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Advice on PHD topic

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trys11:

--- Quote from: jfiresto on January 14, 2019, 05:39:43 am ---
--- Quote from: trys11 on January 14, 2019, 05:04:33 am ---... the thing is that i will apply for a position in a University I have never visited and to a professor, I have never known.
--- End quote ---

Unless you want play a form of Russian roulette, I would find some way to visit and interview your potential professor(s). Find out if you are compatible. Interview his students. See what support you will have. See what support your Professor has. Find out how many years his students take to finish, and what jobs or positions they found afterwards, or their professor found for them. Talk to those former students.


--- Quote ---Also making a phd in the University I have graduated from is out of the question since the funding is abysmal and so is in most greek universities that I know of....
--- End quote ---

My undergraduate university forbid it, as they consider it academic incest. Which it is.

--- End quote ---
Having such an interview will be impractical since the universities will be in other countries. One interview though is always made as part of the selection of the phd students. But still I can find and email current phd students and maybe with a bit more google research old ones as well. Having people stay for phd after the masters is very common here but i get what you mean and the point in not doing that :).

--- Quote from: rhb on January 14, 2019, 06:22:36 am ---Do not make the mistake I did.  Go spend several *days*  talking to your prospective professor and other members of the department, students and staff.  Read the professors papers and especially any consortium reports he has written.  Published papers will have been reviewed and edited.  Consortium reports will not.  Had I done that I'd have gone to Stanford instead and would have gotten my degree.

I got an immediate offer on my one day (a few hours really) visit to Austin and went off with a box of consortium reports.  In reading them I found that there were long sections that were absolutely awful writing.  I got a sick feeling when I realized they were my supervisor's contributions.

A PhD will cost you well over $100K in lost income.  Probably several times that.  Spend that money very carefully.

@ jfiresto  I taught myself algebra at age 12 and trigonometry at 14.  At university I took a BA in English literature for which I read as many books by the authors we were reading on the side as I read for my courses and then, after a couple of years as a cafeteria manager,  an MS in igneous petrology.  For lack of employment in geology I went into geophysics.  I liked it so I went back to school to better learn the mathematics as I had stopped at differential equations. And I had *no* formal education in seismology at all.

I terminated my contract with a super major in 2007 to move to Arkansas to look after my aging parents.  I'd expected to get offsite contract work, but the 2008 crash prevented that from happening.

In 2013 I ran into the work of Emmanuel Candes and David Donoho though I did not know at the time that they were the original authors.  Fortuitously, "A Mathematical Introduction to Compressive Sensing" by Foucart and Rauhut appeared.  It took two readings with Mallat's 3rd ed in between and a very large number of papers by Donoho, Candes and their students to understand how and why it worked.  F&R is 600 pages of pure mathematics.  I invite you to get a copy and let us know if you learned to teach yourself that as an undergraduate in any field outside of mathematics program.

I can't say what is allowed for a PhD dissertation topic these days.  Standards are so low I'd believe almost anything.   But in my MS professor's day, a negative result on a PhD project meant starting over.  And having attended many Stanford, Austin and Mines consortia meetings I *very* much doubt they allow a negative result on a dissertation topic.  So the students spend 2-3 years finding a project which will succeed.  I have *never* seen a negative result in a dissertation from any of those schools.  And I had an almost complete set of Stanford Exploration Project theses and dissertations in my office for many years along with a pretty large part of the work done at Mines.

The undergraudate level is just learning how to learn.  The MS you learn something and the PhD is supposed to enable you to advance you past all barriers.

BTW My supervisor granted a PhD to a student who did not know Snell's law a couple of years into the PhD program.  By that time my supervisor was also completely blind from retinal detachments.

Be very wary of anyone who advertises they did not get their PhD.

--- End quote ---
Well if you put it into numbers it sure sounds like a lot of lost money!
I have never heard of a  consortium report, what is it and how can i get access to one?

rhb:
It *is* a lot of lost money if you stretch a PhD out for 10 years.  That's why I didn't even consider going to Stanford.  I'd have been starting over in a typically 6 years program.

Money to fund PhD students often comes from multicompany consortia.  Each company pays $35-50K/yr to fund the consortium.  In return they typically get access to the student work 2 years before it is published. And naturally bring the people they are interested in as summer interns. In reflection seismology almost all the money comes from industry consortia.

Here are some I worked with:

http://sep.stanford.edu/doku.php

https://cwp.mines.edu/

https://srb.stanford.edu/

SEP is king of the heap, but the others are not far behind.  The consortium I worked for at Austin was called SEER, but it did not last long.  Very few consortia last as long as the ones I listed above.  SEP has been around for 45 years.  Lots of consortia only last long enough to turn out 3-4 PhDs

Here's another.  I know all the principals well, but never attended the meetings.  I met them at the annual meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists which I attended almost every year.  I missed 3 in 28 years.  But I've only gone to a couple in the last 10.

https://www.delphi-consortium.com/

You should be able to locate consortia in your field by going to the department pages in your field and looking at research being done there.

An economical way to interview multiple professors and their students in a single trip would be to go to a major IEEE meeting.  Student registration is cheap at least for SEG.  I've never been to an IEEE meeting.

Here's the list:

https://www.ieee.org/conferences/index.html

then find out which meetings professors of interest are attending.

trys11:

--- Quote from: rhb on January 14, 2019, 11:22:41 am ---It *is* a lot of lost money if you stretch a PhD out for 10 years.  That's why I didn't even consider going to Stanford.  I'd have been starting over in a typically 6 years program.

Money to fund PhD students often comes from multicompany consortia.  Each company pays $35-50K/yr to fund the consortium.  In return they typically get access to the student work 2 years before it is published. And naturally bring the people they are interested in as summer interns. In reflection seismology almost all the money comes from industry consortia.

Here are some I worked with:

http://sep.stanford.edu/doku.php

https://cwp.mines.edu/
Once again thanks a lot for all this useful information!

https://srb.stanford.edu/

SEP is king of the heap, but the others are not far behind.  The consortium I worked for at Austin was called SEER, but it did not last long.  Very few consortia last as long as the ones I listed above.  SEP has been around for 45 years.  Lots of consortia only last long enough to turn out 3-4 PhDs

Here's another.  I know all the principals well, but never attended the meetings.  I met them at the annual meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists which I attended almost every year.  I missed 3 in 28 years.  But I've only gone to a couple in the last 10.

https://www.delphi-consortium.com/

You should be able to locate consortia in your field by going to the department pages in your field and looking at research being done there.

An economical way to interview multiple professors and their students in a single trip would be to go to a major IEEE meeting.  Student registration is cheap at least for SEG.  I've never been to an IEEE meeting.

Here's the list:

https://www.ieee.org/conferences/index.html

then find out which meetings professors of interest are attending.



--- End quote ---
I probably did something wrong and my answer did not appear so i will edit.
Thanks once more for your answer and overall input, i will check out any consortium reports of any potential supervisor carefully also ieee conferences and meetings are a good idea. Thanks !

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