I completed a MPhys course with a 2:1 recently, and I’m trying to determine the best path for applying to PhD scholarships in the coming years.

My question is whether it’s worth applying to MSc (by research) programs, as has been suggested to me, before applying?

I can imagine that it’d make me a better candidate, and it’d provide some valuable experience of academic research not dissimilar from a PhD.

What I want be sure of, however, is that I’m not spending the time, and money, for the wrong reasons – for example, my main concern in applying for PhD scholarships is that I didn’t really make any contacts with the faculty at my old university, and I’m anxious about getting good references (I did do some work that I’m proud of, it’s more that I didn’t stand out or make an effort to be known).

I figure that an MSc would give me an opportunity to really throw myself out there and at the very least get a recommendation based on the strength of my work. But of course it’s a big outlay if the only real thing stopping me at the moment is an anxiety around talking to my old department!

(I am from an engineering background and know very little about liberal arts programs, so I apologize in advance if my question sounds condescending or ignorant.)

I am often puzzled as to how academicians in the “soft sciences” such as philosophy or religious study or in other branches of liberal arts, apply or integrate what we usually think of as “hard sciences” such as mathematics or physics into their studies. This is partially motivated by the plethora of questions on academia stackexchange asking about the feasibility of switching between from “soft” to “hard” and vice versa, such as,

Teaching philosophy with a PhD in math

Changing field from Computer Science to Philosophy

I have two main questions:

  • I am not certain as to the difference between, for
    example, a computer scientist like Stephen Cook, versus a philosopher
    of computer science (there is certainly no shortage of philosophizing computer science, see
    https://www.scottaaronson.com/papers/philos.pdf). In particular,
    could your average researcher or a student studying the philosophy of computer science feasibly come up
    with new results in computer science or theorems on complexity theory?

  • Are there well-publicized research performed by religious
    scholars or philosophers that actually inform or advances or guides
    the development of mainstream theory in say astrophysics, biology,
    medicine, mathematics, etc.?

While I am aware that these titles are not mutually exclusive, i.e.,
a student of philosophy may well have a background in mathematics and vice versa, ultimately I am not certain about how subjects such as mathematics and physics can be made relevant to philosophy (or other areas). This has kept me wondering about the hypothetical questions: what would Kant say about string theory? What would Spinoza say about ZFC?
What would Kierkegaard say about neural networks? Or the other way around, in what ways can quantum computing inform phenomenology?

(Foreword: I am coming from an engineering background and know very little about liberal arts programs, so I apologize in advance if my question sounds condescending or ignorant.)

I am often puzzled as to how academicians in the “soft sciences” such as philosophy or religious study or in other branches of liberal arts, apply or integrate what we usually think of as “hard sciences” such as mathematics or physics into their studies. This is partially motivated by the plethora of questions on academia stackexchange asking about the feasibility of switching between from “soft” to “hard” and vice versa, such as,

Teaching philosophy with a PhD in math

Changing field from Computer Science to Philosophy

I have two main questions:

  • I am not certain as to the difference between, for
    example, a computer scientist like Stephen Cook, versus a philosopher
    of computer science (there is certainly no shortage of philosophizing computer science, see
    https://www.scottaaronson.com/papers/philos.pdf). In particular,
    could your average researcher or a student studying the philosophy of computer science feasibly come up
    with new results in computer science or theorems on complexity theory?

  • Are there well-publicized research performed by religious
    scholars or philosophers that actually inform or advances or guides
    the development of mainstream theory in say astrophysics, biology,
    medicine, mathematics, etc.?

While I am aware that these titles are not mutually exclusive, i.e.,
a student of philosophy may well have a background in mathematics and vice versa, ultimately I am not certain about how subjects such as mathematics and physics can be made relevant to philosophy (or other areas). This has kept me wondering about the hypothetical questions: what would Kant say about string theory? What would Spinoza say about ZFC?
What would Kierkegaard say about neural networks? Or the other way around, in what ways can quantum computing inform phenomenology?

I’m an undergraduate student in physics looking for a graduate university in my field. Here is my background:

1) Undergraduate in physics and maths – GPA: 4.0 out of 4.0.

2) Have a paper (third author) on arXiv.

3) Two years of research experience with two different professors in my field.

4) Won a full scholarship for participating in a well-known school.

5) Participated in CERN summer school.

6) Won a medal in IPhO and passing several advanced courses both in phys. and maths.

7) Gave several talks.

8) TOEFL: 103, GRE: Good.

My first choice is the direct doctorate physics in ETHZ. The point for the programme is that if I got accepted, I would win full merit-based scholarship that makes it competitive.

What is your (realistic) opinion on my chance of getting admitted to direct doctorate physics in ETHZ?

The weaknesses I stated in the question are
: engineering UG major(though miner in physics), low GPA(UG GPA 3.55/4.3 in physics/3.79/4.3 in engineering), no research experience, bad relationship with PI, being old(26 at the end of next year)

I came to physics Ph.D. program after UG in engineering, and this is the end of my 2nd year. I passed a qualifying exam and accepted by current advisor working on particle physics, but I have no research experience with him – I was excluded from my first work with postdoctor after I told him that I’ll leave this lab with master degree. This is my last semester of graduation. I have a very bad relationship with my adviser, that I can’t get a recommendation letter from him. And there are only two hep faculties in our university including him. Besides I’m not young, I’ll turn to 26 at the end of next year by the time of application period.
In spite of these, I want to continue high energy theoretical physics and prepare for the Ph.D. program in the US.

Can I get any suggestion about what to do during the next 1 year before application?(e.g. study more – I just know QFT and basic cosmology that’s all), or Do I have no hope? And will it be inappropriate to ask professors in another institute for advising me for 1 years of my study(or possible research)?

I really need your advice, since I have no one to talk about this and I got a negative answer so far in other community.

I am doing my Ph.D. (physics) in a country where there is a countrywide Ph.D. entrance exam. I appeared for the entrance exam and got into (arguably) the best institute in my country. This was 3 years ago. The problem is that the institute decides our department before the entrance exam. After my 3 years B.Sc, I did not know any better and applied for the Experimental High Energy Physics Department. After joining, I realised that I did not like HEP that much and wanted to change my department. But my institute would not let me do that.

I finally found a supervisor in our department who works in a lot of different topics like Optics and Quantum Computation. I joined his lab and worked with him for the last one and a half year during my coursework. Two months ago, I registered for my Ph.D. under the same supervisor.

Recently, the conditions in our lab deteriorated a lot. There is a general feeling of depression and anxiety among the other students. Work is going really slowly because of the following reasons:

  1. All the students are working in individual experimental project that have no overlap with one another.
  2. The supervisor is a big-shot and has his own research interests. And
    he is not particularly interested in our work. (This is a feedback I got from all my lab seniors).
  3. We have to do all administrative and engineering work related to our project by ourselves.
  4. There are no publications from our lab in the last 5 years. I was made to believe that it was the students fault that there was no publication. But the more I see, the more I realise that this is the rule and not the exception. I mean, all the students can’t be at fault. I know that this should have been a red flag but as I said before, I was made to believe something else.

I am realising now that staying in the lab is not an option. Even my seniors are contemplating on leaving the lab. I have two options now.

  1. Leave the lab and join someone else in the same department. Note that there is no one in our department who works on a similar field.
  2. Leave the institute altogether. Then I have to do a one-year M.Sc thesis project before leaving. There is only one other group in our country that does a similar work and they are already full. Also, it is really hard to get into the labs in other countries even with my research experience.

I am planning to follow the first option and join a different group in our department. This group works on a field that is neither HEP nor my present field.

So my question is; Is it wise to change the field mid Ph.D.? Or should I risk it and leave with M.Sc and apply for Ph.D. abroad? In either case, I will have to start from scratch and my one and a half year of work would be for nothing.

TL;DR: Due to problems in our current lab, should I leave our lab and join another group who works on entirely different subject or leave my institute altogether and apply in universities abroad (which is difficult).

P.S. I have about 4 years of institute funding left, if I plan on staying in the institute.

There are several laws that many people know verbatim and could quote off of the top of their heads. Take Gay Lussac’s (The Pressure) Law for instance:

The pressure of a gas of fixed mass and fixed volume,is directly proportional to the gas’s absolute temperature.

Which is the wording that is used in many textbooks and on Wikipedia. However, in many instances, this included, it can be difficult to locate the original paper where the law was defined due to the passage of time. A similar example of this could be Pythagoras’ Theorum:

The square of the hypoteneuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

So my question is thus, how should one go about citing these definitions? Should we just assume that everyone is aware of their provenance due to them being universally understood laws in academic circles and thus they can stand on their own axiomically?

If it’s relevant, my university conforms to their own variant of Harvard referencing.

I noticed during some conference talks that some presenters use their initials rather than their full names on some presentationn slides. Specifically I noticed this when they show name-labeled photos of their teams or have slides where they highlight key contributors to a broader scientific field.

I’m not sure whether this is a cultural quirk (I did’t catch any pattern regarding nationality), a means to draw attention towards your research team (it seems to be more common for team leaders and professors) or just a boastful way of understatement (since everybody knows who “X.X.” is).

Additionally, is doing this appropriate and/or advisable for an (under)grad student and if so, in what context?

I’m an undergraduate in computer science. I will complete my undergraduate course next year. I’m really interested in mathematics especially applied topology which recently saw great uses cases in neuroscience, material science and quantum computing.

Would a PhD in mathematics allow me to work on these fields later? ( AI, Physics, Neuroscience, Quantum Computing ) or is it wiser to go for a PhD in Neuroscience or PhD in Computer Science?

If I go with mathematics, which areas of it should I concentrate more to work on neuroscience and quantum computing?