Here is a compilation of potentially useful material for graduate (and undergraduate) students related to giving presentations, writing your first paper, communication, job market etc.
How to be a modern scientist (book). Practical advice on writing papers, giving talks, code, reproducibility and data sharing. I wish I read this book when I was beginning grad school
How to choose a good scientific problem (Molecular Cell)
The obstacle is the way: The timeless art of turning obstacles into triumph. Important life lessons from stoicism.
Designing your talk well:
- Giving an academic talk (Berkeley)
- Rethinking scientific presentation slides (Penn State): i.e. designing presentation slides that don’t suck. Along the same lines: How to give a good talk (Molecular Cell)
General advice about improving your presentation skills: preparation, producing, delivering, language and more.
And improving it:
- Tips for killer presentations (Life Hacker)
- What not to do in your talk: How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck (Life Hacker)
Great practices in scientific computing (arXiv). Set of computing tools and techniques that every researcher can and should adopt.
Ten Simple Rules for Better Figures (PLOS), with examples
Reading a paper
How to read a scientific article. Excerpt:
Reading a scientific article is a complex task. The worst way to approach this task is to treat it like the reading of a textbook.
Writing a paper
- Writing the first draft of your paper
- Writing papers like a modern scientist. This is one of the chapters of the book “how to be a modern scientist“
- Figure summarizing the typical structure of a paper
- Nothing beats practice: once you have results, sit down and start writing. This is part of the “launch and iterate” philosophy that we discussed in our group meetings.
- The first draft of the paper will probably not be so great, but that is expected. After a couple of revision rounds, it will improve considerably.
- Reading a lot of papers will help you visualising how you should structure yours.
How to write a Nature summary paragraph. This can be helpful to learn how to write an abstract for a paper.
If you are looking for a longer read, check this out: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. This book dissects the typical sessions of a paper and strategies for writing.
Book with suggestions on how to be more productive at writing: How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing.
Prepare for the job market while you are in grad school: it’s a tough world out there
Applying for a hubble fellowship (lots of advice here applies as well to other fellowships – Einstein, NASA NPP etc)
Thinking outside the box
It is common practice among young astrophysicists these days to invest research time conservatively in mainstream ideas that have already been explored extensively in the literature […]. [I] argue that young researchers should always allocate a small fraction of their academic portfolio to innovative projects with risky but potentially highly profitable returns.Taking “The Road Not Taken”: On the Benefits of Diversifying Your Academic Portfolio.
In physics the value of a theory is measured by its agreement with experimental data. But how should the physics community gauge the value of an emerging theory that has not been tested experimentally as of yet? With no reality check, a hypothesis like string theory may linger for a while before physicists will know its actual value in describing nature. In this short article, I advocate the need […] to alert the community of the risk from future theory bubbles.Rating Growth of Scientific Knowledge and Risk from Theory Bubbles (in Brasil, there are unfortunately many researchers working on “theory bubbles” that will lead nowhere)
Any ambitious construction project requires architects and engineers. As research shifts towards large groups that focus on the engineering aspects of linking data to existing models, architectural skills are becoming rare among young theorists. […] Albert Einstein once said: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”Thinking outside the simulation box