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Time-to-PhD for Nobel Laureates

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by qwopty99, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. qwopty99

    qwopty99 Optometrist
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    ok - the title is a bit tabloid-ish, but i do have a question.

    i picked up a "children's" book outlining current super-scientists. in it, they outlined the biographies of a lot of living scientists, about half of whom had Nobel prizes.

    i noticed in the book, lots of the educational history of those profiled would say something like,

    BS 1945
    MS 1946
    PhD 1949

    others would simply say,

    BS 1951
    PhD 1953

    i mean, i know - these guys are SMART, they're SUPER-SMART. but in that entire book, i'd say the vast majority of them got their PhDs in 3 years or less.

    how does one do a PhD in 2 years, even if ur IQ is 210? don't super-smart people ALSO have to wait for results to come up, like the rest of us?
     
  2. Jorje286

    Jorje286 Member
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    In Europe, the PhD takes you about 3/4 years nowadays, because basically the Masters and the PhD are separated, and I guess depending on your background, sometimes you don't need graduate classes? And check that maybe in their time the requirements for a PhD were different.
     
  3. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member
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    Look at the dates you posted - 50-60 years ago. There weren't as many scientists/grad students then and publishing was not as difficult. My PhD mentor is no Nobel laureate and he got his PhD in 3 years in the 60s.

    Check out the Nobel website: http://nobelprize.org/
    There are biographies and Nobel award speeches on the site.
     
  4. SaltySqueegee

    SaltySqueegee El Rey de Salsa
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    Maybe for the same reason they received their nobel prizes, is the same mechanism(s) that allows them to determine the simplest and most elegant experiments to answer questions. It's not how much time you take or necessarily how much you know, but more so how you ask/phrase the core question at hand to maximize valuable results yield in the shortest amount of time. In my experience/observations, those that take longer, either take everything their advisor says and does it with out question, or are simply unable to think out-side the box.

    *Steps off of Soap-box*

    Regards,

    -Salty

    Quality of Data, not Quantity or time taken.
     
  5. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    I don't really think so. I'm not disagreeing with your "quality" statements, but the fact is it WAS easier to publish then. The focus was much more on the techniques used, because there were not kits for everything. My advisor got his PhD in 18 months for sequencing a gene in bacteria. That can be done today in a week, and you could never publish it.

    As our understanding of science grows, projects must be more and more novel and meaningful to get published. For us, we have to discover something about underlying mechanisms- objectives that were impossible 20 years ago. You could do a PhD with linkage analysis then to discover a region that may contain a candidate gene- today we have the UCSC browser, and you have to demonstrate mutations in the gene, as well as its cellular function for publication. You might even have to make a knockout mouse for in vivo significance. It's a HUGE difference.
     
  6. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    The systems are highly variable depending on country. In most, a PhD is fixed at 2-3 years, and you have to ask for an extension if you WANT more time. Can you believe it? At least they don't get burned out as bad over there. They almost never have to do extra coursework.

    As a result, several are undertrained (in my opinion) when they come for post Docs here, and several leave sans publications. In the end it doesn't matter so much since they have to do multiple post docs (on average) to catch up.
     
  7. Tupais

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    I concur about European PhDs. I'm working in a very prestigious European institution right now, and the students are allowed to give their dissertation after 1 year and are not allowed to stay more than 2 years. There is no coursework or teaching, however, everyone comes in with a masters already. As tempted as I was to do a PhD in 2 years (and then return to the US for the MD), I didn't think this shortened PhD was adequate preperation.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    qwopty99

    qwopty99 Optometrist
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    "adequate preparation"

    do u mean adequate (phd) training?
     

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