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    1. Hello Tildes, I recently was accepted to my first PhD program, to one of my top choices. I am really quite excited about it. So I wanted to ask you... If you have a PhD: Are you glad you spent all...

      Hello Tildes,

      I recently was accepted to my first PhD program, to one of my top choices. I am really quite excited about it.

      So I wanted to ask you...

      If you have a PhD:

      • Are you glad you spent all that time pursuing it?
      • What does having one allow you to do that not having one would prevent you from doing?
      • Do you still maintain connections with your advisor(s) and/or fellow students?
      • Are you proud of your research?
      • Do you still look at research in that field?
      • What do you do now?

      If you pursuing a PhD, or have one and can answer these questions as your past self:

      • Do you get along with your advisor?
      • How much time do you spend looking at publications in your field?
      • Is most of your new knowledge from these publications, or do you perhaps rely on books you have not yet read?
      • How has your own funding (e.g. NSF fellowship) or lack thereof impacted what you do with your day?
      • What do you anticipate doing after you finish?
      • What (open source?) tools do you find the most useful in your work?
      • How do you balance work/life?
      • If you are/were a TA, how did you learn how to be an effective one?
      • How do you make sure you are on track with your research goals?
      • What are your biggest wins? Your biggest regrets?
      • any other things you want to talk about?

      Cheers!

      21 votes
    2. Openly published research makes science advance at a wonderful rate. In my experience scientists and researchers support open research in a nearly dogmatic fashion. Personally I am generally for...

      Openly published research makes science advance at a wonderful rate. In my experience scientists and researchers support open research in a nearly dogmatic fashion. Personally I am generally for it. However here is my concern.

      I believe that humanity is in a terrible race. One of the competitors is the advancement of science, which of course can sometimes be used in a dangerous ways. The other competitor is our society moving towards murder and war becoming obsolete. The science is obvious and needs no examples. Societies move towards the sanctity of life is shown here.

      "Violence has been in decline over long stretches of time", says Harvard professor Steven Pinker, "and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence."

      Now to get to my point. In the past scientific advancement has created some really scary things. Atomic weapons, bio and chemical warefare, etc. However, those weapons took a lot of people and capital to produce, and had relatively un-scalable effects. Now with open research on advancements like CRISPR, we are nearing a time where in the near future a smart high school biology student with a few thousand dollars and an internet connection will be able to create self-replicating custom viruses that could kill millions. The asymmetric threat has never been greater.

      Do you agree with my assessment and concerns?

      If so, do you believe that there should be limits on publication of research in certain areas?

      Edit: I should have said CRISPR and gene drives. Here is a TED talk on how gene drives can change and entire species, forever.

      7 votes