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Re: Suggest a challenging research idea

  • Subject: Re: Suggest a challenging research idea
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2005 07:57:22 +0100
  • Newsgroups: sci.image.processing
  • Organization: schestowitz.com / MCC / Manchester University
  • References: <1125905128.647159.278360@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> <dfhta2$ge1$1@news.ucalgary.ca> <dfjurc$1df9$1@godfrey.mcc.ac.uk> <dfknnn$lt5$1@news.ucalgary.ca> <1126074184.573857.63230@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> <dfn82h$mtd$1@news.ucalgary.ca>
  • Reply-to: newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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__/ [Martin Leese] on Wednesday 07 September 2005 18:29 \__

> Ajay wrote:
>> Thanks to Martin and Roy,
>> Let me explain my situation more explicitly.
>> I want to do something quite new and challenging. But my professor is
>> pushing me for an idea which is just a derivative of somebody's work
>> which I am just not excited abt. I am ready to do hard work more than
>> what may be required by the project, but want to be seriously engaged
>> in the problem area which has either just begun or not many tried their
>> hands on. Then only I can be satisfied at the end of my PhD degree.
>> I know doing such a work needs a lot of support from my supervisor.
>> This is where I need help from you. If you suggest some great ideas
>> which may be vague, I can frame up the problem and try to convince him.
>> If I succeed, I am a happy man. If not, i may have to take some tough
>> decisions like quitting .
>> Please help me with your wisdon.
> There are two approaches to this, and they are in
> conflict.  The first approach is that your PhD is
> going to consume several years of your life, so you
> need to choose something which will interest you.
> This is Roy's point, and I can agree with it.  In
> fact, I abandoned a PhD after a few months when
> I realised that achieving what I wanted would
> require intense maths, and I knew I couldn't
> sustain that for several years.  (As a consequence
> I don't have a PhD.)
> The second approach is to realise that a PhD is not
> the end goal but is merely the first step down a
> long career in research.  So, you need to make this
> step an easy one, leaving the difficult research
> for later when you are under less pressure (and the
> really difficult research for after you have
> tenure).  This means you should choose a PhD
> project which is doable, and the simplest that will
> still result in a PhD.  Your advisor can make this
> judgment a lot better than you can.
> This probably doesn't help you.  Sorry about that.

I agree and would also like to add that your relationship with the
supervisor is crucial. Choosing a project that was not sparked by his
'infinite intellect' might later cause friction or allow the supervisor to
blame the unwanted (from his/her point-of-view) project.

Having phrased it as I have, there are many people whom I know that changed
their research path after completion of the Ph.D. e.g. maths <-> computing,
image analysis <-> AI, or even biology/medicine <-> medical image
interpretation. Do not be deterred by your supervisor's choice as it does
not (necessarily) entail a future lock-in.


Roy S. Schestowitz      | The most satisfying eXPerience is UNIX
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