Richwine Dissertation Committee Humor

Deciphering Academic Talk

The following list of phrases and their definitions might help you understand the mysterious language of science and medicine. These special phrases are also applicable to anyone working on a Ph.D. dissertation or academic paper anywhere!

  • "It has long been known" = I didn't look up the original reference.
  • "A definite trend is evident" = These data are practically meaningless.
  • "While it has not been possible to provide definite answers to the questions" = An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.
  • "Three of the samples were chosen for detailed study" = The other results didn't make any sense.
  • "Typical results are shown" = This is the prettiest graph.
  • "These results will be in a subsequent report" = I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.
  • "In my experience" = once.
  • "In case after case" = twice.
  • "In a series of cases" = thrice.
  • "It is believed that" = I think.
  • "It is generally believed that" = A couple of others think so, too.
  • "Correct within an order of magnitude" = Wrong.
  • "According to statistical analysis" = Rumor has it.
  • "A statistically oriented projection of the significance of these findings" = A wild guess.
  • "A careful analysis of obtainable data" = Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of pop.
  • "It is clear that much additional work will be required before a complete understanding of this phenomenon occurs"= I don't understand it.
  • "After additional study by my colleagues"= They don't understand it either.
  • "Thanks are due to Joe Blotz for assistance with the experiment and to Cindy Adams for valuable discussions" = Mr. Blotz did the work and Ms. Adams explained to me what it meant.
  • "A highly significant area for exploratory study" = A totally useless topic selected by my committee.
  • "It is hoped that this study will stimulate further investigation in this field" = I quit.

11 Reasons Why Writing a Dissertation is Harder than Having a Baby

1. Three months before your due date, your doctor doesn't say, "I want you to go back and re-do the first trimester's
2. Unlike advisors, you can switch doctors without having to start over.
3. Conceiving a baby is WAY more fun than conceiving a topic.
4. You know exactly how long a pregnancy takes.
5. Friends and relatives don't question the worth of a baby.
6. You don't need to explain repeatedly to friends and family what it takes to make a baby and why you're not through yet.
7. No one will make you go to grad school before having a baby.
8. Everyone will say your baby is cute and you'll believe them.
9. Babies don't require proper footnoting or adherence to a style manual.
10. You can freely borrow other people's stuff if you're having a baby and not be accused of plagiarism.
11. No one will complain if your baby is too similar to another one.


The Top Ten Lies Told by Graduate Students
(according to "The Harvard Crimson")

10. It doesn't bother me at all that my college roommate is making $80,000 a year on Wall Street.
9. I'd be delighted to proofread your book/chapter/article.
8. My work has a lot of practical importance.
7. I would never date an undergraduate.
6. Your latest article was so inspiring.
5. I turned down a lot of great job offers to come here.
4. I just have one more book to read and then I'll start writing.
3. The department is giving me so much support.
2. My job prospects look really good.
1. No really, I'll be out of here in only two more years


The Truth about Grad Students, Post-docs, and Professors

A grad student, a post-doc, and a professor are walking through a city park and they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke.
The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."
"Me first! Me first!" says the grad student. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat with a gorgeous woman who sunbathes topless." Poof! He's gone.
"Me next! Me next!" says the post-doc. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with a professional hula dancer on one side and a Mai Tai on the other." Poof! He's gone.
"You're next," the Genie says to the professor.
"I want those guys back in the lab after lunch."


                                                          Last Updated on 12/05/17

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