential) future student. Regardless, I think it's praise that your advisor is giving you.


87

I grew up in a Muslim-majority country. Do's and don'ts: Do show respect for the religion. That means avoid doing things like comment on how inconvenient it must be to pray five times a day, don't offer non-halal food, don't invite people to lunch during Ramadan, etc. Do do as they do, if possible and not inconvenient. For example if you take lunch together,...


82

Yes you are. Point 4 is downright abuse of power. You are not in any way obliged to provide free tuition to your advisor’s child! If your institution has reasonable management, you reporting this would result in severe disciplinary action (I think I would have my tenure clock pushed and have something on my record for something like this). Even if you were ...


79

No, this is not okay. If you lie your way into a position you are not suited for, you will almost certainly pay for it down the line. That's a very general rule, and I think it applies here. If you say you are willing to do X while interviewing for a PhD position and, after getting the position, you refuse to do X, then you are going to have soured the ...


75

If your advisor is suggesting that you quit, it is likely that you will have a hard time carrying on with the same advisor. You maybe need to have a discussion with them about why your performance was bad, and why you needed a break. As it currently stands, it sounds like you had one year in the program without any progress, and then another year where you ...


74

It's completely inappropriate. If a postdoc is an employee, there most certainly is a contract with a job description that, for sure, does not include babysitting. If a postdoc is funded with a personal grant (sometimes called 'soft money'), the grant proposal describes the work for which the money is to be used, and that, for sure, does not include ...


74

Every time I read "not part of my job description" I translate either a) "You are here to exploit me and I am protecting myself by exhausting the interpretation of any formal contractual agreements we may have" or b) "I am here to exploit you, namely to take as much as I can while offering as little as I can, and I do that by exhausting the ...


72

I would strongly recommend against putting a "trick" sentence into a report, because it looks immature and unprofessional. Remember that your advisor is someone who may be writing recommendation letters for you in the future, or helping you find a job. You want to leave a positive impression on him, and you do not want to appear ungrateful for the time and ...


71

My wife, who was a writing coach for scientists, once had great success with a native speaker of Japanese whose written English was poor. She suggested he write the first few drafts in his native language, so that he could be sure he had the main ideas right. Then he translated his own work into English as best as he could, ready for revision. Another ...


69

On the grand scheme of things, what you just described is not the worst I've heard of. There are cases where a student spends years of their Ph. D. on a problem with nothing to show for in the end, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes even experienced advisors will, intentionally or unintentionally, end up letting their students work on ideas that are ...


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