The Most Useful Publications

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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WontonBurritoMeals
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:43 pm

The Most Useful Publications

Postby WontonBurritoMeals » Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:43 am

Here's a question that is sort of important. Do the commitees actually read your publications? If not, then is it better to have a lot of really bad publications, or a few really good ones? Or is the author # and journal prestigue the only real judge?

Or do they just expect you to talk about your research experience in your personal statement?

Since no one has ever heard of my school, and my grades kind of suck (3.8 Physics/3.6 Overall), I'm pretty much going to have to rely on having lots of research experience to get into a good school. I feel like I'm capable of doing independant research @ least if I have the time to, but obviously that's a real gamble.

I feel like strong independant research @ the very least SHOULD be able to get you into a good graduate school by itself since you've basically proven that you can do what you're supposed to be trained to do in grad. school for, achieving results.

The problem is that this forum doesn't really have many applicants with weaker applications (like mine) with publications. Most of the people with publications have been really sucessful but they usually have strong backgrounds too.

I know the importance of having a strong well-rounded application blah blah, A-'s are horrible etc. etc. but I'm just wondering about this point. It seems like I have a few options for research directions. In fact, I can easilly fill up all of my time with different opportunities so it's time to start descriminating. I don't mean to just ask this question for my situation, but to be useful for other posters as well. I don't think this quesiton has been asked before so maybe helping me will be adding something to the forum.

May the wind be always at your back,
-Wonton Burrito Meals

tiyusufaly
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Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:49 pm

Re: The Most Useful Publications

Postby tiyusufaly » Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:53 am

my grades kind of suck (3.8 Physics/3.6 Overall)


Is that really a bad GPA? I don't know, I'm just wondering, it seems pretty good to me.

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WontonBurritoMeals
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Re: The Most Useful Publications

Postby WontonBurritoMeals » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:40 pm

State school.

May the wind be always at your back,
-The Living Alchemist

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Helio
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Re: The Most Useful Publications

Postby Helio » Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:07 pm

well you have better gpa then i do but then again my class size averages around 6 and some profs are let me put it this way sticklers when it comes to grades (35% in the class is C and 78% is a B+ and only an A no A-). a publication is good, but it depends on the journal and what it is. i mean i have read stuff about data reduction using Excel (i know fascinating).. i mean good shots are always APL or some specialized journal. PRL and those are hard to get to per se

Juston
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Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 6:15 pm

Re: The Most Useful Publications

Postby Juston » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:24 pm

I'm in a similar boat, but with much lower grades at a UC (3.28), and a 600 on my first PGRE attempt. I'm hoping to get a publication (hopefully with a much better PGRE score by October), but it all depends on the results of my research.

It's good to get a publication, but depending on type of research, it may be difficult to get one. I got close to having a paper ready for publication, but the "nice" result that I got was due to errors in the computer code and I was back at square one. Then again, I'm extremely lucky to have the research opportunity that I have in cosmology, so I'm not complaining.

There are cases where the research may definitely lead to something publishable (some crazy examples would include developing a completely new algorithm for simulating gravitational N-body systems, or working on a giant experiment like the CMS detector at LHC). In most cases, it seems like the research is result-dependent.

By the way, if you're interested in theory, I suggest that you look for some opportunities in astrophysics. It seems like it's the best place for an undergraduate to take a crack at theory-related research, as there are (at least in my school) a lot of research projects accessible to undergraduates.

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metric
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Re: The Most Useful Publications

Postby metric » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:43 am

One semi-related question: I have a few publications, but some have my name on them together with the other 300 members of the collaboration that is building the experiment, so my participation in them goes really down. Should I add this important papers to my cv even though I haven't written a single word in them or just contributed with a couple of paragraphs?, or just put those where I've written a good portion of them and where my work is actually fundamental to the paper?.
I know that the full-author-list papers could give me a hand as some of them are in prestigious magazines (even 1 in Science), but I would be hard to prove to a committee what my involvement was in such a paper.
Thanks for comments and suggestions.




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