What is a Ph.D.?

This blog, despite my having not a clue what it is meant to be, is certainly meant to not be a place to just share cute links and leave it at that. That’s not much of a contribution, is it? And, if the world before and after the existence of a post remains absolutely unchanged, then what would be the point of its existing?

Yet perhaps you dear readers must bear with the recent influx of “mindless” sharing for a while here. It is partly because I am devoting all my time to finish my research (LIE!), and thus cannot concoct much ingenious thoughts. But mostly it is because I need to post this thing here to assuage my sudden insecurity regarding a life of Ph.D. and research. Ah, doubt! You are worse than pain and sadness.

Anyhow, please disregard my rant. The presentation below is so clever regardless. Quite heroic, too.


Matthew Might, a computer science professor at the University of Utah, writes: “Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is. It’s hard to describe it in words. So, I use pictures.” Here it goes. (Link to the original).

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

With a bachelor’s degree, you gain a specialty:

A master’s degree deepens that specialty:

Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Once you’re at the boundary, you focus:

You push at the boundary for a few years:

Until one day, the boundary gives way:

And, that dent you’ve made is called a Ph.D.:

Of course, the world looks different to you now:

So, don’t forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.

1 comment
  1. Mai Le said:

    Well, I keep wondering what Phd is, and now I understood a little bit more about that. But it’s still worth to have that small “nhich’ “

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