Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lab Timings?

I have a question:

Do you require your students to be in the lab at certain times? If yes, what is your policy?

For me my advisor was very open to timings. He never required us to be in the lab at any of the hours.

However, we were always there.

My students however, decide not to show up. They show up whenever they want. This bother me. I am not sure why. I think I feel they are not working when they are not in the lab.

However, I am in the lab all the time since my office is right in the lab.

Shouldn't the students putting in more efforts to get ahead in the research game and may be impress their professor?

Got Grants, Tenure, New department

Yes, I know I have been dearly missed ! but I am back

To start:
1) joined a new department which is more prestigious (research wise)
2) got two major grants from two prestigious venues (and hence number 1 was accomplished)
3) have been trying to set up the new lab. Some of my students are here with me. Others decided to remain in the previous department to complete their degrees.

4) and I got TENURE ! and was transferred to the new department.

Looks like I am in the ivory tower and am here to stay...hehehe

More later

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I have a meeting with furniture man !

My grad student barges in my office without an appointment.

Student: "I have some research stuff to discuss with you"
Me: "I have a class in 10 minutes."
Student: "Can I come after that?"
Me: "I am chairing a panel for blah blah at the other side of the campus. I will be done by 230ish"
Student: "But I have a appointment with furniture sales dealer at that time"

Me: "Cant help you much there. Lets try tomorrow then?"

Me (in my head): "So you want me to cancel the panel then that I have been preperaring for the past two weeks and meet with you instead? ;~"

I dont remember being this obnoxious when I was a grad student. Being an undergrad was a different story.

Life is amusing. I am in a good mood today.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Conference and Travels

I am travelling right now for a large conferences in my field. This is one of the big ones and we have 2 paper accepted in this conference. Both of them have associated talks with them so I am really excited about this.

I also get to see the large urban city and I am loving it. Both me and my wife are large urban people and we absolutely love it when we are in big cities.

Conferences are good. I get to see a lot of science and a lot of people that I may recognize. What I do not like is how I may know some one (and naive enough to tell them that I know them; I am good with faces and can recall people well) but they give me a blank stare. I then have to tell them the context where we have met, interacted with AND worked on. I am not sure if this is normal? or am I just good at faces/names and perhaps not all the people are that good at it.

I am just loving the energy of this place which is definitely missing from my small city where I am employed. I am grateful and would love to get tenure at that place. But my gut tells me that one day I will make the move from that small city to a larger urban city with millions of people. I just suck energy from large urban centers (both for my personal and professional life) and just love it.

Gotta go now. My battery is dying.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Insults to a Young Professor

Over the past few weeks I have been working vigorously with my students. These are most MS and PhD students and I have guiding them through various levels of academic research and publishing according to their stage of education.

But for some reason I keep on getting insulted. Few are the experts from some of the "insults" that I have had in the past few weeks.

I know youngling can be clueless - and they might do it in ignorance - and they might not mean it.

That does not mean that it is not an insults - or that it is not hurtful - especially since I care about my students a lot.

Observation 1

PhD student 1 is doing a summer research at a prestigious national lab. The lab does the same kind of work in the same subfield. I know the PI's work and have criticized it in the grant proposals. I have a prestigious career award in that subfield now (aka I am known in the sub field and have recived multiple grants in this sub field).

 -- student: I am sure that the PI in that national lab does not know about you or your work but I think we should collaborate with them (which is fine with me but I am sure you got into the national lab summer program just because of my name. Coz you are a PhD student with 1 year of experience and no one knows you).

-- The same student now postponed a tele conference meeting two times telling me that he is busy traveling. Today I got his email saying that I can call him today since he has time today (without actually thinking or acknowledging that I might be tensy bit busy?)

Observation 2

When a new PhD student come in I generally introduce the student to a new subfield; show them the ropes and then give them 1 or 2 problems that they can work on and publish. This helps get the things running for them and keeps them motivated.

After they have worked on 2 or so sub-problems I ask them to come up with a 3rd problem (on their own) and then come up with a solution to such a problem. Meanwhile, I am their sounding board.

Today one of them came and told me she wants to work on a 3rd problem and want me to tell it to her. I told her that I gave you 2 problems (that she has not made any progress on and have not published anything) and you need to show progress. After that you will come up with the 3rd problem and I will help you.

Next thing she tells me is as follows "But I came up with the 2 problems and will come up with their solutions as well that you are referring to...".

She didn't knew...when she started with me that the particular sub-field existed. And ofcourse I had thought about the 2 problems that I "gave" her for a long time before I decided to put in MY "time", MY "resources", MY "money" and MY "energy" in to this.

Observation 3

This PhD students is about to graduate. He just told me: "that your name does not carry any weight when it comes to getting a paper published. You are young and not like other senior people ..."

Yes, I am young and I know that. But I am well accomplished in my field and have at least 10 years of research experience more than any of these PhD students. I have worked very very hard to reach this place.

Yes, I am young but I do deserve respect.

Yes, I am young and I demand respect.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Making a difference

I have been thinking lately of how to make a difference. You know in terms of research and its applications. I have been thinking how do people make a difference. For example in my field there is a professor who has over 22000 citations (yes you read it right) for a single paper. The tool described in the paper is novel and seems to work fine.


I also know that there are other tools in the same field that were novel (in their own time) and are conceptually sound and seems to work. So what gives?

I think some people can make such a difference which is also noticeable due to the following combination of circumstances. Some in their control and some not so much

1) Choice of a problem and how you approach it: Probably one of the most important factors. You can give two different people two different problems and they will come up with two different solutions. One solution could be more elegant than the other giving it an edge. Although the second solution by a second person would probably give a similar result.

2) Timing: The timing of a particular produce, algorithm or mathematical model is very important. If you are too early; people wont recognize the importance. If you are too late; people will complain that it is not novel anymore.

3) Marketability. How well you can market the product or your paper or your approach. Traditionally it has been through giving talks. Now it seems to be through (social media?) videos etc. (more on this later)

4) Venue of your publication: I think this used to be more relevant in the past. Now with access to internet  and all the publications having all  paper on line it might not matter much. Although I know people who map the credibility of the paper to the venue of the publication (may be partially true but not always).

5) what else. I am not sure but I am curious.

Social media. I am trying come up with strategies to ramp up my marketing of my approaches. Social media (twitter), videos (you tube) and other? tricks are being thought about. I am not sure which but I am going to do some of them. I think it is a good idea (apart from giving talks that I have not given for quite some time now). All the people that I know in my field are recognizable to me because of their online presence and not because I saw them giving a talk some where. I think this gives a good indication of how to market your "stuff" in the future :P

Thursday, December 8, 2016

When you get a grant?

What do you do when you get a grant. I know the department and college will probably put your grant news in their news section and probably would also give you some publicity.

But do you let your group know that you have gotten a grant? If yes, how do you communicate this?

If you do not convey this directly to your group, why not?