Industry Careers by Sheila Kannappan

There are a lot of questions about careers in industry. What kinds of opportunities are there, either paid or unpaid? How should you go about finding an internship? How should you write your CV or resume for this audience? Can you be involved in both industry and academia? Everyone who has either answers or more questions, chime in!

The GRE by Sheila Kannappan

The GRE, especially the physics GRE, sends chills down many students’ spines. Let’s demystify it with some frank discussion. By default, please assume discussion of the physics subject test, and specify if/when you are referring to the general test or another subject test instead.

I’ll start the discussion with an article from the APS website that you may find disturbing:

The punchline: the physics GRE correlates weakly with academic performance in grad school and not at all with research performance, but unfortunately, it does seem to correlate with whether you are male, female, or a minority. It is speculated that the format of the test — very fast-paced and intimidating — has something to do with that.

Okay, don’t get mad, get even. In the spirit of “the best defense is a good offense”, you can follow these tips from a former GRE question writer:

Or if you’re already past the stage of being able to do anything about your score, take comfort that there are many programs that do not consider the GRE: for example, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a growing number of graduate schools (including some highly prestigious ones in other countries).

Those are just my thoughts — let’s hear yours!

Writing a Convincing Paper by Russell Taylor

I’ll start by talking about one of the most-overlooked sections: Prior Work/Related Work. This is where you describe other work in the field and how your approach is an improvement over it. It is very important to BE POSITIVE in this section. Many times, people are tempted to say things like “Method XYZ fails to handle the case of moving particles” when it would be so much better to have said “Method XYZ was intended for stationary particles and our method extends it to work robustly with moving particles.” Besides being the right thing to do, this has two tangible benefit: (1) It puts the reviewer in a positive state of mind, so they may be more likely to be kind with the faults of your method, and (2) remember that the people who will review your paper are often the authors of these very techniques you are writing about…

Writing a Great Application by Sheila Kannappan

Steve asked how to write a good resume/CV, but with grad school application season upon us, I thought we could have a broader discussion of how to write a good application for a job or school in general. Everyone, share your wisdom! What works?

First post! by Zane Beckwith

Hey everybody, this is Zane (Beckwith, the grad assistant for the most-recent program, in 2013). Hope this site is useful for ya’ll!