Here's my quandary: I'm a math/physics major at an primarily undergraduate state school (United States). Since last summer I have been working with a newly hired assistant professor Dr. X doing scanning probe microscopy. This professor did good work as a graduate student and post doc, but his skills as a PI are severly lacking. Dr. X is very disorganized, and has about 10 different projects he wants completed, but is always in his office writing grant proposals, and who knows what else. Our physics department does not have a graduate program, so Dr. X's lab is run by 4 undergraduates, including me. We barely know how to run the equipment, let alone build experiments, and Dr. X never comes over to the lab to help us. Dr. X also has very poor English and communication skills. I'm going into my junior year this fall, and I was accepted into the McNair scholars program, which grooms undergrads for graduate school. Part of the program is to complete a research project with the guidance of a faculty mentor. My problem is that I don't want my faculty mentor to be Dr. X, but I don't how to quit working for Dr. X without alienating some of the other professors in my small physics department, like the dept. chair, who originally recruited me to work for Dr. X the summer after my freshman year. If I make waves in the dept, then that might affect their view of me when it comes time to write recommendation letters. But I am afraid my McNair project will stink if Dr. X is my mentor. This situation came to a head today, when Dr. X and I got into a disagreement about my academic plan for my final 2 years. I have always wanted to study mathematical physics or cosmology. Dr. X has known all along that I was double major in math and physics. Now that I am in the McNair program, which adds about an additional course's worth of work a semester, I informed Dr. X that I can't take his biophysics course in spring of 07. I'm taking 18 credits that semester, and they are all required, and biophysics is not. Dr. X sent me a condscending email explaining that the future of physics is biophysics, that mathematical physics is a waste of time, and to quote from the email (spelling and grammar left intact): " You aret rying to go opposite way and you are trying to learn osolete physics that was developed 300 years ago." " I am not intersted in working with a student who likes math or physics developed 17-18 centry. I am more interested in working with a student who are more excited with current challenging biophysics." I've pretty much had it with Dr. X as a supervisor but I don't know how to quit working with him without alienating the entire department. I don't want to go to the dept. chair and rat Dr. X out for being a lousy professor, but I don't see any other way to get out of this siutation and save face. I know I might sound like I'm whining but believe me Dr. X has serious problems with management and leadership. I also believe that he doesn't care about what I am interested in studying, he just wants to build his biophysics program so he can get more funding. I've always been clear with Dr. X about my long term career goals, but that I would do my best while I worked with him in biophysics as an undergrad. I'm starting to get really depressed about the whole situation. Any advice?