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Getting my adviser of choice

  1. Dec 16, 2011 #1
    Hi everybody, I have a question: I have this guy I want to do Fe-based superconductor research for. He is uncommitted to a family, manages to keep out of administrative things in my physics department, and for it has managed to publish six things in a year. He also has a personality similar to mine. I really want this guy to be my adviser and supervise my PhD research. The trouble is: what he's doing right now requires a post-doc, and he says it really doesn't look like he has any work for students. In order to get a leg up in the world of physics and take in some expertise, I'd really like to work for him. (My last adviser at my previous school didn't like my work all that much, although I learned a TON from him, and was glad to have such an expert (albeit: unavailable) adviser). I think it's clear this guy doesn't want to take anyone on that he has to explain stuff to. To sweeten the pot, I'm thinking of working for him while funding myself by teaching, and bringing a few letters of recommendation from my core-class teachers. (I am well-liked by my professors--one of them expressed regret that I had my heart set on condensed matter physics, and seemed to wish for me to work for them; my electromagnetism professor told me he expects me to be one of the 5 or 6 A's he handed out). Of course, core-coursework, hard as it is, is kind of like the playpen of physics, and research is seeing what's outside the playpen, so I don't know how seriously this guy could take academic (as opposed to real-world) credentials. I could come across as just another empty hotshot brandishing a bunch of A's, but no experience with the real uncertainty of research.

    What should I do? I feel like the next step would be to look at some of what this guy has published, try deriving a few results, and setting up a meeting with him where I show that I know what he's doing. He sent me three .pdfs awhile back (in one of our previous correspondences) which were completely free of math, although one was a 200+ page document. I might be wasting my time if I don't read his publications and work derivations, and educate myself on stuff that would make me a low time-liability (e.g., him having to spend time explaining the ABCs of what he does). Thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2011 #2


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    To answer your questions, if you've corresponded and he's sent you something then it's a very good idea to read it, but above is the statement that I would be most concerned about. If he's not taking on any students at the present time, all the glowing reference letters in the world won't help you.

    If you're really interested, you could apply anyway, but I would work on a backup plan.
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