Two at the same time?

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irockhard
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Two at the same time?

Postby irockhard » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:52 pm

Is it a good idea to do two researches concurrently with two different professors in the summer? I am working for one of the professors (Prof. A) right now and I want to continue what I am doing through the summer. I also kind of promised the other professor (Prof. B) that I will join her group in the summer before I made the decision to continue my research for Prof.A in the summer. I am genuinely interested in both researches. Another complicating factor is that Prof. B can pay me while Prof.A can't. I am thinking about spending 60% of my time with B and the rest with A. What do you guys think? I am currently a junior so this is my last summer in college.

a bucket
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby a bucket » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:00 pm

The title of the thread sounded a lot kinkier before I read the actual post.

Imperate
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby Imperate » Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:34 pm

Disappointing, even the OP's name had an element of suggestion :lol:

alkemas
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby alkemas » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:21 pm

Ok.....

I suggest you pick one. When you do research you need time, dedication, and concentration. If money is an issue and you want to stay with the one that cannot pay you, see if you university has programs from which you can get funding, and/or do an independent study course and try to get financial aid or do work study with them. Also, promising and not following up makes you unreliable. So you should really try to resolve this as soon as possible.

Two at the same time is a bad idea in this case.

Oh, and I recommend trying to go outside of your home institution and doing an REU (I'm guessing you are an undergrad)

alkemas
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby alkemas » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:22 pm

oops. just read the last line there. suppose you cant do an REU.

shetanak13
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby shetanak13 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:24 am

Are the two research groups similar or are they in different fields? Would you consider staying in both for the fall? If not, then I say it's worth spending your summer dedicating much of your time to both, especially if you're not taking classes.
I work with two different professors right now, and they have different work environments with different tasks. One of the research groups has me consistently working on data analysis, while in the other group I perform random lab tasks.
By being a part of these two groups I have been able to discover what my interests are and focus from there for my grad school search, and, thus, I do not regret being a part of both groups.

So, I think based on your potential interests and the possible tasks you will be assigned, as well as how long you plan on being with both groups, perhaps it might be beneficial for you to be a part of both groups.

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dlenmn
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:00 am

Working for two profs at once? Good luck with that!

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Helio
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby Helio » Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:55 pm

So a week has 168 hours, so you want spend 67.2 with one prof and the rest with the other? Because that is what will happen at some point.... i remember working for a prof that did not know the word thank you for 2 weeks straight (well the post doc knew the word, so it was okayish.... *** metal evaporator)

Are the research areas even remotely related?

irockhard
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby irockhard » Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:02 pm

My reasoning is that it's not like I haven't been taking classes while doing research at the same time during the semester anyway. So would it really be a problem that I do two researches at once in the summer when that's the only thing I will be doing.

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dlenmn
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:13 pm

The research you get done while taking classes is mickey mouse stuff compared to what you get done when you're working full time. If you try this, I think you'll prove to yourself that to do two big tasks at once is to do neither, and you'll just do twice as much mickey mouse work.

Have you talked to the two profs about your plan? Especially the one who would be paying you? My guess is they'll think it's a foolish idea too.

Moreover, if you promised that you would join a group for pay, then I doubt the prof thought you were offering a 60% commitment.

excel
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby excel » Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:20 pm

If you want to apply to graduate school, you should probably try to maximize the chances of authorship on a publication--a publication submitted by the time that you apply to graduate schools this December. I think that should be the key to your decision.

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dlenmn
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:10 pm

Well, it depends on where your name shows up. I think sticking with one group might increase the chance of being a first author, but doubling up may increase the chance of being an author while hurting chances for being first author. The former is worth more than the latter, which complicates the calculus. See this handy reference guide.

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a13ean
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby a13ean » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:58 pm

Join one. I split my time one summer and it was a real hassle. One project turned out to be a total dead-end and it just took away time I could have done good work on the other with.

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noojens
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby noojens » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:23 am

Ayup. Focus on one project and rock it. Get a paper to show for your time investment :)

irockhard
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby irockhard » Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:46 pm

Here is the dilemma that I am facing with these two professors and which makes it difficult for me to just forgo one and stick with the other one.

With Professor A, I have a 35-50% chance of publishing a paper. I guess I wasn't being completely honest when I said before that I was genuinely interested in both researches. Prof. A is only a research assistant professor who works under the umbrella of a full professor (whom I don't know well at all). So he doesn't get any funding or has any group working under him. Basically he's a one man team. I am the only guy working for him. And the research I am doing now for him is also pretty much most of the research he's doing. I used to find the subject matter pretty interesting. Although I have to admit the research is in a fairly obscure field and can get quite monotonous sometimes: the project has yet required me to put into a significant amount of critical thinking or original insight (that can change, I don't know though). However, Prof.A has a very nice record of publishing papers with his undergrads in very respected journals, to an extent due to the fact there are only him and the undergrad on the team and the field of the subject matter is not very competitive (my reasoning, could be wrong).

With Professor B, I will have pretty much a 0% chance of publishing a paper. Also she has never published a paper with an undergrad. But She is a very accomplished young professor with quite a big research group (~9 people). The field of her research topics is quite a popular one and very competitive. And she's well respected in this field. I don't know exactly what kind of project I will be doing for her, it could be building apparatus or actually digging the science or both (I hope it's the latter two). But from what I heard from her, the project can be pretty exciting and will most likely require both hard labor and thinking. One thing that's certain is that research with Prof.B will be much more independent compared to working with Prof. A, who constantly supervises what I am doing.

In summary, Prof. A is very much unknown and does relatively obscure research but I got a shot of publishing a paper. Prof B. is much more well known and does research which I find quite exciting in an area that's much more pursued that Prof. A's. The drawback is that I have no chance of publishing.

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zxcv
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby zxcv » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:48 am

Why don't you talk with Prof B before assuming that you have no chance of publishing work you would do with her? It's definitely true that some professors have better records of publishing with undergrads, but if you work hard and a make significant contributions to research I see no reason why you would not have a chance at publication with her as well.

In my opinion, it's better to work with the person doing more respected and valued work, as evidenced by her large research team and funding. Her letter of recommendation will likely carry more weight, even if your work does not end in a publication -- something that you're not guaranteed in either case. I would focus on working extremely hard and doing on the best science and let everything else follow from that.

Prof B did not offer you a paid position to share with another researcher, so really it's a moot point. Prof A will understand. The other advantage of working with Prof B is that it will give you a different research experience and another letter writer. I think that's worth it, too.

irockhard
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby irockhard » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:41 am

zxcv wrote:Prof B did not offer you a paid position to share with another researcher, so really it's a moot point. Prof A will understand.


But Prof B. pays me by the hour, $8/hr to be exact, as every one else does in the department. She wouldn't pay for the hours I work for the other professor if I do.

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zxcv
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby zxcv » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:30 pm

irockhard wrote:
zxcv wrote:Prof B did not offer you a paid position to share with another researcher, so really it's a moot point. Prof A will understand.


But Prof B. pays me by the hour, $8/hr to be exact, as every one else does in the department. She wouldn't pay for the hours I work for the other professor if I do.

Okay, but do you really want to be earning less less than $1600/month? Your call, I guess. Anyways, I would still definitely check it over with both profs before you consider doing this.

irockhard
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby irockhard » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:09 am

So I have learned today what kind of work I will be doing for Professor B. I will be making samples (carbon nanotubes) and taking electrical measurements on them. Since the work involves several sophisticated experimental procedures, such as AFM, SEM, evaporation... i will have to get trained on these techniques first, which can take a few weeks. The project will largely be a repetition of these procedures, cycles of making samples, taking measurements, making more samples and taking the same measurements again. The goal is to get enough data for the grad student's analysis, who might use it in his potential paper. So as you can see, the project can become a little tedius and quite time consuming: in addition to several weeks of training in the beginning, each procedure in each cycle can also take days. My eight weeks of work in the summer will probably just get me started on taking some data, let alone getting anywhere close to doing anything publishable.

So there is no possible way now that I can do two researches this summer. It's either Prof B or Prof A this summer. Would you guys still recommend B even if the chance of publication with Prof A is almost a sure bet or +70%

excel
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Re: Two at the same time?

Postby excel » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:00 am

Do you have a sense of what research you may do for your PhD? In your personal statement, would you be able to relate the work (even though it is obscure) you are doing with Prof. A to your PhD research interests?




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