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Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:01 pm
by matonski
Is it common to do research under two different professors at the same time? Or is that not recommended?

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:25 pm
by Helio
matonski wrote:Is it common to do research under two different professors at the same time? Or is that not recommended?


Undergrad or grad? And full-time or part-time?

I mean I did that sort of on the side during one of my summer projects (VERY unfulfilling experience) because it was easy work endurance testing software on a cluster, as the grad student was busy writing software in the mean time. Get home and just send of a couple hundred jobs and see how they come back.

It is typically very uncommon because getting even one advisor can be hard at times. On the other hand, there are groups with two or more professors, so you might switch between them, if that is what you mean.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:58 pm
by matonski
Helio wrote:Undergrad or grad? And full-time or part-time?

I'm in a master's degree program right now and am helping one professor with his research (in relativistic quantum mechanics). He gives me independent side projects to work on. A second professor may be also looking for a student to help him in a similar manner (in computational physics). I'm debating whether or not to ask if I can help out. This professor also publishes much more frequently so I have more of a chance of appearing as an author in a publication.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:01 pm
by Helio
matonski wrote:
Helio wrote:Undergrad or grad? And full-time or part-time?

I'm in a master's degree program right now and am helping one professor with his research (in relativistic quantum mechanics). He gives me independent side projects to work on. A second professor may be also looking for a student to help him in a similar manner (in computational physics). I'm debating whether or not to ask if I can help out. This professor also publishes much more frequently so I have more of a chance of appearing as an author in a publication.


as in programming? simulations? i mean you need to see if you can handle it. if it is too much you might not be sleeping for a while

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:06 pm
by matonski
Simulations.

So I guess you're saying use common sense. If I have the time, why not? But make sure I have the time.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:34 pm
by Helio
matonski wrote:Simulations.

So I guess you're saying use common sense. If I have the time, why not? But make sure I have the time.


I mean it just shows that you are hard worker and can handle your time properly. Problem is that time is the factor here.

I mean simulations can be "easy" per se... set up code... submit to cluster... burn a couple nodes... done. The problem is if you have to write your own code, etc. or have to do anything else outside of just running the simulations with some idea what you want to get. Writing code and scripting can take forever (i know people in particle physics that spend 2 years on Monte Carlo and 1 year on real data, just because he had to write his own code or 3 postdocs spending 3 years writing DAQ code and it still doesn't work), esp. when your server admins aren't the brightest in the bunch (different servers use different shells, etc.) and dealing with these people can take FOREVER as well (I sometimes want to kill the IT department, just blow it up and rebuild it), so if you can handle the work. it is a great thing to have on your CV, but if you will fail at it it might hurt you badly.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:47 pm
by matonski
Helio wrote:but if you will fail at it it might hurt you badly.

How would it hurt, exactly? How will grad schools know to count it against you if you were not productive? Will it be the lack of a recommendation from the professor supervising the research? I'm not planning on failing, obviously. Just curious.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 9:49 pm
by tmc
If the professors feel that by splitting your time, you're equally unproductive to both, they'll both write you not-great letters.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:01 pm
by Helio
tmc wrote:If the professors feel that by splitting your time, you're equally unproductive to both, they'll both write you not-great letters.


or you do great in one and the other is just complete BS you will get the one good letter and one well so-so letter, so there is the question what the committee will listen to... usually the negative because they are looking for pros and cons. And honestly it looks odd when you get a good letter and one that says you are unproductive

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:08 am
by rohit
matonski wrote:
Helio wrote:but if you will fail at it it might hurt you badly.

How would it hurt, exactly? How will grad schools know to count it against you if you were not productive? Will it be the lack of a recommendation from the professor supervising the research? I'm not planning on failing, obviously. Just curious.


A related question - can postdocs give reccos? I did a project with a post doc, but wont a Prof's recco count for more? Or will they expect one from my postdoc guide? I will be getting one from a Prof i am currently doing research with.

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:55 pm
by Helio
rohit wrote:
matonski wrote:
Helio wrote:but if you will fail at it it might hurt you badly.

How would it hurt, exactly? How will grad schools know to count it against you if you were not productive? Will it be the lack of a recommendation from the professor supervising the research? I'm not planning on failing, obviously. Just curious.


A related question - can postdocs give reccos? I did a project with a post doc, but wont a Prof's recco count for more? Or will they expect one from my postdoc guide? I will be getting one from a Prof i am currently doing research with.

get the postdoc to write the letter and let the prof sign it, simple as that

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:13 pm
by rohit
huh ? :?

Re: Research - More than one concurrently?

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:03 pm
by Helio
You tell the postdoc to write a letter of rec and basically let him and the prof sign it, so they know the prof endorses the post docs opinion