Some gems from last night, with names changed to protect the guilty:
- "There are two types of postgraduate students. Those who can't do what you tell them to, and the good ones, who won't."
- "While at Oxbridge, I was approached by a Famous Physicist, who told me I needed to choose a PhD supervisor soon. Famous Physicist then volunteered the following information. There are two types of PhD supervisor, he said.* The first will hand you a book and tell you to go off and find an interesting problem to turn into your doctoral project. The second will start you off on a project they're already doing, and turn that into your doctoral project.
In what I consider one of my more inspired moments, I asked him, so which one are you, then? He said he was the former, at which point I walked out of his office and into the cupboard of a young Unknown Physicist to ask him to be my PhD supervisor."
- "I wrote my first paper about a Small Rocky Planet when I was still a postgraduate. I gave it to two Eminent Physicists to read so that they could tell me if it were worth publishing. A few days later, I went into the office of Eminent Physicist #1. He told me at length and in detail the ways in which he thought this paper would be detrimental to the current Small Rocky Planet paradigm. Suddenly, Eminent Physicist #2 walked into the room. He told me he thought the paper was publishable and that I should submit it to a High Citation Index Journal. Eminent Physicist #1 turned to Eminent Physicist #2 and said, 'That's exactly what I've just been telling him.'"
* You may surmise that Story 1 and Story 2 were told by the same person. You would be correct.