Two minute descriptions of a graduate thesis, PHD Comics

I’ve now moved to NYC, and my graduate program is about to start. So I consider today’s topic to be very appropriate in how it coincides with where I’m about to go.

PHD Comics ran a contest where people to submitted two minute descriptions of their graduate research, across all subjects.

All of the entries are here.

I started listening to the entries that had 100+ votes, and this is very, very interesting. There are a lot of interesting tidbits here, that obviously don’t come close to the depth that the research is undertaken in, but that can be of interest to people outside of that field.

This is also something that I personally think is very important–discussing different topics openly, which some people might not get to hear about otherwise. Especially when it comes to science, but I might be a little biased there.

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3 Responses to Two minute descriptions of a graduate thesis, PHD Comics

  1. Psycho Gecko says:

    Ah, science. Good stuff. Just happens to get denied by a bunch of people who don’t bother to learn about it. I like it a lot, but History was my field of study. Of course, that mean’s very little as it was a bachelor’s degree. Though there’s still some people out there who need some serious educating about history. I’ve got some Federalist and Antifederalist papers I’d like to show certain “Originalist” judges, as well as some good quotes from Jefferson. Which reminds me, don’t trust any book put out by David Barton.

    I listened to an episode of TheThinkingAtheist podcast recently that took issue with that. It focused more on willful ignorance, but there was also a part when he and someone else were talking about people saying things that had been refuted so many times in the past. As he put it, you just had to go online and Google it to find out the answers. And since Google can figure out what you meant even if you get it wrong, you didn’t even have to spell it correctly. It was the “Worshipping Ignorance” episode if you’re interested. Don’t worry, the host is a real nice guy.

    Good luck with your graduate studies. Also, your invitation to Florida’s Gulf Coast is temporarily rescinded until about Thursday or so. It’s for your own good. And if you drove down here you’d have a hard time finding any gas to drive back.

  2. Marie Erving says:

    Thanks. And I guess I’ll have to unpack my bags then.

    I come across the really weird non-science claims mostly on the internet, since there isn’t as much of it in my area, maybe. That said, there’s a lot of stuff about science and being a scientist that not many non-scientists know, even things that seem basic to someone who’s done research. So it’s always worth it to open dialogue, in my opinion. I’ve been thinking about writing more posts where I talk about the most basic misconceptions I’ve come across.

    • Psycho Gecko says:

      *Personal pet peeve incoming*

      I know you said science in general, but in my experience misconceptions about volution run rampant throughout the internet. That probably has more to do with my exploration of the online atheist community. Creationists really don’t know their science or deliberately deceive about it. Still, if you’d like a nice documentary that deals with the whole Creationism-Evolution mess, I would suggest the Nova documentary “Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” about the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board trial. There’s a lot there about the social impact of the trial, but the trial itself also features an examination of evolution and of intelligent design. It can be found on youtube.

      You also might check out some of AronRa’s stuff on youtube. He looks like the kind of guy who is more comfortable holding an axe and wearing a suit of horned armor, but he knows his stuff, and does a series of his own about clearing up creationist misconceptions about evolution.

      I do so get tired of hearing “Evolution is just a theory,” “If we evolved from monkeys(or chimps, or apes), then why are there still monkeys, (or chimps, or apes),” “There are no transitional fossils,” “The eye is irreducibly complex,” “So you think everything came from nothing,” “Well, the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution,” “These fossil finds were faked,” “Carbon dating isn’t reliable,” “Evolution has been disproven and is a conspiracy by the scientific community because they don’t like God,” as well as a general tendency for them to mix up abiogenesis, evolution, and the big bang theory all together. The term I’ve seen used for these is Points Refuted A Thousand Times.

      In more general terms, I would say that Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the best modern communicators about science. You may know him from the Symphony of Science videos.

      If anything, I find the truth of what happened via all these natural processes of the universe to be a lot more amazing.

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