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Thesis acknowledgements

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hey all

So I'm writing my acknowledgments in the thesis and after the obvious recognition shout outs, advisers, colleagues, collaborators, grants, family, I feel like I should at least mention the faceless internet help. I'm not talking about wikipedia, but discussion forums like this one or physics stackexchange. I wanted to mention the sites and the userbase in general. Is this too weird? I am not going to use usernames like "My sincere thanks to mushroomeater38" Should I PM specific users asking for real names and thank them by name individually?

Anyone did something similar before?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I would not do this.

Science departments, resp. the professors are often quite conservative and might not understand what you mean. Additionally, it tastes a bit as if you had copied anything from there, and I doubt that the average reader will do the effort and test it. Of course this depends on many personal factors and not least of the area you wrote your thesis in. Social sciences tend to be more progressive than natural sciences.

Of course this is my personal opinion and solely based on own experiences. You can thank anonymously for many fruitful discussions with other scientists, but this is already a hint nowadays. But if in doubt, then take no unnecessary risks. Thesis are read by quite a lot of people, which are only interested in the results or a summary. They probably will find such an acknowledgment disturbing. E.g. I have never - or at least I cannot remember - an acknowledgement thanking for the local library!
 
  • #3
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  • #4
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I was going for something like "I would like to thank the people in Physics Forums for helpful discussions on this and that topic."

But thanks for the feedback. I think I'll just skip it then.

Since I already made this topic I'll ask a follow-up question. I'm now a little wary of making more weird statements. How about thanking family for support? is this too personal?
 
  • #5
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No, that is standard and - depending on country - almost expected.
 
  • #6
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Oh wow. None of this is intuitive! Thanks for the help (and I will keep this thanks here in the forum)
 
  • #7
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You should be reading other theses from your institution.
 
  • #8
analogdesign
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Hi diegzumillo,

I think wanting to acknowledge the people who helped you succeed is a really nice sentiment.

In my dissertation, I thanked the people of the State of California for various scholarships, fellowships, grants, and subsidies. I said that without their generosity I would not have been able to achieve my goals and I would do my best to make their significant investment in me pay off. My advisor told me it was the first time he'd seen anything like that but thought it was great because most people ignore who helped them.

In that spirit, it is nice you're thinking of acknowledging the forums that helped you. However, I think they are covered if you do the more generic (and standard) thanking of friends and colleagues and their useful discussions. Because that is really what the forums are: a way to connect with colleagues.
 
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  • #9
Dr. Courtney
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At MIT it was standard not to include the acknowledgements section until the very end - after the thesis was successfully defended and signed by the committee. I think the motive was so recognition (or lack thereof) would not bias the committee in any way. Regardless, there was also opportunity after a successful defense and committee approval to make changes. If one is worried that an honest acknowledgement or two may be viewed negatively, you might wait until after the thesis is defended and approved to add it.

My view is that the thesis defense and committee approvals are only about the scientific content of a thesis. There should be no negative view regarding acknowledgements.
 
  • #10
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That makes sense. I already defended mine though.
 

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