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Is it possible to start on a Ph.D dissertation early?

  1. Sep 14, 2010 #1
    I was wondering if its possible to start on you dissertation in your sophomore or undergraduate years. I want to start on this to plan ahead.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2010 #2

    thrill3rnit3

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    sophomore undergrad? Have you even taken junior or senior level math courses, let alone grad courses?
     
  4. Sep 14, 2010 #3
    Well, no. However, I understand that you need a theory, collecting evidence to support or deny it, and perform experiments. The math course I'm in now is Calc.II. I do have a reference book for physics titled as "Handbook of physics". Do you really need a course to do all this? I thought I can use the scientific method as many science books explained on how to make a theory.

    edit:
    I forgot to mention that I've taken intro. to physics I & II. I'm in general chem.I as well.
     
  5. Sep 14, 2010 #4

    thrill3rnit3

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    well, you will need to have more mathematical and physics tools to be able to understand (and contribute) to recent developments in whatever field you choose. You're still in calculus 2. You need to walk first before learning to run.

    go to arxiv.org and browse a few papers to get a better feel.
     
  6. Sep 14, 2010 #5
    Interesting. So much submitted papers. I guess its better not to rush into things.
     
  7. Sep 14, 2010 #6
    It's fine to think about what you want to research, you just don't have the knowledge to make an effective dissertation right now, but once your done University you will have that knowledge.
     
  8. Sep 15, 2010 #7

    Pengwuino

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    No. A dissertation has to be original research. You have learned up until... the 1800's as far as physics goes? Saying there is a gap in your knowledge is the understatement of a lifetime.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2010 #8
    Well, the only close possible way I can start on a dissertation is finding something I want to research. I can find much information about the topic I want and save them when I reach my grad year.
     
  10. Sep 15, 2010 #9

    G01

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    Starting a dissertation will be close to impossible since you don't really have the background to even know what has been done and what hasn't.

    You should, however start trying to get research experience as an undergrad. Talk to some of your professors. See if they have a project than an undergrad can work on. It'll help you learn more about a specific field of research and at least give you an idea of what research work in grad school will be like.
     
  11. Sep 15, 2010 #10

    ZapperZ

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    I had to re-read this thread 3, 4, and even 5 times, because I can't believe that someone would ask a question like this.

    I think you may not have a fair (not even good) realization what is involved in a graduate program, and what exactly is meant by a Ph.D dissertation. In my "So You Want To Be A Physicist" essay, I think I've tried to give a general view of not only the process of getting a physics education, but also writing thesis/dissertation. I don't think you've an idea of the process, and this is a very glaring case of putting the cart before the horse. It is utterly premature to even consider such a thing.

    There are plenty of things to worry about in school at your level. This shouldn't be one of it, and it's not even close. In fact, it shouldn't even be on your list of things to consider or worry about.

    Zz.
     
  12. Sep 15, 2010 #11
    In the same title, I wonder when you should start a PhD thesis. I am two years into graduate studies, have a few more to go. Would it be wise to start writing background, general theory, and research I have do so far into a thesis? Or does everyone just wait till the last 6 months and plow through it.
     
  13. Sep 15, 2010 #12

    eri

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    For kaos86, G01 is right - if you want to get started on research, which is a very good idea, you should be thinking along the lines of an undergraduate research project, not your dissertation. You've got a long ways to go and several major research projects (maybe an undergrad thesis, probably a masters thesis) to do first. You simply don't have the background in any field to know what's been done, what needs to be done, and what you can do. But a professor in your department might have something you can do in a given time frame with your background and the resources available. That's the place to start.

    For AndersonMD, if you've got a topic and you're starting your dissertation research, start writing now. You can always revise later. But don't leave it until the last minute to start writing. My friends and I all ended up in the situation where we got a job offer and had to finish up in a few months, so I was at a great advantage having been writing up what I was doing as I went along. Plus you don't forget what you did and why that way.
     
  14. Sep 15, 2010 #13

    ZapperZ

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    You can't start writing a story when you have no story to tell.

    When will you have a story? You'll know when you have it. Your advisor plays a major role in deciding what story you will have to tell.

    It is a peril to decide, before your research work is complete, what you want to write. It will appear as if you know how the result is going to be before you even study it properly. That's a no-no in science. Furthermore, a lot of things can change along the way that will cause one's research work to go into a different direction.

    I don't quite understand the degree of "impatience" here about writing a dessertation. By the time you have enough to write one, with agreement from your advisor on the "theme" of your dessertation, you normally will be left alone most of the time to finish writing it. So it's not as if you won't have time to write it when you have to. So what's the hurry here?

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  15. Sep 16, 2010 #14
    This might be a silly question but did you and your friends get recruited from college for those jobs? Or were you applying for them? Thanks.
     
  16. Sep 16, 2010 #15
    You should start writing your dissertation the millisecond you've found an adviser. Something that you can start doing immediately is to read papers, and then record what you've read in some database line Endnote.
     
  17. Sep 16, 2010 #16

    eri

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    For the most part, we applied for them. One got a postdoc he found on the AAS Job Register, another two of us got postdocs through our adviser's contacts, and another got a national fellowship. But don't expect to be recruited.
     
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