Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Erin O'Connor started up another catfight by publishing an anonymous letter from a grad student irate over wasting a year and a half on a worthless dissertation topic chosen by an adviser to "extend" some of his work. O'Connor departed from her usual habit by enabling comments, and several of the responses are... illuminating. Condescending. Stereotyping. Arrogant. Reliant on appeals to authority. Now, I have to say that I am more than halfway to a mathematical idiot. I am the worst possible person to evaluate a kerfluffle in Mathland. But I recognize the ripe smell of freshly-aired gangrenous flesh when it wafts in front of my nose, and I am... interested in what is going on here. I'd especially like to hear more about this contempt for MA candidates that the commenters are discussing. If any field is subject to loss of coherency due to the latter of material getting too deep, I would think that mathematics would be that field. I have a friend in mathematics. I'll see if I can get him to comment on the subject.