Context: a very basic level statistics package computer lab. A scatter plot is produced for one integer variable versus another integer variable. The students are asked why the points form a grid pattern. Students are 1st year undergrads.

Problem: I am struggling in my attempts to come up with a clear question, that allows the students to get to see (…by ‘thinking’…) that the discrete plot positions are due to the variable’s data type. Using terms like ‘class of the variable’ is currently unlikely to be in their vocabulary. Forming a question that does not obviously contain the answer evades my befuddled brain.

I have an idea that I have developed after extensive literature review, I am quite sure I have formed an interesting hypothesis, although I am not completely sure this hypothesis is testable.

I would like to contact the expert in the field which I think should have most of the data I need and has probably done part of the analysis but has not looked at this data through the perspective I am interested in. I do not have any common collaborators with this person.

I am afraid that if I contact this person and explain my idea he might think that I am not needed to complete this research because I am not offering data or any particular methodology, and I would only be able to do only a small part of the data analysis. Basically I am not offering much aside from the idea and writing the article, thus my concern for being excluded by a potential article.

Due to time constraints I would not be able to do this on my own so I do not have many alternatives, how should I proceed?

I helped my friend, who never used LaTeX before, to convert her PG Diploma essay from a Word document into this system. I convinced her that, with some learning, she could later produce better essays with LaTeX in shorter time, focusing on the content without worrying about the layout.

But she started to worry from the beginning.

She commented on the placement of large figures and tables which didn’t fit immediately at the positions and pages where they called out. She was particularly concerned that these floating figures (placed professionally, I think, by LaTeX at the top of the following pages) “appeared in the wrong places in the middle of the next sections”.

I explained to her that these automatic placements by LaTeX seemed “perfect” and “optimal” to avoid large white spaces left at the bottom of the pages; and that this approach is what we see in most professorially typeset materials (e.g., journal articles, and my thesis ;)).

However, the professor who later marked the essay commented that these positionings “look odd” and “broke the logical flow”, and he seemed to prefer the “inline placement” of figures and tables. My friend now thinks that some points were lost because of this.

Should (such) layout and formatting issues in general affect the grading of student essays?

If yes, I assume this professor might not be familiar enough with professional typesetting practices, or he simply didn’t like what he saw in the essay. Is he free not to accept the common professional typesetting practices in his course?

I’m doing my PhD in computer science, and as a part of the PhD program I need to co-advise at least one Master thesis and 2 small Master projects.

Of course I went to my supervisor in the first place, but he told me to find a proper topic to define a Master thesis/project that is related to my PhD and also possible to be carried out by a master student, then he will officially support me. Let’s say that he is so busy all the time…

Anyway, I want to define 2-3 MS thesis/projects to see if I can attract students to any of them. But I’m not sure how complex or easy it should be!

Let’s say that during my PhD I invent algorithms to solve data driven problems, should I define a thesis in which students should try to devise a new algorithm? or it is too much for them? Or just applying some already tried algorithm in some new data (plus data acquisition) would be enough as the MS level thesis/project?

Also if it is supposed to be related to my PhD, should it be the answer to one of my PhD questions?? then I should do it in the first place, not the student!

I’m a bit bewildered here!

I am a freshman in Math Dept.

Everytime I learn Mathematics, I do it the slow-way. I tends to read the definitions until I make sense of what is written in the texts. I can spend a whole day trying to get one page of the textbook. I also do all the theorem proving by myself, even it takes me a lot of time to do that. I always get a good depth of understanding learning this way. I can also do a lot of hard problems given in the textbooks(Not in a trivial way, it also takes a lot of time to get the jobs done.)The works tend to take a longer time than everybody else, but I do get the feeling I know the material better than other guys in my class

The down side of it is that I don’t have enough time to get all of my tasks done in a reasonable amount of time. I always wish to be able to do research in Mathematics, so I need a deep level of understanding. But as a slow runner, I think I have to change somehow.

So this question is made to ask for advices and tips in learning Mathematics. Also, please share to me how you work with textbooks. Thank you, Stack Exchange.

I’m specifically talking about Ph.D. programs. One of my letter writers is a well-known professor in the field. I did a 5-month research project with him last year through a fellowship from my university, and he knows my research output well, but is a bit scatterbrained. The project in question was considered “graduate level,” and took place in Europe. This professor also traveled a lot that year since he was was nominated for an lecture series that had him traveling around the world to give talks at universities and labs. This unfortunately meant that our meetings were less often than we’d have liked, and were usually strictly research focused.

Last year, he wrote a reference letter for me for another fellowship, and he sent me an outline of things he would write about in the letter, asking me to look it over. He incorrectly wrote that I was a masters student (I was an undergrad at the time, to date only have a bachelors degree) and that I spent those 5 months doing work on my masters thesis (it was just an independent research project funded by my home university). I corrected him right away on that, but as I said…he’s quite scatterbrained outside of research matters.

I think this professor’s letter would carry a lot of weight in the programs I’m applying to since I know he has good things to say about my research skills and work ethic, and his name is well-known. But hypothetically, what happens if a letter of recommendation contains factual errors like that? From my transcripts and CV, it’s quite obvious I’ve never been a masters student. Would that inaccuracy hurt me? Would the rest of his letter carry less weight? I’m probably being paranoid, but I’m curious about what happens if a situation like this occurs.

For those of you who have been on an admissions committee before, how would this impact my application?

Edit: (additional info garnered from comment)

The letter was originally written for my fellowship over a year ago now, and after I corrected the professor on the masters vs bachelors issue, I was told the corrections were made. If he uses that letter as a starting point [for a new letter], I should be ok. He was just keynote speaker for a conference this week so hopefully he’s less busy after and more responsive (usually is). He is a European prof and I’m in the US.

(Also adding: the reason I’m slightly concerned and asked this question is because when he wrote the first letter, he had my CV and made that mistake. He’s known for being scatterbrained among the entire lab outside of research. He somehow can remember obscure details about my project without needing reminders, though…)

For example, I am considering taking a proof-based linear algebra course that caters to math majors, when I could be doing a much lighter class focusing on applications rather than proofs.

Do graduate admissions look at your courses close enough to evaluate the difficulty of each one? To make things worse, not all more difficult classes explicitly say “honors” or emphasize that it is more difficult through the title.

Will graduate admissions care enough to look at it closely?