Links for students

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.

General advice

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

Scientist: Four golden lessons (Nature), by Steven Weinberg (physics Nobel laureate)

How to choose a good scientific problem (Molecular Cell)

Benefits of diversity (Nature Physics), by Abraham Loeb.  Discoveries in astronomy can only happen when people are open-minded and willing to take risks.

Giving presentations

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)

Tips for killer presentations (Life Hacker)

What not to do in your talk: How to Create Presentations that Don’t Suck (Life Hacker)

Scientific computing

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

Writing a paper

Short tutorials:

Nothing beats practice: once you have results, sit down and star writing. Also, read a lot of papers to get the feeling of how you should structure yours. Here is a figure summarizing the typical structure of 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.

How to be more productive at writing papers: How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (book)

Job market

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

Taking “The Road Not Taken”: On the Benefits of Diversifying Your Academic Portfolio. 

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.

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)

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.

Thinking outside the simulation box

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.”

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