Dropping a Project

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YodaT
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 2:01 am

Dropping a Project

Postby YodaT » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:00 am

I currently have a dilemma I'm faced with:

So, this summer I did research at an a REU program at a really good school. It was a theory project I worked on and I did well enough that my REU advisor recommended I continue the project at my home institute. All was great and I was happy knowing I impressed this famous theorist.

Yet, coming home no one at my school was willing to assist me on the project (they regarded it as "our" own project). My advisor (after being hassled by my REU advisor and his graduate student about the revision of a paper he submitted over the summer) also wanted nothing to do with the project. I got good results last semester and emailed my REU advisor and he seemed satisfied, but... I found an error in my results (a fundamental error from an expression I was suppose to work with, without being told where it came from). So, after weeks of trying to find other errors I emailed my REU advisor regarding this flaw... it's been a month and he hasn't responded. With me being an undergrad he could at least do what he was suppose to do over the summer... which is "advise".

In all honesty I am a (very) rebellious person. I was given very little contact time with this researcher at the REU program (a not too surprising story for this REU program) and was given a tabletop cubicle and crappy chair to work in (never given the keys to the desk). I've been very modest about all of this with me barely completing my 2nd year in physics that summer and thinking this is what theorist go through... but now I'm pushed to the edge b/c the guy is not responding to my emails. Something tells me I should just drop this project. I already have a publication in process with my current advisor (on a different project)... I've attended conferences and have gained recognition thanks to this other project. If I scrap the project from the REU program I have no idea how I'd be able to get a letter of rec (he's already ignored a request to send letter of recs for simple REU programs for this summer :roll: )... but he is pretty famous in the field.

Also, I've been invited to do research at another school this summer (not an REU program), and the guy there is a well-recognized theorist. I'll even be given space in a real office :) . Something tells me I'll be able to impress him and his graduate student... maybe even get a publishable pre-print in the 3 months I'll have over summer.

Time is really running short on popping out paper(s)... I haven't even reviewed for the PGRE :oops: . My dream was to get 2 accepted papers by December... all that seems impossible now. REU programs suck :evil: ... they overpay (a waist of NSF's money) and hardly give tangible results. I have no idea if I should just abandon this project, but if I do decide to go to graduate school and continue on in physics I'll always have this history of an abandoned project... that's gonna give me nightmares :cry: .

CarlBrannen
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Re: Dropping a Project

Postby CarlBrannen » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:07 pm

Before you give up on contacting this guy, first make sure you're using a ".edu" email address as sometimes people add spam filters which eliminate all the .com emails, second make sure he's actually using that email address: call him up.

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HappyQuark
Posts: 762
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Dropping a Project

Postby HappyQuark » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:18 pm

As the great modern philosopher Snoop Doggy Dogg once said, "If your research supervisor get's an attitude, drop your project like it's hot..... drop it like it's hot!"

negru
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:49 pm

Re: Dropping a Project

Postby negru » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:05 pm

he probably just gave you a bullshit formula to get you busy and now that you realized that he's like *** he's on to me, better pretend i don't exist.

how could you not know where the expression came from anyway?

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YodaT
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Dropping a Project

Postby YodaT » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:25 pm

negru wrote:he probably just gave you a bullshit formula to get you busy and now that you realized that he's like *** he's on to me, better pretend i don't exist.

how could you not know where the expression came from anyway?


First- It wouldn't surprise me if REU advisors give students BS material to work with... don't they get some boost in their group funding for taking on REU students? But, the guy doesn't strike me as that kind of guy... he's too well-known in the field to take such gambles.

Second- I don't know where the expression came from b/c it was just given to me (no derivation... just some half-a*$'ed argument for the expression in an environment I'm not working in from some guy who butchered a similar project). I know analogous expressions, but... I really don't have the experience or required coursework (much of the deeper aspects of the project is graduate-level material). And if I didn't overload on upper-level physics/math courses this semester, have to prepare for upcoming talks, and have to work on getting this other paper out, then I'd probably have time to teach myself the material (which is what I had to do over the summer).




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