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Does the International Math Olympiad help research mathematics?
56 votes

Disclaimer: I participated in the International Math Olympiad, and have a PhD in operations research, which is essentially a type of applied math. There is some overlap between math olympiads and ...

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Is it fair to my PhD student if I ask them to do "miscellaneous" work for a paper they're not going to be a coauthor of?
44 votes

Thank you all for your answers and comments. This is what I decided to do after thinking it over. I was chatting with my PhD student over lunch to find out how she was coping with her first semester ...

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Is it unreasonable to change the rules of a quiz/exam one week in advance?
20 votes

I am grateful for the input from the community. In the end, I decided that it was not fair to the students to change the “cheat sheet” policy with only a one-week notice. Here is a summary of what I ...

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Other students report that a student faked illness and asked classmates about the final exam before taking a makeup. Is it academic dishonesty?
20 votes

I was quite surprised to hear that you allowed the student to take a make-up final exam 4 hours after the other students took the final exam In my university, there is a system for handling cases ...

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How do you come to terms with the fact that you might never be among the best in your research community?
19 votes

TL;DR It really isn't important to be the best, as most people in the world aren't the best at their jobs, and yet many of them can choose to be happy about it. My story I empathize with you because ...

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Longer PhD with a deeper result vs a shorter PhD with a sufficient result
18 votes

There are several considerations regarding whether to graduate now. I'll go through them from most to least important (in my opinion). Thesis readiness: You can't graduate unless your advisor and ...

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What to do if a university is pushing for a response before making a formal offer for a tenure-track position?
13 votes

It is difficult for anyone as an outsider to know with certainty what the department is thinking, but allow me to venture a guess based on my experience in my department. In my department, we have ...

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How to start an academic career after 5-6 years in industry, without an undergraduate degree?
13 votes

As a current PhD student, my advice is to first ask yourself several questions before you decide that you want to apply to do a PhD. First, why do you want to apply for a PhD program? For some, the ...

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How do I deal with postdoc acceptances that come in before my preferred institution makes its decision known?
10 votes

I can answer this question from my experience of applying for multiple postdoc positions and accepting one of two offers. A few years ago, I applied to around 6 postdoc positions. The professor for ...

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Is it justifiable to closely mimic the structure/organisation of another thesis for your own thesis
9 votes

It is usually fine to copy the organizational structure of another thesis or journal article. However, you should take a short pause just to think through whether that is the best way to structure ...

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How can our department solicit more (good) PhD applications?
9 votes

One method that my department has found to be quite effective is to make outreach visits to universities. We have relationships with professors in departments related to our own, and these professors ...

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How to handle pressure from collaborators when life circumstances make it impossible to get work done?
9 votes

First, congratulations on the birth of your baby! It is a wonderful and life-changing experience, but also can stress your body, mind and relationships as you have experienced. I empathize with your ...

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Is there any ethical issue which prevents me from paying high quality authors monetary compensation, to agree to write papers with me?
8 votes

TLDR You can hire researchers to work with you, but you still need to do independent work for your PhD thesis. I am unsure if you understand what is the typical research process for a PhD student. ...

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Research as a (truly) lone wolf
Accepted answer
6 votes

I don't want to sound discouraging, but I think that wise people would generally agree with the following two observations: If you were try to do research on your own, without a mentor, you would ...

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Is 8:00 AM an unreasonable time to meet with my graduate students and post-doc?
6 votes

Congratulations on becoming a supervisor! A team is made up of people who may have different preferences, working styles and expectations. For a team to work together in harmony, everyone will need ...

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Why are tenure-track professors hired on the basis of their research when they spend most of their time teaching?
5 votes

You asked many different questions in your question. I'll only be addressing some of them in my answer. In my opinion, the reason why tenure-track professors are hired on the basis of their research ...

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How to handle a colleague who hasn't pulled their weight
5 votes

For convenience, let us refer to your friend as "John." As a friend of John, you should be gracious in accepting his personal failings, mistakes and idiosyncrasies. At the same time, that does not ...

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How to find the best journals or articles to read
4 votes

I agree with Memming's excellent answer that you should leverage the informed opinions of your mentors and peers to decide what articles are of interest. I would advise you to attend talks/...

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To eventually become a mathematics lecturer in the UK, does undergraduate degree have to be from a good university?
4 votes

Do you need to get a PhD to be a maths lecturer at King's College? In order to answer this question, you should take a look at the list of faculty of the King's College London Mathematics Department. ...

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How to care less about teaching?
3 votes

I empathize with you, because when I was a TA, I also put in a significant amount of extra time and work into being a good TA. For example: I wrote down extra notes to give clear and step by step ...

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How to quiet noisy undergrads students during lecture
3 votes

As noted by J..., it is my responsibility rather than that of the quiet students to help the noisy students to be quiet. Here are some of the techniques that I have tried, as well as my observations ...

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How should I position myself in the US job market if I am an assistant professor with tenure?
2 votes

You would need to submit your curriculum vitae as part of your job application, so it would be natural to include the information that you have a tenured job position there. In your CV, you could ...

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Should I stay in school?
2 votes

In spite of the large monetary and time cost of getting a college degree in CS, I believe that it is still a good idea to get your degree. The main reason (to me) that a college degree is valuable is ...

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How to create PDF of slides with audio?
1 votes

Note: This is not an answer to the question! As the answers have explained, you can embed audio into a PDF file, but why would you want to do that? Personally, I make my slides using Google Slides, ...

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Why is having multiple PhDs frowned upon?
1 votes

I don't think it is frowned upon to have multiple PhDs. However, it is definitely rare to meet a person who has multiple PhDs. Anecdotally, I would estimate that fewer than 1% of people with a PhD ...

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Am I obliged to answer student queries that can readily be answered by reading the syllabus?
1 votes

First, the students' decision to ask you questions directly makes sense if you consider their decision from their perspective. As a student, would you rather spend 30 seconds asking the lecturer a ...

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How faculty might assess a PhD applicant who already has a PhD degree?
1 votes

I know of one person who has two PhDs in somewhat related fields. His first PhD was on pure mathematics, and he managed to complete his second PhD in 3 years in operations research. For this person, ...

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How much information should I include in my lecture slides?
1 votes

As I continued to ponder the question of what is the right amount of information to put on my slides, I came across writings by Martin Fowler. His philosophy to using slides is: When I use slides, ...

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Is the postdoc salary negotiable in Canada?
1 votes

Q: Is the salary negotiable? Short answer: Yes, it is, because principle investigators have some discretion about how to use their research funding. Let me illustrate this point by sharing my ...

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How far can one expect a external examiner to travel to be on defence/viva committee?
1 votes

As @Alexandros mentioned in his comment, in this day and age, teleconferencing is a very viable option. To give a personal example: During the course of my PhD studies, two of the members of my PhD ...

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