In American universities, when a STEM research topic can be studied experimentally, computationally, and theoretically, do PhD programs in this research topic only focus on one of the three approaches or a combination of the three approaches?

For instance, consider physics. If I find a PhD program called “Experimental Physics PhD” at University X, and if I get accepted and go there for my PhD, will I miss out on computational physics and theoretical physics training…and be trained only as an experimentalist?

Long story short: Submitted a paper to a very respectable (but not TOP) journal in the TCS community. Received 2 reviews. The one was alright, not extremely enthusiastic but a decent review.

The problem is with the 2nd one: The reviewer failed in the most obvious way to even understand the statement of the problem, and said that “I cannot convince myself that the paper is correct”. The misunderstanding is on the definition of the problem.

for the TCS people: its a standard resource allocation problem where we want to optimize some objective function. The reviewer’s objection is that if we assign the same item multiple times to different users we could achieve a very different objective value thus the analysis on its bounds we give could not possibly be correct!

This does not any make sense since on the definition it is said explicitly that each item must be assigned once. In any case, it’s the most standard definition of a very well known resource allocation problem!

Anyway, after the rejection of the paper based on the above reason, I contacted the Editor in Chief of the journal, asking for a 3rd reviewer to resolve the issue (I was not offensive to the 2nd R). The EiC responded immediately saying that a 3rd R could indeed resolve the issue but there is nothing the EiC could do because the handling editor communicated to the EiC that the Com. Editor trusts the expertise of the reviewers, and thus the rejection decision is irrevocable.

I want to ask:

  • How normal is this situation? We are talking about an old and very well respected TCS journal, not some hocus pocus unknown journal.
  • Is there any safety net for such kind of obvious mis-managed cases?
  • Any particular advice for the incident? I am not very interested in the obvious “deal with it, it happens” answer. But observe that I am in a point of my career that an extra journal publication could mean a lot, since I am trying to find a permanent position and I cannot wait another year for this paper to go through such a process.

I have been working independently on a research project for the past few months and I am almost ready to actually conduct the experiment. The experiment itself should only take two hours. However, I seem to get a lot of anxiety when thinking about carrying out the experiment (especially because I will be conducting it completely independently): what happens if I do something wrong, forget something, etc? I was wondering if anyone had any tips on conducting an experiment without too much stress. I am sure that once I started the experiment, it won’t be too bad; getting started is the hard part. Thank you!

With so many first-world universities upgrading their academic buildings with state-of-the-art classrooms that have advanced technology, eg, capability to record lectures and post them on websites shortly after, why don’t these universities consider utilizing similar technology to catch in-class cheating on exams?

Implementing a procedure where the classroom exams are videotaped and audiotaped could reduce cheating dramatically, in turn reducing any huge headache cases that department chairs and university deans would have to deal with.

If appropriate notice is given beforehand, I don’t see that such procedures violate any privacy laws for students.

Or is utilizing technology to catch cheating a really impractical idea?

ETS, the organization that administers the GRE exams, already videotape and audiotape their exams, at least in American test centers.

I am a third year PhD student in a US business school. A this moment I have a couple publications in a totally unrelated field which are not important for my career. Regarding my PhD research, I just submitted my first paper in my field to a journal (we haven’t received a response yet). This submission was done using my complete legal name. I have also done a conference presentation using my whole legal name and I have been accepted for at least 1 more in the next few months.

I happen to have a 4-word last name (two Spanish last names, one of which is compound) and I was thinking of shortening it (as I have found it is difficult to pronounce and confusing for most people in my field and there is always some issue locating my badge, etc.). My idea was to contract my first surname (the compound) into an initial, like a middle name, so I would be “Name S. Lastname”. I am not thinking about changing my legal name, only using this contraction in my publications, conferences, etc.

Is it too late if I have already presented in conferences and have one submission (not publication)? Is there any social perception that name change is bad? Is there a way of making this name change effective in this first paper submission (i.e., when it comes back for revision, submit it back with my new name), or once submitted it is too late? Will it be a problem to use a name as a researcher that is not my whole legal name? Will it have an impact in the job market?

Thank you.

I am physicist, I do research in theoretical biophysics, and I just got a permanent position. I am still collaborating with my former postdoc advisor, with whom I already published, and we are about to submit a new paper.

When I was a postdoc, the best thing for my CV was to be first author. It is not entirely clear to me what would be the best thing now for my CV. Should I aim at being last author, corresponding author, or still first author?

I have asked this question to people working in different scientific areas, and got very different answers.