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Age of research advisor?

  1. Feb 19, 2007 #1
    So, now that graduate school is just around the corner, I'm left with the daunting task of picking a school and research group that I'd like to work with. This question may sound silly, but all other things being equal, but what age would people recommend a research advisor be? The more I think about it, the more important it seems to be. On the one hand, I could join a newly-formed research group where the professor is 8 or 9 years older than me, someone who is about as old as a sibling. On the other extreme, I could work with an endowed chair who's older than my grandfather.

    It seems to me that there are advantages and disadvantages with the different age groups. Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas, or experiences?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2007 #2
    Try not to work with an advisor who has failing health, regardless of age. I had a friend whose advisor died on him and he almost had to start over from square one.
  4. Feb 19, 2007 #3
    I always figured that'd be a godsend, since then you could steal any unpublished work they were doing at the time they died.
  5. Feb 20, 2007 #4


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    I'd go for someone younger than 40 - don't go for anyone with other responsibilities, such as, head of department. They won't have as much time for you.
  6. Feb 21, 2007 #5


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    my adviser was about 2 years older than me and his adviser about another 2-3 years older than he was. it is the mathematical age difference that matters.

    In fact both my adviser and his are still active and are speaking at my 65th birthday conference.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2007
  7. Feb 21, 2007 #6
    and then you would forever be haunted from the grave by someone who wants their equations back
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