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
)... 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
. My dream was to get 2 accepted papers by December... all that seems impossible now. REU programs suck
... 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