Sunday, April 24, 2011

PhD Perspectives

  1. Saee Keskar: Milestones:

    As a PhD student, you are used to your (evasive) milestones. However, there are a number of philosophical milestones that you need to cross in order to truly deserve your PhD. I am going to list some of those here ...

    Her list of milestones ends with this most appropriate quote from Saint Calvin:

    That's one of the remarkable things about life. It is never so bad that it cannot get worse.

  2. Sunshine: Interest and Attitude:

    ... That innovative spark of an idea I got 4 months ago was a brief moment of eureka. But in order to materialize that innovative idea into a tangible research product or publication, I have to go through all these mundane things I just discussed. I need the tools to help me think in the right way, for which I take classes and often piggyback on my advisor’s knowledge base. Sustaining this and still remaining focused has nothing to do with interest. It is all about the attitude to work hard. Ph.D. needs interest as a trigger, as a starting point, as much as that match that lights the fire. But attitude is that oxygen that sustains the fire through years.

  3. John Regehr at Embedded in Academia: How Much and What to Read:

    Grad students often aren’t quite sure how much of their work time should be spent reading, and may also have trouble figuring out what to read during that time. (In principle this problem also applies to professors, but it’s not much of an issue in practice since we have almost no time for discretionary reading.) I usually tell people to err on the side of doing too much, as opposed to reading too much. Averaging one day a week on reading is probably about right, but it may be a lot higher or lower than this during certain periods of grad school.

  4. DrugMonkey on A Personal View on Qualification for the PhD:

    I have two things I'd like to see a person accomplish in a doctoral program:

    1. Reading so deeply and critically into the literature of sub-sub-topic X that they are not only the world's expert in that topic at this point in time but that they realize that they are the world's expert.

    2. Being able to approach any and all new papers in the literature with the ability to simultaneously maintain the thoughts that "this is all total bullshit" and "this is the awesomez!" with mental citation ticking to justify each position.

    Once you are there, you deserve the PhD.

  5. Finally, Bashir has a quick metaphor regarding the dissertation defence: Parole hearing! (You have to go there to read the rest! :-)


  1. Saee said...

    Thank you!! :)

  2. gaddeswarup said...

    I liked the second part of DrugMonkey's advice. I still fail in the first part. I read exactly six papers in an area which led to my thesis and which was away from what I was studying. That was because somebody said that P wrote a great paper; I read P's paper and few more to round it off and found a problem. School of Mathematics of TIFR had that atmosphere those days; one could wander off from area to area and wonderful people like M.S. Narasimhan who knew whem to advise and when to leave some alone.