[Haskell-cafe] PhD at age 45?

Albert Y. C. Lai trebla at vex.net
Tue Dec 3 21:49:49 UTC 2013

I take a tangent to talk not about what age, but about what minds.

Many smart people can solve all kinds of problems but still do poorly in 
PhD, most dropping out. Why? Because part of PhD is to find your 
problem, and cut it from open-ended to specifically scoped. Many smart 
people can solve all kinds of problems, but the problems have to be 
given to them.

(Of course, finding your problem is not enough, you still have to solve 
it. But you already know this.)

Some thesis advisors can suggest pretty specific problems; some schools 
sometimes actually advertise "PhD position: such-and-such specific 
project". If you run into one of those, good for you, someone is giving 
the problem to you, you're like half-done. But this is the minority. The 
majority is more like: the thesis advisor is too helpful and too open, 
he/she suggests too many problems and too many variations, so you're 
none the wiser. :)

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list