Ph.D interviews over.
A Ph.D is the highest scholarly achievement in any person’s life. Naturally, a student entering the hallowed portals of a Ph.D life, feels afraid at the first baby steps. Who will I be assigned to? How will my supervisor be? Will I be able to stand on my own and relate and interact empathically with the assigned supervisor? Will life be difficult or easy for me in that place?
Being slightly afraid is all natural. But when you let your fears take precedence over your natural ability to adapt, adjust and living life joyfully, you have not really lived.
Most will take the tried and tested route. Join their own post-graduate supervisors. Easy does it!
Or, if not a post-graduate supervisor, the one whose student went to Germany or US for a year of work. Even if the poor supervisor is not able to handle all lab Ph.D students going abroad, who cares?
Or the one whose lab is full. Never mind that golden opportunity to learn starting a lab……
Good students, with the ability to think above and beyond the mundane life, are hard to find. This is astonishing, given the flexibility and intrinsic adaptability of young minds. They are largely resistant to change.
Stephen Hawking-flashing his million-dollar smile.
Stephen Hawking, among the greatest physicists, despite suffering from a motor neuron disease, has mentored many good doctoral students, notable among them are Raymond Laflamme and Don Page. As for his own doctoral life, Wikipedia article on him provides some peek and views:
“Hawking’s first year as a doctoral student was difficult. He was initially disappointed to find that he had been assigned Dennis William Sciama, one of the founders of modern cosmology, as a supervisor rather than noted astronomer Fred Hoyle, and he found his training in mathematics inadequate for work in general relativity and cosmology. After being diagnosed with motor-neuron disease, Hawking fell into a depression; though his doctors advised that he continue with his studies, he felt there was little point. However, his disease progressed more slowly than doctors had predicted. Although Hawking had difficulty walking unsupported and his speech was almost unintelligible, an initial diagnosis that he had only two years to live proved unfounded. With the encouragement of Sciama, he returned to his work. Hawking started developing a reputation for brilliance and brashness when he publicly challenged the work of Fred Hoyle and his student Jayant Narlikar at a lecture in June 1964.
When Hawking began his graduate studies, there was much debate in the physics community about the prevailing theories of the creation of the Universe: the Big Bang and the Steady State theories. Inspired by Roger Penrose‘s theorem of a spacetime singularity in the centre of black holes, Hawking applied the same thinking to the entire universe, and during 1965 wrote his thesis on this topic. There were other positive developments: Hawking received a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College. He obtained his PhD degree in cosmology in March 1966, and his essay entitled “Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time” shared top honours with one by Penrose to win that year’s prestigious Adams Prize.”
Need I say more?