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  #401  
Old 17.12.2007, 19:17
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Brilliant! I had this crazy physics professor from South Africa in college, coupled with a genius TA who made his own Tesla coils. Now that was a great demonstration.

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You can wear a faraday suit

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  #402  
Old 17.12.2007, 20:11
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Increase the humidity in your apartment. This has the effect of reducing static.

Here are some other tips that may help

dave
Aye, we've been having a spot of bother with the lack of humidity in the lab. It makes our very sensitive balances go a bit funny, which in turn completely screws my magnetism measurements, which rely on a very accurate weight measurement to start with. I only found out this was a problem two weeks ago when a pile of results were a bit wrong. The dryness allows static charge to build up and this is what shags the balance. It got so bad the other week, I got a shock off of the metal casing. We now have to keep a small vial of water in the casing of the balance.
Grrrr.
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Old 17.12.2007, 21:03
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Very useful. I'll keep it in mind.

As for humidity - I saw some very cool fountains in the Vatter garden store (near Rubigen)... might have to get one of those. Guess that's not such a hot idea in a lab though.

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  #404  
Old 17.12.2007, 21:21
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Problem with all those devious methods is getting back on track after the neighbours have gone. Why not keep the mood going and invite the neighbours upstairs for a foursome.
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  #405  
Old 17.12.2007, 21:32
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Problem with all those devious methods is getting back on track after the neighbours have gone. Why not keep the mood going and invite the neighbours upstairs for a foursome.
they might say yes!
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  #406  
Old 17.12.2007, 21:58
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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they might say yes!
What better way to get to know them.
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  #407  
Old 18.12.2007, 00:43
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Arrgh! The ####ing dissertation. What an absolute torment that was. The final months before submitting it are still a blur to me.
...don't...even...mention... the .... ^&&*%#@%...dissertation.....
I still cannot say what was worse - whether writing, submitting, the admission to public defense procedure, preparing the defense or the actual defense per se.... i still get shivers and anxiety attacks just by remembering those obscure days, and it took me 2 years to pull myself together and be able to go back to the Uni and collect the diploma. Mind you, that was one of those moments as well.... You spend a considerable lot of time, money and effort, and at the end you get a little roll of paper with the name of the King of Spain and the Emeritus Rector bigger than yours... not even a can to put the roll inside... And it was for all this that i let go of 3 years of my life???? Anyway, anyway, i divert....
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  #408  
Old 18.12.2007, 00:57
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Deviation, hesitation and repetition.
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  #409  
Old 18.12.2007, 01:09
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Re: Ask a Scientist

A PhD is an irreproducible moment in a life time. Maybe in another reincarnation.....
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  #410  
Old 18.12.2007, 12:58
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Oh, the torture that lies ahead of me for the next few months....I'll fortify myself with chocolate, espresso, and beer....
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  #411  
Old 18.12.2007, 13:02
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I probably shouldn't admit to this but after I finished actually writing my thesis and was in the process of formatting it into the insanely annoying format required by the graduate school (blech, 400 pages) I just began drinking Prosecco at around noonish, most days.

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Oh, the torture that lies ahead of me for the next few months....I'll fortify myself with chocolate, espresso, and beer....
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  #412  
Old 19.12.2007, 01:17
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Why is it that certain journals will reject a paper on very small technicalities without a chance to correct them, yet will publish any old crap by someone well-known? Even when there's mistakes that are howlingly obvious even to me?
And does anyone else agree that peer-reviewing is done mainly by post-docs whose supervisors pass the papers on to them?

Oh, and what can you do if you've worked on a paper and the main author doesn't put you on the paper?
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  #413  
Old 19.12.2007, 01:50
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Why is it that certain journals will reject a paper on very small technicalities without a chance to correct them, yet will publish any old crap by someone well-known? Even when there's mistakes that are howlingly obvious even to me?
And does anyone else agree that peer-reviewing is done mainly by post-docs whose supervisors pass the papers on to them?

Oh, and what can you do if you've worked on a paper and the main author doesn't put you on the paper?
Isn't there blind review? Is it more common in social science? (although you can often identify the author).

My husband complains all the time about the number of papers he has to review - he doesn't have postdocs, so he does them himself...again, social sciences.

That last thing sucks. It's unethical. I'd hope that behavior comes back to haunt the author...but I know that it doesn't always work out that way.

e.
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  #414  
Old 19.12.2007, 02:20
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Well, post-docs don't exist to do the work for professors, well at least in the area I work in. Honestly, I'm a little offended that that is your impression of what post-docs do.

Peer review in chemistry (which is most of my experience which is why I preface it why I do) consists of 1) authors submitting the paper (authorship is itself another topic but if you do a significant portion of the work, write it, or add something to it that requires specific trained skill, which in itself is debatable, whooo, long topic)

2) The journal anonymously sending the paper out to, generally, 3-4 unknown reviewers. (but yes, you can sometimes figure out who it is, cause you know who does similar work to you)

3) Reviews coming back in. The acceptance depends upon: a bunch of things, who the reviewers were, the knowledge of the editor, the criticism of the reviewers, amongst a bunch of other things. It can be a long complicated process that is not simple, is definitely subject to review, can require a lot of time etc. etc. etc. There is more but I don't feel like elaborating.

And as far as I know, at least in my experience, if someone is consistently used as a reviewer it often means he has an unbiased opinion and is respected in his field. Why your husband complains about that, I don't know. Maybe he went into the wrong field?

Sorry ColonelBoris, but it sounds like you just had a paper rejected upon grounds you don't feel to be correct?

Doesn't that happen to everyone in their scientific career at some point?

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Isn't there blind review? Is it more common in social science? (although you can often identify the author).

My husband complains all the time about the number of papers he has to review - he doesn't have postdocs, so he does them himself...again, social sciences.

That last thing sucks. It's unethical. I'd hope that behavior comes back to haunt the author...but I know that it doesn't always work out that way.

e.
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  #415  
Old 19.12.2007, 02:39
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Sorry ColonelBoris, but it sounds like you just had a paper rejected upon grounds you don't feel to be correct?

Doesn't that happen to everyone in their scientific career at some point?
I've been looking into a few things lately for different projects and there is some real guff out there. It just amazes me how a lot of the stuff in the field I'm in doesn't appear to have been checked by anyone, even the people who wrote it.

When i was a pg, we had a few papers rejected over really petty things and yet they were publishing papers that were very similar a couple of months later. We did find out what it was about, especially when the wording all started sounding very familiar and when I finally met the guy, I could tell it was him and everything clicked into place.
The other paper was one where I did the magnetism for a friend's Ph.D project. I did a couple of treatments of the data with various points about suitability and vailidity of models, along with the values obtained from fits to the data, which he put in his thesis with a note saying I had done that. His supervisor has been since cutting and pasting his thesis for papers and not passing anything by anyone involved, so no-one gets to point out the mistakes. As it is, the magnetic work I did has appeared in the paper with all the values, but none of the commentary and as such looks a bit crap, yet it got into Dalton Trans. If he'd bothered to ask, a) I could have done a better job of modelling the data and b) made a much better write-up. In a way, I'm quite glad I'm not on it, but still p***ed off as I wouldn't have minded a Dalton...
I've now got a problem where the stuff I did for my Ph.D is slowly being picked off by other groups because my old supervisor is sitting on things and refusing to answer any emails when I send drafts of papers to him. I lost out on a compound that ended up in bloody Angewandte, for crying out loud. The paper was finished and ready to go, but he never did it and we got stuffed.
I might transfer this to the RRRAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!! thread...
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Old 19.12.2007, 09:04
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Well, post-docs don't exist to do the work for professors, well at least in the area I work in. Honestly, I'm a little offended that that is your impression of what post-docs do.
Unfortunately, there are some professors out there who see postdocs as exactly that. I've seen it, but was lucky enough to not experience it personally.

While most professors have postdocs around for the right reason (although some occasional work for the profs cannot be completely avoided), some like to have them around as slightly-more-qualified-than-a-student underlings. While this is great for getting the prof's article count up, the department of course suffers in the long run.
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Old 19.12.2007, 10:12
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Well, post-docs don't exist to do the work for professors, well at least in the area I work in. Honestly, I'm a little offended that that is your impression of what post-docs do.

And as far as I know, at least in my experience, if someone is consistently used as a reviewer it often means he has an unbiased opinion and is respected in his field. Why your husband complains about that, I don't know. Maybe he went into the wrong field?

Sorry ColonelBoris, but it sounds like you just had a paper rejected upon grounds you don't feel to be correct?

Doesn't that happen to everyone in their scientific career at some point?
Tsk, tsk. I should have phrased this more carefully, but it was late. It's not my impression of what post-docs do. Nor would my husband use post-docs for this purpose if he had them. Post-docs are there to further develop into attractive prospects for faculty positions, or to learn new research skills. They are colleagues rather than students. I'm sure there are other reasons to be a post-doc as well.

The publication process is pretty much the same across disciplines. Very often editors will send papers to referees who have reliably done similar papers in the past. But it does lead to an inequal distribution. Once you are established with a busy research agenda, teaching, students and service, it can be more of a burden than an honor. It is time consuming to do in a thoughtful manner, and not all papers sent your way are stellar. I think the individuals ColonelBoris was speaking about clearly feel that way if they are pushing the work onto post-docs.
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  #418  
Old 19.12.2007, 10:14
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I've been looking into a few things lately for different projects and there is some real guff out there. It just amazes me how a lot of the stuff in the field I'm in doesn't appear to have been checked by anyone, even the people who wrote it.

When i was a pg, we had a few papers rejected over really petty things and yet they were publishing papers that were very similar a couple of months later. We did find out what it was about, especially when the wording all started sounding very familiar and when I finally met the guy, I could tell it was him and everything clicked into place.
The other paper was one where I did the magnetism for a friend's Ph.D project. I did a couple of treatments of the data with various points about suitability and vailidity of models, along with the values obtained from fits to the data, which he put in his thesis with a note saying I had done that. His supervisor has been since cutting and pasting his thesis for papers and not passing anything by anyone involved, so no-one gets to point out the mistakes. As it is, the magnetic work I did has appeared in the paper with all the values, but none of the commentary and as such looks a bit crap, yet it got into Dalton Trans. If he'd bothered to ask, a) I could have done a better job of modelling the data and b) made a much better write-up. In a way, I'm quite glad I'm not on it, but still p***ed off as I wouldn't have minded a Dalton...
I've now got a problem where the stuff I did for my Ph.D is slowly being picked off by other groups because my old supervisor is sitting on things and refusing to answer any emails when I send drafts of papers to him. I lost out on a compound that ended up in bloody Angewandte, for crying out loud. The paper was finished and ready to go, but he never did it and we got stuffed.
I might transfer this to the RRRAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!!! thread...
That sucks, massively unfair. This guy should want you to do well. If you've got more to go out, can you bypass this guy, or just copy him and say "I've sent it to X."
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  #419  
Old 19.12.2007, 10:19
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Re: Ask a Scientist

PhDs in the main, papers and most other things in academia are done via the big brother network. I've seen a couple of PhD theses not worth the paper they are printed on and seen one awarded to a colleague who even my own professor was amazed to see it awarded. I'm afraid you just have to play the game or get out (as I did).
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Old 19.12.2007, 12:27
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I've always made sure to choose my advisors for just as much as their personal reputation as their quality of science. When I made my decision to go with my current advisor, pretty much everyone I talked to said "Oh, I love him, what a great guy" and his science is stellar, ta-boot.

I know sh*t things happen in academia and there are advisors who take advantage of their students/post docs/etc but not everyone out there is like that and there are some really stand-up people in chemistry. However, you're gonna get a--holes in every field, everywhere.

However, if I were in ColonelBoris's position, I'd be flaming pissed too. The accounts of what has happened sound completely f-ed.

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Unfortunately, there are some professors out there who see postdocs as exactly that. I've seen it, but was lucky enough to not experience it personally.

While most professors have postdocs around for the right reason (although some occasional work for the profs cannot be completely avoided), some like to have them around as slightly-more-qualified-than-a-student underlings. While this is great for getting the prof's article count up, the department of course suffers in the long run.
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