Hot answers tagged

218

Aeismail’s answer is spot on: who you choose to dedicate it to is entirely up to you (modulo political expedience). I've read theses dedicated to martyrs and I've read theses dedicated to cats. Do what you feel moved to do. See answers here for some discussion. As for how it would be received by the Jewish community and Jewish mathematicians, I am confident ...


207

I highly value humor and love to entertain whenever I can. In formal writing, I would encourage you to go ahead and write something that you think would be funny. Then reread it. Then reread it again. Read it aloud. Read it silently. Read it again tomorrow while you edit it. And read it again. And again. And again. Imagine reading it out loud to the people ...


186

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. ...


172

The thesis and thesis defense is less about having the results you wanted to have, and more about demonstrating that you know how to do good quality research and can work on that somewhat independently. It's about figuring out what questions to ask and what methods can be used to find the answers, and then applying those methods to come up with answers. ...


163

Get off of Stack Exchange and contact your advisor, right now. He/she is the most qualified person to help you understand what is going on and what to do about it. It's possible you might have to delay your defense in order to fix it. That would be unfortunate, but not the end of the world. On the other hand, if you know about a serious error and defend ...


142

For simplicity, I am going to let your premise that (virtually) nobody reads a PhD thesis stand, even though that's debatable and also a bit field-dependent. There are still a number of reasons for it to exist: It's arguably more of a "writing to learn" task anyway. Students don't produce theses for the sake of the thesis, but to learn how to do research ...


140

Nothing you've described sounds like a serious academic problem. Taking weeks to understand a paper, and working on a problem for weeks without results, are entirely normal in research mathematics. And there is always a large gap between what you learn in coursework and what you need for research. Trying to get better by just working harder or longer ...


138

It's fine. As you say, these are open to the public, and it's common for family members, department members, and friends to attend. Since you perhaps are not "firmly" in any of these categories, asking whether it's okay to attend is probably a good idea -- but you've already done this and been given the green light. Enjoy.


134

It's not normal to work for a company for free, and I'd simply answer something like this: Dear X, I am glad to know that my PhD work caught your interest. I can provide more information under a suitable consultancy contract. Kind regards, L222 Note: We don't know the content of the company's email and, as some have remarked, the above ...


134

Why was the theory wrong? "It didn't work" is not the end -- the end is knowing why it didn't work. There are at least two possible answers: There is some fundamental, obvious mistake at the core of the model that should have been caught a long time ago. In this case, it may be a matter of starting over. It's difficult to produce a paper/thesis if the story ...


133

A thesis is not a place to solve grudges. It is a professional document that is eternal. As such, it should be handled professionally and gracefully. Still, I am having trouble why you do not want to have an acknowledgement section. Do you really believe you have done the entire PHD entirely yourself? Even if your advisor did not help enough, you had some ...


133

You can thank whomever you want in the acknowledgments of your thesis, but there may be consequences that you have to live with. In my opinion it is a bad idea to admit to illegal activity in a formal document like this. Once you write that, you cannot unwrite it: it will be archived for the rest of your career. I don't really think you'd get in any ...


128

"The only real critique I had on my thesis was that the chapter I sent you had typos. I went through this chapter again and found quite a few. In the future when someone asks you to review a chapter you need to carefully check and find typos because it's embarrassing to send a final thesis with a chapter filled with typos. Its disappointing when you ...


127

I have this one paper that has already gotten copied and submitted to some spam journals 5+ times. It literally happens multiple times per year (it has a catchy title that seems to appeal to a certain class of plagiarizers). I also usually learn about this through a Google Scholar alert. The first two times it happened, I tried exactly the steps recommended ...


126

A short (1-2 paragraph) hand written note on a card or postcard would be an appropriate gift. I have mentored about a dozen undergraduates and I still have the thank you notes they sent to me on my pin board in my office. The notes are nice reminders about the impact I had on the students.


116

The thesis is a "good" one if you have passed and will be awarded your degree. Don't overthink it. You have learned something from producing it that you can leverage into future work. That is, in lots of ways, a big advantage. If your advisor is also happy and wants to work with you on any future extension, you have a positive outcome, if not a perfect one. ...


115

I'd suggest that the viva is possibly the worst time to do this. Almost anything you say could be interpreted as whining and trying to deflect responsibility for any shortcomings. Many things you might say would be countered in the minds of the reviewers whether expressed by them or not. Whether you bring it up yourself or just reply to questions or ...


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 ...


108

I think @cag51's answer ("it's fine") is actually a bit too mild. Please go if you can! Attitudes towards thesis defenses seem to vary a bit from program to program. My PhD program had a pretty strong (but informal) expectation that people would attend defenses, especially if they a) worked together b) worked in the same sub-field, or c) were friendly. That ...


106

The acknowledgements section is really yours to do with as you wish. You can thank anybody who has been of help and support to you, no matter how formal or informal your relationship with them is. You can make the relationship explicit or not, however you prefer. Thus, for example, it is equally valid to write: Thank you to Jane Smith, for all her love ...


106

Absolutely! I had 5 copies bound - Me, my supervisor, my parents and two for the library (these last two were a requirement).


105

Many writers make very effective use of humor in their writing, and this extends to technical and scientific writing as well. Donald Knuth is one author I can think of who does this extremely well, which is one of the many things that makes his books memorable and enjoyable to read. So I think there is definitely room for some small self-deprecating remarks ...


100

I do not see any unethical point in this. You were supposed to make an original contribution to your thesis in terms of your research. With respect to writing, you can take help from your friends, supervisor, or anyone else (free or paid). In our university in New Zealand, there was a dept. which used to charge a small fee to fix language issues for ...


98

The last slide will typically be seen for some minutes after you finished talking – until you jump to some other slide for addressing a question. This is something that you should use. If you ended your talk with a summary (which is a good thing in most cases), leaving that slide gives the audience opportunity to reflect on your talk, remember what they ...


98

"It didn't work" is not a thesis. However, "this is what I made, this is how I tested it, these are the results of those tests, this is how I attempted to fix/would attempt to fix in the future", etc, can be just fine, even if the ultimate conclusion is that your device isn't currently functional. Undergraduate theses are typically fairly ...


97

Other answers make the case that you should ask for money for your services. I certainly think that is a very fair and reasonable thing to do, but rather than asking for money upfront, I would like to suggest the following strategy to maximize the benefit (in terms of financial gain, experience, and networking opportunities) that you can gain from this ...


96

I wrote him mails on a weekly basis asking for a status update and inquiring whether he was stuck. It seems that you are completing your duties as an advisor well. You can and should continue to offer help and suggestions in accordance with your duties. Perhaps this student is too busy or too anxious to respond to your emails. In that case, you could ...


94

I suggest that you remember that you are evaluating the work, not its author, or the supervisor, or the university. Give it an honest evaluation, based only on what you see before you. If it doesn't measure up to your standards, then say so. Say why. Make suggestions if you have the time. But honesty is required. One of the reasons, actually, for ...


93

Revoking a degree is rarely done and, then, only for the most extreme reasons such as explicit dishonesty and such. Any results in any thesis are subject to revision as new information becomes available that was not present in the past. It doesn't mean that the work was wrongly done, but only that what is known has advanced. Since you re-did the experiment ...


90

Having worked with master's students in an applied research lab, I am fairly confident that you are not expected to come up with a solution that will dramatically change the production process and lead to great profits. Your stipend is not contingent on your work delivering monetary returns; research doesn't work like that. You are engaged by them to apply ...


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