I suffered seriously from both bipolar disorder and major depression during my undergraduate*. It took me 7.5 years to graduate (including 1.5 year suspended from school due to bipolar disorder), with GPA near 2.0. (Furthermore, I do not fully understand the material in the core courses – approximately 15% of them, mostly last chapters.)

From the day I left school with a bachelor in physics, I have given it carefully thought for literally half year, and determined to pursue a career in physics science. I understand it well what it takes, and what I will face.

Right now, I am studying statistical physics on my own from John Perskill’s open courses on Youtube, I work the problem set and do the reading (and ask questions on Stackexchange), as well as teaching myself a few minor things (such as Mathematica)

So far, my recent priority is building a solid understanding of physics (at least the cores courses in undergrad; ideally even includes quantum field theory.), as well as equipping myself with programming skills, before being fluent in a specific field, then I will be looking for a position of research assistant, and publish research result in 2 or 3 years, such that I have a shot when I apply to American graduate schools (along with maintaining my health).

My question is: what is the best point to start, given my current situation?


*Information: I studied in Asia. and would like to do graduate studies in Physics in the States, Japan or Europe.

I have a couple of offers for my bachelors thesis in computer science (machine learning, to be precise). The options are such that one is interesting work at a not-so-well-known institute (in my home country), while the other is at a better institute (foreign university) with less interesting work. What is more important given that I want to pursue research in future in terms of masters / PhD?

Please note that I have only provided the information below to give context, so that if someone is interested in having more information before answering he/she can do so by reading below. This is NOT meant to be a “shopping” question where one asks others to make the choice. The information exists only to provide context for those interested.

Some context in this regard (optional details):

In my final year, my university allows me to pursue my undergrad thesis at any university / research institute where I can find a professor willing to advise me.

I have a couple of offers for my thesis in this regard. One is at a not-so-well-respected institute in my home country (India) with a great professor. I call him “great” based on his publications – most of them are in top notch conferences, and his projects also seem very interesting to me.

The second is in Germany, at a slightly better known institute (again, not very well known). The professor and my potential supervisor seem to do good research, but their publication record is not as good as the first professor mentioned above. And while their project is interesting, I don’t find it as interesting as the project above.

So I seem to be faced with the question of choosing between quality of work and the reputation of the university. On the one hand, option India provides me with interesting work and the recommendation from a professor who has a strong publication record. On the other hand, option Germany provides me with foreign experience on my resume and a potentially bigger name to throw around, along with a recommendation from the same.

What should the relative importance of reputation versus quality of work be?

I know that it is general practice to include a footnote on papers acknowledging research assistants who have contributed to the project. I am wondering, however, if any guidelines or accepted practices exist for how to determine which assistants should be acknowledged where. In general, since it is low cost to acknowledge assistants, it makes sense to be pretty generous in erring on the side of acknowledging. But, in the interests of acknowledgments being honest reflections of those who contributed to the project, what about some of these particular cases?

  • Research assistant (RA) is hired. Does a small amount of work, but not enough to be useful, and then quits.
  • RA works hard on project, but is very poor at communicating. As a result, RA goes incommunicado for a while, comes back at the end of the period having put together a work product that is of zero use to the project.
  • Open-ended research project begins. At start of the project, it is not clear which avenues of research / aspects of the project will turn in to productive papers and which will not. RA does good work on an avenue of research that turns out to be a dead end. Another avenue of research is more successful and results in a paper. RA contributed nothing directly to the successful avenue, but did contribute to the larger open-ended project.

The placement season for my college is approaching. I just have five months left to prepare for that. The companies that come to my college look for core programming skills like competitive programming, java and database mangement and does not pay much attention to skills such as machine learning and development. I will be getting a one month vacation in this semester. While I am working on my competitive programming daily, Should I try for a research internship(NLP or data science probably data mining) or Google Summer of Code in that one month. Will that be helpful for me?
Also, the research internship will help me write a research paper. I am planning to pursue MS after 2 years of work experience. What would be most suitable for someone in my case?

I need advice regarding the copyright of the work done as a research associate.

I am working for a university as a research associate and my principal investigator insists on publishing my work without my consent. She thinks that she is entitled to do so because i worked on her idea and she paid me the salary. So she has a right to publish my work without my consent and I have no right on that work any more.

Is this true?

Soon, I’ll be meeting a professor_A base at a University in my home country to discuss about my plans and projects that may be of interest to me(us) during my time back home.

Ideally, I am looking to be involved in industry for 12 months to 18 months before returning to my alma mater for an honours program with a prominent professor_B who has extended this offer to me despite me not meeting the formal prerequisite for this program but which is predicated on a strong statement of purpose to clear the bureaucratic hurdle.

During this time, I am looking to be actively committed with professor_A outside of standard industry hours to which I will be upholding strictly.

I have two questions:

1) In this context, is the practice of collaboration(unpaid) in the field of academia outside of industry office hours ever frowned upon? The research field is applied math so much of the work revolves around “pen and paper”.
Given that professor_A is aware of my plans yet extends an in-person meeting may suggests he is at least open to negotiations.

2) How long should a collaboration be?
Would 12 to 18 months be a healthy period? I’m looking to develop mathematical insights/ modelling and computational technique while gaining research experiences.

I am a masters student in one of the Swizz federal institutes. There is a professor I wish to work under as a PhD student after my masters. In fact, this was the entire reason I decided to join the masters program in this institute. After coming here, I did a semester-long project with this professor and took a course under the professor.

I think I did well in the project. Although I did not do anything original, I read a lot of difficult things and made a nice report. I asked the professor if there is a research position that I can apply to and continue working for the coming semester (it is very rare to get research positions in pure mathematics as a student) and I was told that it may be possible and more will be informed in a week.

However, this week the final exam of the course that I had taken under this professor was scheduled and I am not too hopeful about the performance in the exam (I think it was mostly because I spent too much time in the project and spent less time in my coursework). This professor is famous and can easily get students more capable than me.

Do you think I should write an email to the professor apologizing and explaining about this? What should I say?

I’m currently working as a post-bac researcher with my undergraduate advisor in the US, but lost my funding last summer. So, I have been doing the research as voluntary work and work odd jobs that are not contributing to my career just to pay the bills. I’m in a tight financial situation where earning some extra money would be good.

Since I am not a graduate student, would it be reasonable to ask my advisor if I can be paid for some side research and TA-related work (e.g. grading papers for a class)? Does this seem like atypical request to a professor?

I am 1.5 years into my PhD in CS program. I cannot change my program to MS since I already have a masters. My research interests have been diverging from my advisor’s and he told me that he might find it difficult to fund me as a research assistant from Fall 2018 onward. I still have a teaching assistantship for Spring 2018. He encouraged to look around my home CS department and also other PhD in CS programs. I am still not sure if I am even allowed to apply to PhD programs while still enrolled in one? I am just wondering if the programs I apply to will look suspiciously at my current enrollment as a PhD in CS student with 1.5 years completed. As long as I honestly explain my situation in my statements and any interviews, do I stand a chance? I would encourage commenters to tell me if they themselves have seen similar cases.

few years ago I did my Master’s thesis at University, when I worked in a lab and was performing various experiments on different materials. The thesis defense I held officially in front of commission, and the thesis is available on Internet.

As I was looking for some research papers, I discovered that there is this new publication, which uses the results I got during the experiments, as well as few other Master student who worked on their thesis. Our names are mentioned at the end, where authors are thankful for our assistance. I have two questions:

  1. Is is possible to use and publish results which were actually already part of someones Master’s thesis?
  2. If these results of experiments were used in the new publication, is it right just to mention names of persons who performed them, and not putting them as co-authors?

Thanks!