This page contains links to the lectures and readings that we give throughout the semester.

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Date Readings Discussion Questions
Week 0 (1/9)
Overview
Week 1 (8/9)
What is research?
Most research is not earth-shattering and does not lead to what Kuhn calls a “paradigm shift.” Most of the time, that’s the kind of research we do -- and it’s still very useful.

Week 2 (15/9)
The myth of the lone scientist
Most of us will work in labs or research groups, but television portrays us as lone academics having genius breakthroughs in isolation
Week 3 (22/9)
Fame
Many academics are driven by the desire to become famous scientists. Be careful
Week 4 (29/9)
The alienation of being wildly overeducated
With the exception of those of us who are "professor brats", most of us are likely to experience our process of becoming experts as at odds with our families and our identities
Week 5 (6/10)
Impostor Syndrome
Being treated as an expert often depends on how well an invidual matches expected perceptions of what an expert looks like, and how well the individual "plays the part"
Week 6 (13/10)
You are not your research
We associate ourselves with our research so much that we forget it is a job and not our lives. It makes rejections harder to deal with, and leads to poor work-life balance
Week 7 (20/10)
The advisor/student relationship
Our relationship with our advisors is a complex one. It lasts as long as most marriages (7 years). How do you navigate it?
Week 8 (27/10)
Mental Health Part 1
There is an often undiscussed mental health epidemic amongst students and researchers. Today, we've invited Dr. Shuangmei (Christine) Zhou and Dr. Yi Du from Berkeley CAPS to come talk to us about this topic.
Week 9 (3/11)
Mental Health Part 2
There is an often undiscussed mental health epidemic amongst students and researchers. Does academia make us this way, or are people with mental health troubles more prone to becoming academics?
Week 10 (10/11)
Expectations, comparisons and rejection
Publications are a tempting metric to rate fellow researchers' success. The reality is much more complex than that
Week 11 (17/11)
Funding in academia
Almost all researchers deal with funding agengies of some sort, and funding agencies have their own goals and intents for the research that may not perfectly parallel the researcher's
Week 12 (24/11)
Research As a Publicity Act
While research content is important, delivery and publicity play an often underestimated role in getting research known. It's painful but must be done!
  • Elevator Pitches, John Wilkes
  • Oral Presentations
  • Academic Twitter
Week 13 (1/12)
Academia's Drop-Outs
It is easy to get so focused on the degree, the diploma, that we forget the original goals that pushed us to pursue an intellectual life