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.

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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.

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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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