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The Art of Being a Scientist: A Guide for Graduate Students and their Mentors

Handbook / Manual
Teaches practical skills for doing research, enabling young researchers to develop useful research habits and avoid time-consuming pitfalls
Provides a sample curriculum of a course for graduate students, supplying professors with ideas on how to educate their graduate students more effectively
Provides clear advice on career development, allowing students to make informed decisions about career options and strategies for a successful research career

By: Roel Snieder (Author), Ken Larner (Author)

286 pages, illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jul 2009 | #181283 | ISBN-13: 9780521743525
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.95 $31/€29 approx

About this book

This is a hands-on guide for graduate students and young researchers wishing to perfect the practical skills needed for a successful research career. By teaching junior scientists to develop effective research habits, The Art of Being a Scientist helps to make the experience of graduate study a more efficient and rewarding one. The authors have taught a graduate course on the topics covered for many years, and provide a sample curriculum for instructors in graduate schools wanting to teach a similar course.

Topics covered include choosing a research topic, department, and advisor; making workplans; the ethics of research; using scientific literature; perfecting oral and written communication; publishing papers; writing proposals; managing time effectively; and planning a scientific career and applying for jobs in research and industry. The wealth of advice is invaluable to students, junior researchers and mentors in all fields of science, engineering, and the humanities.

Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a hardback version.

"[...] a must for any graduate student.''I enjoyed your approach to academic planning, problem solving and personal development. I will certainly recommend your class to other students!'' [...] I learned a lot of things that will carry into my future research."
- Comments from students on Professor Snieder and Professor Larner's course

"[...] this book will be an important resource for students considering entering careers in science, and I would definitely encourage students to read it."
Kurt Haas, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

"[...] conveys a healthy balance between research as a passion and as a practical reality. It contains a wealth of positive and useful advice that should be of great benefit to young researchers."
- Frits van Oostrom, Utrecht University, Emeritus President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

"[...] so full of useful, considered and well-balanced advice that [...] the main thought provoked by it is 'why wasn't it around when I was a graduate student?' [...] littered with relevant and interestingquotes from a wide range of sources [...] the chapter on communication should be mandatory reading for all scientists, young or old."
- The Leading Edge

"The Art of Being a Scientist provides a [...] modern treatment of soft skills and an updated discussion of the differences between industrial and academic workplaces. [...] a welcome map for the voyage that is scientific graduate education. Graduate students will find it particularly useful and will likely consult it often throughout their academic experience and beyond; it will be valuable, as well, to undergraduate students as they consider graduate school. [...] an excellent resource for graduate-school mentors."
- Renee D. Diehl, Physics Today

"I strongly recommend this book. I believe that every potential graduate student or mentor should read it."
- International Statistical Review

"[...] valuable to students and their mentors in all sciences, hard or soft, and engineering."
- Choice

"[...] is this book practically useful? The answer is 'yes, yes, and yes!' [...] This is a true success! [...] a very good reading for students who plan to make a career in geosciences, educators who wish to supervise their students efficiently [...] and university managers who are responsible for an academic curriculum. The reviewer will recommend this book strongly to his students [...]"
- Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie


1. Introduction
2. What is science?
3. Choices, choices, choices
4. The adviser and thesis committee
5. Questions drive research
6. Giving direction to your work
7. Turning challenges into opportunities
8. Ethics of research
9. Using the scientific literature
10. Communication
11. Publishing a paper
12. Time management
13. Writing proposals
14. The scientific career
15. Applying for a job
16. Concluding remarks

Appendix A. Further reading
Appendix B. A sample curriculum
Appendix C. The Refer and BibTeX format

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Roel Snieder holds the Keck Foundation Endowed Chair of Basic Exploration Science at the Colorado School of Mines. In 1984 he received a Masters degree in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University, and in 1987 a Ph.D. in seismology from Utrecht University. For this work he received the Vening Meinesz award from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. In 1988 he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Universite Paris VI, and was appointed in 1989 as associate professor at Utrecht University. In 1993 he was promoted to full professor of seismology at Utrecht University, where from 1997-2000 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences. In 2000 he was elected as Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is also the author of A Guided Tour of Mathematical Methods: For the Physical Sciences (also published by Cambridge University Press). He has served on the editorial boards of Geophysical Journal International, Inverse Problems, and Reviews of Geophysics.

Ken Larner is University Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). He received the degree of geophysical engineer from CSM in 1960 and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. During his final nine years with Western Geophysical Company (1970-1988), he was vice president for geophysical research, leaving to become the Charles Henry Green Professor of Exploration Geophysics at CSM (1988-2004). He served as president of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) in 1988-89. In 1996 he received the SEG's highest award, the Maurice Ewing Gold Medal, and in 2003 the Kapitsa Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

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