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Topic: choosing PhD topic  (Read 7407 times)

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Offline Corribus

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Re: choosing PhD topic
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2016, 11:56:13 AM »
Did any one you completely change the area of chemistry they work in? How did it go?
I've changed my area of interest (dramatically) multiple times. I started out in computational chemistry, then switched to inorganic chemistry when I went into grad school. Ended up doing mostly time resolved spectroscopy for my PhD work, with a little bit of synthesis to prove to myself I have no interest in it. :D For post-doc I went to nanomaterials and microscopy for two years. Then I completely lost my senses and now work with composite plastics, environmental science, and packaging for my full time job (not in academia). There is a small link between each of these steps so that it's not quite so illogical as it sounds, but still each time it required me to abandon a lot of what I already considered myself an expert in and learn something completely new. The down side is that you feel like you are starting over again a lot and you may start to have the reputation of a jack of all trades (and a master of... well you know). But on the other hand you'll find it makes you a very well-rounded scientist, continually keeps things fresh and interesting - and you'll be surprised how often those old skills prove useful in areas you didn't think it was possible.

Personally, I like reinventing myself every now and then. For the same reason, it's good to move to a new house every few years. Let's you get rid of all that junk you've accumulated over time. It's how you stay young and invigorated.  ;D
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

Offline Borek

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Re: choosing PhD topic
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2016, 01:59:02 PM »
you'll be surprised how often those old skills prove useful in areas you didn't think it was possible.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have a larger set of tools, you start recognizing shapes those with hammer only won't ever see ;)
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Offline kriggy

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Re: choosing PhD topic
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2016, 11:23:12 AM »
Hi guys, I have another question for you, more experienced chemist:

What can I expect from interview?
I was talking to the professor briefly I would like to do my phd with and I was invited for interview. Well Im not sure what to expect. I have general idea what the group is doing and how the chemistry works but realisticaly, I am not able to have like a deep discussion about the topic. What was your experience with phd interview? Also is there anything I could do except reading some more papers to improve my understanding of the chemistry they are doing?

Offline Corribus

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Re: choosing PhD topic
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2016, 12:09:59 PM »
It's as much for you as for him. You should ask him directly what kind of expectations he has of his graduate students, how much oversight he has over your project, whether you can apply for independent funding, etc. More importantly, while you are there talk to people in his lab and get their perspective. Your goal is to find out not only if the research is interesting to you, but whether the environment is a good match to your personality and work style.
What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?  - Richard P. Feynman

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