I don’t know if there’s a correct answer to my dilemma, but I’d like the opinion of other people, in and outside the field, maybe older and more “experienced in life” than me. This is my situation

I am a graduate student in theoretical physics, I started my undergraduate courses in an extremely humble way, looking at professors and physicists in general as some kind of superhumans I would have been unable to match. Thus my only intent was to exploit them and get from them as much knowledge as I could, before coming back home and looking for a job, even totally unrelated with physics. So I always studied for passion, taking exams just to be able to be get the degree and then follow graduate courses to extort more knowledge to the professor. Without taking the degree my parents wouldn’t have allowed me to stay here with no “tangible results” while receiving their financial help, so I couldn’t just follow lectures and study without doing exams.

During the years I kept studying for passion, the results at the exams where excellent and I started considering the fact that maybe I wasn’t that bad. Then I started to get closer and closer to professors and assistants, and my view of them changed, they became mere mortals, I thought I could fit there and actually become one them one day, maybe not a great one, but still a person who can be properly called a physicist.

That’s the birth of my problem: I decided I can become one of them, I still know quite a lot excellences that I think I can’t reach but I can definitely be an average guy in the field, in my mind that’s a fact now, and I want to be that guy.

This semester I started graduate school. To stay in the field after it, you have to keep the highest marks and all sort of things in order to get the PhD and to keep working with people better than you who can teach you and make you a better scientist.

This is changing the way I study, I started studying for the exams, and not in the free and careless way I used to do before. A problem is that in Theoretical physics there are a lot of different approaches, styles, conventions and notations to do the same stuff. Two years ago I would have taken 3-4 very good books, my notes from lessons and then I would have mastered the subject in the best possible way for my level. At this point I would have taken the exam mainly careless of the mark, especially if positive. A negative one is a sign you probably didn’t master the subject at least at the level required, so I would have cared about it.

That’s what I’d like to do now, but I have to be realistic, graduate school is a little bit harder (at least for me) and doing that would require me a lot more time than it used before, slowing down the pace at which I take exams and making me finish graduate school later. But now I suppose I have to care about the exams and taking them as soon as I can. And if doing as I always did I don’t master the subject good enough to take the highest marks? I could have prepared that exam in less time just focusing on it and take the good mark that would allow me, in future, to stay in the field.

I have a lot anxiety for the upcoming exams, they never scared me, but now they do.

I don’t like the situation, but should I maybe just accept it, swallow the bitter bill, study just for the exams, stay in the field, getting the Phd, and then and only then studying what I want more freely?

In a line: Time and marks has never been a problem for me, now they are a burden.

I don’t consider myself able to do decent research on my own staying out of the academic world, far from better minds I can get help from, so studying just for me and then doing my own research isn’t an option here.

I’ve read time and time again that biomedical engineering covers all STEM areas and that a degree in any of them will do. Most people seem to recommend undergraduate engineering degrees. Unfortunately engineering is about the only background I don’t really have.

My degree is in mathematics, I do chemistry research and am developing a firmer background in biology. Is it necessary for me to get engineering experience to pursue biomedical engineering?

And if anyone here is pursuing or has a graduate degree in biomedical engineering, would you be able to share what areas of the STEM fields have been most effective for you?

In brief; my issue is that two of the most potential Ms.C. thesis supervisors are not being very collaborative in my extremely stressful and time-limited situation.

I am currently on an exchange programme abroad and I have also decided to finish my Master’s thesis abroad in the same university after the conclusion of this semester. There is a lot of paperwork ahead of me and I need to manage several deadlines, and my host university has asked me to bring a learning agreement signed by my supervisor in which the only module included is “Master’s Thesis”.

I talked about this with the two main thesis supervisors of my degree programme (who both supervise 99.9% of the theses in my programme every year) and asked them whether any of them can sign the agreement for me and afterwards I will start looking for topics and then once I have several interesting candidate topics I will write to them and discuss which of the topics they see fit for me and they would be interested to supervise. They both ignored my email for two weeks and I lost fourteen days of extremely valuable time..

I wrote a follow-up email and told them that I am in a very strict time-pressure and I would appreciate a quick response. One of them wrote back immediately and said that he would be glad to supervise but cannot and won’t sign anything unless he knows the topic.. So he wants the topic and my thesis plan first. I responded to him and told him that as I mentioned in the first email my situation is terribly complicated and stressful and I only need this learning agreement signed so to show my host university that my home university does agree with my doing thesis abroad, and this is by no means a contract for definite supervision of any topic, and once I find interesting topics I will let him know, because I do not want to act in a stressful manner and just pick a random topic ‘just because’ there’s no time left. Another problem was that many institutes were not so ‘collaborative’ with me when I told them that my status as a student at my host university for the next semester is not yet confirmed, so they were really reluctant about discussing further details about their thesis projects. I told him about this dilemma, and I also told him that I have many deadlines ahead of me and that I even have a lot of paperwork with visa matters so I need things to be concluded quickly.

A week has passed since that last email of mine and none of the two have responded to me.. I really do not know how to follow-up with these supervisors. I am losing so much valuable time and I have no more than two weeks left to submit all necessary papers, my potential thesis start date is in about two months and half, but I have to submit my learning agreement and visa application in about two weeks.. If I do not manage to do my thesis here, I won’t be able to probably do it back in my home university, because it is almost too late to pick up a topic. I do not know how to make these supervisors understand my complicated situation. I have found few topics from some institutes, but not all of them really interest me 100%, and after all this is thesis and I have to pick something up I totally like, as I have to spend half a year of my time on it. Should I really act so desperately and choose one of these topics and send it to the supervisors and see if they agree? I really cannot see another way, if I do not get to do my thesis here, I will have so many complications that my studies will be probably even delayed by half a year.. So instead of graduating in just half a year, I will graduate in probably one year.

We submitted an article to a SCI Elsevier journal. The Elsevier website has clearly mentioned that submission to first decision takes 4.5 weeks, submission to
final decision takes 4.7 weeks and acceptance to citable online takes 7.2 weeks.
After 60 days of submission I sent an inquiry email and editor replied just one line that the review process will take at least 1 year. I selected this journal based on IF, Q factor and most importantly the review process was quick. After hearing editor’s response I decided to withdraw the article and submit it to other fast track journal.

  • Is it a valid reason to withdraw the under review article (as the wrong information was conveyed by the journal)?
  • Any suggestion how should I compose my email for withdrawal?
  • Is it possible the editor might refuse the withdrawal request?

Can someone please clarify for me if there is a difference between an explanation and an interpretation in scientific discourse?

Whenever I am writing up results, I am careful to distinguish observations (which I associate with results) and interpretations (which I associate with discussion), because results are describing your data, where discussion is interpreting the data (which I always thought of as coming up with explanations for the results). However, I got into a discussion today with another scientist about the meaning the word explanation when they asked me add explanations into the results section of our paper (I thought they should go into the discussion).

I am particularly interested in the differences between these terms in the natural sciences (my area), but welcome comparison of the terminology between the fields of math, natural science, and social science in order to help clarify their definitions.

Concisely, here is how I view the terminology:

Observation ≡ Result

Interpretation ≡ Discussion ≡ Explanation

Is this misguided? And if so, can someone please clarify?

I have completed the following mathematically inclined courses offered at LSE:

1) Mathematical Methods (Which includes Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus)

2) Elementary Statistical Theory

3) Principle of Econometrics

I am planning to apply for a Phd program to universities in the United States and I’ve read on some forums that taking challenging math courses might improve one’s chances of getting in highly selective schools. So I was wondering if these courses along with usual Econ courses demonstrate would enough rigour to the admissions committee. I am asking this because I have a chance to specialize in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics in my final year and so if I’m missing some math courses, I might be able to cover them up by choosing this specialisation.