I am writing a paper and wish to include a website as a reference. However, the website died a few months ago and is no longer viewable. Interestingly, I’ve never seen the live website myself, but have only ever seen it via Google Cache.

So, how do I add this source to my bibliography? Do I do everything with the data from the original article (including the original URL) with the date that Google cached the website? Or do I put the Google Cache URL and today’s date? If the latter, should I modify any of the other terms of the bibliographic item?

Most US colleges require three letters of recommendation from prospective Masters students. There are two professors that I have worked with extensively in my institute, and I am sure that they can give me excellent recommendation letters based on my research work with them. The only other professors who can recommend me are professors with whom I have not interacted with too much outside class, and may not be able to give me much more than a “He performed excellently in my courses” recommendation. I do not feel that they can add much to what the first two professors say, seeing that I performed well in their courses too.

I worked at a large software company as an intern and left a very favourable impression with my manager there. He has said that he would be willing to write me strong letters detailing my teamwork, coding ability, communication skills and ability to work with tight timelines.

I wanted to know which letter MS programs in the US would value more as a third letter – the impersonal “He is a good student” from my professor or the more personal and authentic one from my internship manager.

I am currently doing research and I know a fellow graduate student who is very intellectually curious. Let’s call him/her C. However, I feel that C has a very consistent habit for not crediting people who have discussed problems with him. We work in the same lab/department, so we cannot avoid each other.

C would (very frequently, may I add) try to get people to discuss his own research problems with him, and after he has been provided tips, references or full-blown solution to his problems, he would simply take credit for them as if it was his own. Present them as if he came up with the idea. Write them and publish them as papers as if he came up with the idea. He would of course laugh about it afterwards, and talk very jovially about his accomplishments, and in the past I would have laughed along with him, because I have adopted the mindset that perhaps it is good to help out my fellow colleague. I shared my ideas generously, and promptly responded to any request.

C’s habit came to my attention several month ago when another graduate student told me, that after spending a significant amount of time discussing a problem with C, C provided a solution to that problem, but nearly all the heavy lifting was done through that discussion.

Then it just happened, C talked to me about a problem a year ago, I provided him with what I thought would be a good way of tackle the problem. I just saw his publication, which was uploaded online last week, in which the paper utilizes some material drawn from what we had discussed.

This incident has left a bitter taste in my mouth, because I feel as if I had been used or exploited. Looking back, outside of accelerating C’s own research career, I feel that C has no real connection with any of his fellow graduate students. While the other students would talk about everyday life topics, current events, family, etc., C would only ask us questions about his own research.

In doing so, C’s behavior in some sense has cheapened my graduate school experience, and left me jaded at the fact that to in order become a top researcher, it seems that you need to exploit other people’s time and intellectual energy as much as possible for your own gain. The more you do it, the more successful you will become.

It reminded me of my undergraduate days, when fellow students would try to pick your brains about everything you knew about a subject, but gives nothing in return. You have any study material out, they line up to see what you are reading. “Nosy”, as some would describe this type of behavior. It just feels that my patience and kindness has being routinely exploited by people who just don’t really care about other people.

How do senior researchers deal with this type of behavior? Of course,
research cannot go on without communication, and we all have taken
credit for things that are not purely our own intellectual
contribution. However, I think the person’s consistent willingness to
exploit other people’s time and intellectual energy has crossed the
line for me. I wonder if I am over-reacting.

How do NSF Graduate Fellowship panelists feel about images in the personal statement?

I’m applying to the NSF Graduate Fellowship for the first time. None of the successful personal statements I have seen so far have included images. I can’t tell if this is because few applicants choose to include images or if it is because the applicants who do choose to include images are unsuccessful.

I know visuals would take away word space, but I feel they would add to my statement (and maybe break up the overwhelming monotony of type). Specifically, I would like to discuss how I use visuals and technology to engage non-scientists with science and to get scientists from other fields interested in my own. I’d like to show an interactive, laser-cut display I did for my university’s Arts Festival as well as 3d models I printed for a conference. I kind of also want to include an old picture of me as a child in my mother’s graduation cap because it is adorable and relevant to my personal statement but perhaps that is too irrelevant.


If I was a panelist, I think I would be bored out of my mind looking at endless text regardless of how interesting it was. But then again, I’m a very visual person.

After I graduated university in an unrelated field, I decided I want to learn a couple of math subjects. So I’ve gathered the interned resources I could find and I studied them on my own. I’ve been doing this in order to increase my chances of being accepted to a masters program that would require these as prerequisites.

But how am I to prove in my application that I’ve been learning these subjects through self study? If it were coding, I could have provided some github projects, but regarding mathematics I find it hard to find some meaningful way to attest that you’ve covered some area unless you’ve taken a university degree in that field.

I study the social sciences, and am not funded by my advisor. It’s common for students to work on projects on their own. I started a collaboration with school X, with the intention of testing some social science theory.

My advisor wanted me to introduce the people at the school to him. I was happy to oblige – why not give my advisor a new contact? However, shortly after that, my advisor wanted me to start on a different project with the school, which I am not interested in, but he was interested in, because it related to one of his grants.

My advisor is now speaking with various people in the school and is trying to persuade them that his proposed project is more worthwhile than my proposed project. What can I do?