Field of Science

Student Symposiums

I'm currently in the middle of a two day symposium for the students. We all make a presentation of our work, and then show it to fellow students and any staff that happen to be floating around. I know this has been done before, but it honestly feels like speaking (and listening!) in code, especially having talked to all my friends before hand and heard the true stories behind the neat little slides. So here's the student version of what you say in a presentation (on the left) vs. what you actually mean (on the right):

In vivo

It works, but I don’t know why

In vitro

It works if I fiddle the salt concentration

In silico

The computer says it works!

It is known that

I’m sure I read a paper on this

It is thought that

My supervisor thinks that

It is generally thought that

The PostDoc agrees with the supervisor

It is believed that

I think that

Unpublished work by Dr. X shows that

My supervisors friends think that

Results were not conclusive…

It didn’t work

… despite multiple repetitions…

Didn’t work the second time either

…including work done by Dr. Y…

Still didn’t work when my supervisor did it

…and collaboration with Dr. X…

Or my supervisors friends

…and attempts at methods suggested by the literature…


The results show

My correlations are good

The results indicate

My correlations are present

The results suggest

My correlations only work if you ignore the error bars

The results seem to suggest

I have no correlations

The results, although inconclusive, may be helpful…

I have no results


Psi Wavefunction said...

I don't think those phrases are particularly student-specific...

I also like how "defies explanation" means "Srsly, this shit is weird and we have no fucking clue" in literature...

James King said...

And how many of these phrases did you use? Hehe. Very good!

Lab Rat said...

@Psi: I would be tempted to say the phrases are seen across the academic spectrum, but they desperate scrambling for something to show (and frequent recourse to the professor/someone else) is a particularly student thing. Especially the way our projects are done, where you get a fixed time, then told to stop, then expected to present some form of results.

@James: ha! now that would be telling...

Captain Skellett said...

Arr, it be too true. May I use it on me own blog?

Lab Rat said...

@Skellet: of course you can! As long as you acknowledge it's from the Lab Rat and link back here. :)

Psi Wavefunction said...

I'm actually at this point where I just go ahead and use the phrases on the right...actual conversation recently:
"Did it work?"
"Of course not!"
*nearby labmates snicker to themselves*