Time-Wasting Tip #12 for the Overworked Grad Student

Writer
Graduate Division

Got a long incubation time to kill? Waiting for your cells to spin? Bored in-between classes? In class?  Now, PhD Comics is a well-worn rite of passage for graduate students around the world. Synapse, for example, both publishes PhD Comics weekly in the newspaper and recently hosted a viewing of The PhD Movie at Parnassus campus (thanks to everyone who came!).

It seems like a requirement that every grad student become intimately familiar with the ups and (mostly hilarious) downs of each grad student and postdoc in the comic series. But how many people are familiar with PhD TV?

PhD TV (phdcomics.com/tv) encompasses five miniseries: “PhDetours,” “Things Explained,” “2 Minute Thesis,” “True Anomalies” and “The Audio Ph[i]D.” For the “2 Minute Thesis,” students from around the world submit their research in an easily digestible two-minute format and the winners get their research animated in PhD Comics style.

It’s fun to be reminded of the diversity of grad student research out there (physics, ecology, computer science — things we often forget about at a biomedical campus!) and see what other scientists are up to. My personal favorite might be “True Anomalies” — stories on the history of science.

One recent video tells the story of how the guinea pig was chosen as a model to diagnose the cause of scurvy way back in the day, and how unknowingly fortuitous this seemingly insignificant choice of model was. (Hint: humans are relatively unique in that we don’t make our own vitamin C.) The videos are all fairly short, easy to follow and funny — another great way to waste some time!

Check next week for another grad-student approved distraction — suggestions are welcome!