Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dear incoming students who want to work with me

In these days, there are many students that write and candidate themselves to a Ph.D. position. I thank these students for the attention they give to me. However, they should read  what I write below carefully.
I want to tell them that in Italy, the procedure is not like in other States where the professor choses directly his/her Ph.D at any time of the year. We have a selection (meaning a competition) to which they should apply. In my Department, in any case, the professor has to say that, for a certain year, he/she wants to support a student, and has to co-finance the grant. So the fact that you show up and start a discussion is positive.

Regarding the matter, these students send me their CV which is sometime notable but rarely coincident with my research directions.  I do not want to be brutal, however, they have to refocus on the idea that I work hard  to pursue my own research, and, if they want to work with me, they need to like what I like. So in their presentation to me a statement like, "I would really like to work with you on the topic [put here one topic on which I work]",  is relieving me from some pain and shows that you are a smart man or woman.  Occasionally I also organise summer schools that are a good way to get in touch with me, and a place were I can evaluate you directly. [We can often give up your tuition fees (but we do not have money to support your travelling).]

Usually, I am not interested in river hydraulics, nor in sediment transport, not even in computational fluid mechanics (except maybe to integrate Navier-Stokes equations). Neither I am a structural engineer or a civil engneer, in strict sense. Other people at my Department are very good in the above topics, and they should be searched if the student want to pursue  those researches instead than mine. 

I am a hydrologist, and my interest are more or less depicted here, in these posts. What I am really working in these days are the Jgrass-NewAGE system (see also Wuletawu Abera defense post) and the informatics to build the new GEOtop. In perspective, I am also very interested in the thermodynamics (theory and implementation) of hydrological processes.

I pretend that a candidate has programming skills in Java or C++ (and Python), or the willing to pursue them. All the code my group develops is intended to be free software, and must be produced with appropriate documentation. Do not bother me, if you do not agree with this or you do not want to write code.
The reflection about research reproducibility and replicability is part itself of  my research work and, in my view "open-sourceness" is part of the process to obtain them.

To have an idea of my research see the projects I recently presented (WATER-MIX, PRECISE, WATSUP, Adige-CARITRO) for a possible funding. 

To see what I mean for a Ph.D. you can read here. It can be exciting, but it deserves the right mental and general attitude.

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