Dumbed down summary of 30 Reddit PhD theses.

in funny •  last year

While wasting my time on Facebook, a friend of mine shared a link to somewhat popular light reading website.

The title was "20 PhD Students Dumb Down Their Thesis Just For Us. #6 Is Brilliant." (they said 15 in the url, go figure)

After having my pint of giggles, buried under all the ads I found (thanks uBlock for all the help) the source..

in a small text size there was a link - via Reddit.

At that point I decided - I must share this with all my new friends on Steem.

I became aware that dumbing down PhD theses is a regular thing there.

Following you can see some of the best dumbed down theses from 2015. There was a 2016 thread, but the quality seemed down. Still, if you want to read them, follow the source.

Or.. read some of the best, here - on the blockchain :


"This protein looks like it might contribute to asthma. Oh, turns out it probably doesn't."

"Making new magnets from old magnets because we're running out of magnets."

"Girls take birth control. Girls pee out unmetabolized estrogens from birth control. Pee goes to water treatment plant, estrogens not treated, male fish become female fish."

"Little things stick together. Here's a slightly easier way to calculate their stickiness."

"If you put some plastics in water they swell up. If you put them under the skin they absorb tissue fluid and swell up. Ta da new skin."

"Water will freeze if you hit it hard enough."

"Two proteins touch each other in a specific place in the developing heart. No idea if it's important for anything."

"I can make models of galaxies in a computer, but I can't explain why they don't act like real ones. Even if I bash them together or stir them around."

"Sand washes away, don't build important stuff on it"

"When I get rid of this gene, it messes the brain up. A lot."

"Inpatients with schizophrenia are happier and socialize more in the context of a music listening group. It was obvious before we began the project and we learned nothing."

"If you buy expensive lasers and shine them into a microscope, you can take 3D pictures of brains and stuff that map out the chemicals inside them."

"You can make antimatter move in strange ways if you set your equipment up wrong."

"You're in a room with three mirrored walls in a triangle. WTF does it look like?"

"Why does a coffee stain looks the way it is, and how you can use it to make anti-laser glasses."

"Museums digitised their collections wrong, can we use computers to fix it? Sort of."

"Children learn by being a particular kind of dumb, and if you want a computer to learn from adults as fast as children do, you need to program it to start by being dumb in that way."

"cells have a thing that shut down protein synthesis. That thing's used clinically to kill cancer cells."

"Single cells sense their environment in basically the same way that human hearing works."

"My experimental drug does NOT cure addiction."

"Nanoparticles are weird and I accidentally made a bomb and electrocuted myself."

"A lot of my PhD was based around synthesising nanomaterials through a hydrothermal method. Mix an aqueous solution and your precursor together, stick them in an autoclave and heat it to over 100o C. In the instance of the explosion the mixture contained NaOH at 18M concentration and was heated to 180o C. Anyway, we're in the lab a few hours after the experiment was set up, when what sounds like a cat, made entirely of metal, starts to scream and then a loud bang followed by the oven door being thrown open as the, now, gaseous solution pours out (what with it being ~80o C over its room pressure boiling point). This stuff is basically concentrated bleach, so needless to say, we immediately leave the lab and take an early lunch... The teflon cap, aluminium disc and steel disc had all ruptured during the experiment. We believe that the person who had filled it (wasn't me) had over filled the vessel.
Got electrocuted when I tried to cool down my reactor with ice wrapped in blue roll. It was like 3am, I was tired, wanted to go home and sleep and the bloody thing wouldn't go below 35o C so I could set the next one up. It was pretty stupid, but I was tired of waiting.
PhD was about supporting metal nanoparticles on nanomaterials and using them as catalysts. Could go into more detail, but instead I'll just show you some pretty pictures I took with my electron microscope (we were basically left to learn how to use it ourselves so these are far from professional)."

"Can we find Higgs bosons here? No."

"The Higgs boson (or a very very Higgs-like particle) has been discovered for a few years now, thanks to the LHC. The Higgs is massive and unstable, so to detect it, you need to look at the things it decays into, then add those puzzle pieces back together. Part of my thesis was looking for a rare decay mode, and there simply wasn't enough data to see a signal inside all the noise, so we set a limit: "the Higgs is not decaying to this channel at 10 times the expected rate, or we would have seen something."
This is very common in experimental particle physics, most of the time you don't see anything, and that helps rule out exotic theories. And of course you'd publish that! You don't want some other group to waste precious time and energy doing a study that's already been (with the same data, at least). And you don't want to theorists to make new theories that don't conform with your study!"

"You can hide data files in a form of engineered noise in images, videos, audio, etc. You can also try to find if someone hid data in these objects. This has surprisingly large number of applications for security, authentication, forensics, identification and entertainment."

"bad sleep may be a cause of depression rather than a symptom of it. one explanation might be that bad sleep makes the brain preferentially process negative stuff. we can measure that bias in processing with my fancy new test."

"1) I defended my dissertation days ago, so have not published my findings yet, however,

  1. two resources, since many have asked: 1 2
  2. if you are suffering chronic disturbed sleep and/or depression, please talk to your healthcare provider about a referral to a sleep specialist and/or mental healthcare professional. Many effective treatments, both behavioral and pharmacological exist for depression and chronic sleep disturbance. With regard to the latter, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is exceedingly effective.
  3. I moderate for /r/sleep, please stop by to post questions or to keep an eye out for interesting research/articles that get posted relating to sleep"

"By asking 20 simple questions to 50 selected employees of a big firm (about their job satisfaction, habits and hobbies) you can estimate the following year's share price.

Empirical evidence strongly support that."

"3d printing good metal parts is very difficult and expensive with lots and trial of error. So why not do computer models before you print, to work out the kinks? Well, computer modeling of 3d printing processes is also very difficult."

"Mine is "You get new brain cells even as an adult. Alzheimer's disease screws up production of new brain cells, and screwing up production of new brain cells might cause Alzheimer's disease".

My wife's is "We made a mouse with a mutated cancer gene, but the mouse got autism instead".
I guess it's easier to summarize other people's work than it is to summarize your own?"

"Insulating foam is used on the space station. Sometimes electrical wires can overheat causing it to start smoldering. How and why does this happen, what would cause it to go from smoldering to an open fire and how can we stop this."

"Accounting rules are written for people, but read by computers. We can make them easier for computers to read."

"Pain, in all its forms, results from unmet expectations."

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