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Gift for research advisor.

  1. Aug 2, 2011 #1
    I've been in a research lab all summer doing a sort of internship program. Anyway, my research adviser has really spent a lot of time with me helping me get things done in the lab as well as taking the time to make sure I understood the science behind what we are doing.

    I want to get a little parting gift for him to thank him for all he has done for me. I was just wondering if anyone had ideas for this type of thing. My default is usually gift card but I'm not sure if that would be appropriate.

    So, any cool chemistry related gifts would be great, or just ideas in general for this type of thing.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2011 #2
    I got my advisor a pot plant that flowers... or a slice of cake.. or chocolates...
    It depends on the person really. one supervisor seemed to like the card and chocolates.
  4. Aug 2, 2011 #3


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    How about:


    3-D structures represented in a point-cloud of many thousands of microfractures etched in solid glass blocks using a high-power laser. Elegant, appropriate and durable.
  5. Aug 2, 2011 #4
    SO COOL. I also like how geeky stuff is always overpriced.. Poor geeks just have to spend tons on stuff like that. I just bought the klein bottle hat with a mobius strip scarf for $50...Hmm...
  6. Aug 2, 2011 #5
    I'm getting my adviser a case of beer...
  7. Aug 2, 2011 #6
    Hmm...interesting. I am too evolved to carry a case of beer, plus I'm not sure that my professor drinks any alcohol.. I think you play with nanoparticles? Maybe you could try to draw a smiley using nanoparticles..?:biggrin:

    OP, sorry for messing with your thread. So maybe I should offer some suggestions as well. Have you ever considered taking your advisor out to dinner? Or would that just be way too awkward...
  8. Aug 2, 2011 #7
    Too evolved to carry a case of beer? BLASPHEMY!!! But seriously, my prof loves his beer. He's throwing a party for his PhD student who is about to have her thesis defense soon so hopefully I'll be able to catch a glimpse of his favorite beer then and get him a case. Everyone I have spoke to in the past has said if I were to get him anything it should be beer.

    I don't actually position the nanoparticles! That would be crazy and I don't have access to the nanofab facility in our basement... Plus even if I asked nicely I doubt they would give me access for these purposes. Beer should suffice :)

    As for taking your advisor out to dinner, I would recommend against that unless you have a pre-existing relationship outside of work. Nothing is more awkward than trying to engage in polite chit-chat with your professor (IMO anyway).
  9. Aug 2, 2011 #8
    I haven't reached legal drinking age so I couldn't buy alcohol anyway...
    Are you working for a prof at your home institute? I probably won't see my advisor again so screwing up a dinner talk is not too bad.:rofl:
  10. Aug 2, 2011 #9
    http://www.phdcomics.com/store/mojostore.php?_=view&ProductID=12257 [Broken]

    Something like this would be good
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  11. Aug 2, 2011 #10
    Gah, those glass things would be perfect if they had one that related more to what we are doing. I'm working on organometallic complexes for use in solar cells.
  12. Aug 3, 2011 #11
    do it.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  13. Aug 3, 2011 #12


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    A physical gift for a supervisor is, in my opinion, VERY inappropriate.

    There is too much potential for it to be seen as a bribe. It could also offend him - like you're giving him a tip or something. If nothing else it creates an awkward situation.

    My advice would be to let your supervisor know that you sincerely appreciate all the work he or she has done, and then pay it forward when you are in a mentoring position one day.
  14. Aug 3, 2011 #13
    oh this is crap. Give them a box of chocolates or something. Just don't give them something of any real value or something that they will have to look after.
  15. Aug 3, 2011 #14


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    How is it crap? I certainly wouldn't appreciate it if any of my students gave me a gift and put me in this kind of situation.

    Read your school's academic code of conduct.
  16. Aug 3, 2011 #15
    LogicX has built a rapport between him and his adviser and has judged that it wouldn't be seen as a bribe. That decision has been made, and it's one that only LogicX can make as only he knows the adviser.

    Now he's asking what type of gift to get. I say something edible, so it won't take up shelf space.

    (I'm assuming LogicX is male, apologies if wrong).

    EDIT: I say this because I've done it, and it was received in the manner intended and was a nice way to finish a very nice placement.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  17. Aug 3, 2011 #16

    Something must have gone terribly wrong if you feel that you have been put into a "situation"...when you receive chocolates from a student about to finish his attachment.

    Academic code of conduct, really??? Why not use your empathy instead?
  18. Aug 3, 2011 #17


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    Think about it. If you accept a gift from one student, all the others are going to feel pressure to do the same. Why would I want to place a student in a position where he or she feels its necessary to give me a gift?
  19. Aug 3, 2011 #18
    What makes you think every other student is going to know about this gift?

    I see nothing inappropriate in giving your advisor a gift for the guidance he/she may have given you over the summer.

    Yes, I'm working for one of the professors I had for a class last semester. And he may very well be teaching me again this upcoming year. I'd rather avoid the awkwardness haha.
  20. Aug 3, 2011 #19
    This isn't elementary school, where there is a clear trend of feeling obligated to do this and that. If it were, I'd agree. Since it's a university affair, I think things are all really up to the student. If a gift is given, I'd say it's of free will. No pressure on other students.

    I think if the research supervisor is friendly, he/she would just accept the gift and say cool, thanks!

    I'm going to put a new spin on this. Is it possible to ask a bunch of questions to a professor one likes about stuff unrelated to the immediate class? If you do that, you might make other students feel pressured to do the same, to "suck up" more.
  21. Aug 3, 2011 #20
    Yeah, I have to agree here. I hope we haven't come as far as to take a student's presumably honest expression of gratitude as an insult or something to be offended by.
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