Do profs steal ("scoop") ideas from their students? I'm currently a second-year grad student in physics looking for a PhD advisor. This is my second time shopping around for an advisor. I thought I had had a group at the beginning of the year, but within a few months it became clear that that group wasn't a good fit for me and I left. So here I am. Again. During the time between leaving the old group and now, I developed a "theory" (for lack of a better word), researched previous work on the topic, worked through quite a bit of math, and wrote it up in LaTeX. I've also had a couple other grad students read my write-up and both have given me good reviews and encouraged me to get profs to read it, so I'm pretty sure my idea doesn't suck. I'm hoping this paper is sufficiently good to attract a good PhD advisor. That said, I'm worried about getting "scooped." One of the grad students who read my paper specifically said, "Do not show this to Professor X. He'll steal it." He then went on to tell me the story of how Professor X blatantly stole an idea from a former PhD student. So, clearly I shouldn't show my write-up to Professor X, but what else can I do to prevent getting "scooped"? I'd like to do something to establish that this idea is original to me, but don't think it's ready for publication yet. Even putting it up on arXiv seems a tad premature. Any ideas?