My son, 25, just got notified that he didn’t pass his qualifier the second time around so he’s been dropped from his PhD program.

As a parent, I only want my child to be successfully happy, both in his personal and social life. It’s disheartening and heartbreaking to know that all his hard work and countless hours of studying and burying deep in papers can all fall apart just like that because a committee wills him not good enough for them. He wasn’t even pursuing a PhD. He was working on his MS in EE and one of his professors saw potential in him so she encouraged him to pursue a PhD with full funding. He will leave the program with a terminal MS (which he had already earned before entering the PhD program).

On the exterior, he says he’s fine with the outcome and can’t wait to get into the real workforce. However, internally, I can sense he is battling with disappointment and alienation from his advisors and department, preferably the people he works with. I can only advise him to rethink his future 5 years from now where he’ll be an accomplished Engineer with loads of work experience under his belt or a recent PhD graduate looking for a job. On the phone, I assured him, “you didn’t fail, they failed you.”

My son will remain with his department until the end of the academic school year. However, how will being dropped from his program affect his transcripts if he should want to reapply at another university?

As an EU citizen, I want to apply to the UK for my PhD, and I know that the UK will remain in the EU for at least 2 years after article 50 is triggered. This seems to give me 2 more application cycle. However, I will first need to do a masters, so it might become difficult for the phd.

Many people say that it might even take even longer for the UK to exit, some people talk of up to 8 years. Could this potentially also mean that international/overseas fees will not be applied to EU citizens until then? What is the most likely scenario overall?

Back in my country, I was a research assistant at University X. At the same time, I was involved in a research project whose supervisor is working at University Y.

After three months working in the project, I quit my job in University X, in March. In September, my binding contract with the project was over. Just after it is over, I have moved to another country and started working here.

Last week, I had so much stuff to do and set an auto-reply to my personal email address.

Yesterday, the project supervisor fromn university Y sent an email to my current PhD supervisor, telling that “I included cagirici to the project despite all the negative feedbacks from his research assistantship duties. I sent an email to him and he faked not to contribute. I just wanted to warn you about him. He is an unethical, lazy and untrustworthy person.”

Clearly, he needed my help with something about the project, and he sent some emails to me. Then, he thought I was “faking” about being busy, and is trying to get back at me by false-accusing me.

As stated in the title, his main purpose is not giving any notice, but ruining my career.

I believe there is ethical commitee of Bologna, which I can explain this matter to (all mentioned universities are in Bologna process).

I will complain to my country’s ethical commitee, for sure. But I do not know if they will take it seriously.

Where should I report this matter?

I have replicated a method of interpolation recently proposed by certain author, and I want to tell him that I have done so. I suppose the author is interested in knowing that students are engaged with his work and are using his findings. But I’m unsure on how should I address him.

  • Should I just write to him saying that I have applied his method to new data and found the same results?
  • Should I also send him my work? Or is it too rude to send him the attachment (it is my thesis actually) because he may not be interested in reading it?
  • Should I also comment the results in the same email?

I don’t know to which extent do I have to show him my results, because I don’t wan’t to overwhelm him but neither should he be the one asking for more info.

Seldom does a day pass without a juicy piece of misinformation catching my eye. Generally these are the regular thoroughly debunked myths. Be it that vaccines cause autism, or humans cannot possibly influence the climate system since ‘we’re so small compared to the Sun’. Sure, I utter to myself after a four pi-radian eyeroll.

Is that all I should be doing?

Voices in my head

  • A second-year chemistry student hardly possesses sufficient experience in climatology or immunology.
  • But established basic scientific facts do not need a PhD to communicate. After all, science is not about arguments from authority. Rather it bases upon peer-reviewed research published in reputable journals. As far as I restrict myself to citable argumentation, I should be fine.

  • Good luck with that! This individual has already made up their mind. Any mention of a myth will have them in a defensive position, ready to turn on caps lock. Then you will only reinforce the erroneous beliefs you set out to disprove.

  • Fine, I shall not proceed.


Ultimately, these are my friends. Former training buddies, in some cases relatives, or even an occasional lecturer. Sitting idly has not worked once. If anything, one myth seems to build on the other. A guy who thought Coca-Cola Zero contained no calories now shares blogs which propose that smoking is beneficial. Not a true story (yet) but you get the idea.

Is it my responsibility as a student of science to embark on this quest? Or is the exercise in vain, at best up to representatives of the corresponding fields of study?

By the way, there is no evidence that the Earth is round… (Yes, a bad joke I left for last.)

I spoke with a research professor who informed me that I may be able to work with him on a systematic review. However, he warned that it can be very tedious and frustrating so I should think about it. I understand that a systematic review involves looking through many papers, however, I would appreciate if someone could tell me, from their experience, how it is tedious. I would also have other classes in addition to this research so would be able to work on it for about 10 hours a week.

I was just handed a paper for review (official review request by an editor of a journal) written by my current supervisor (the guy with the grant). I have not been involved in this work, and I don’t feel inclined to dish out any free goodwill on behalf of him being my supervisor. I’m well qualified to review it, and I think I would do a good job of it, but I’m worried that this constitutes a conflict of interest, and that I should decline. What is common practice around reviewing co-workers’ papers?