The purpose of this course is to give graduate
students early in their career experience with the vital skill of giving professional talks.
One very important aspect of this is to choose the level of your talk
based upon your own level of knowledge and the level expected of your audience.
As (mostly) first year graduate students, we expect that you are not at a level
of preparation that you would have giving a talk at a professional conference.
You will be graded on content and presentation, but the grade on content
is more on consistency and "absence of holes" than on the level per se (high
school – college – graduate student – faculty –
world expert). Do not include in your talk any material that you do not
Rule of thumb: If you don't mention something
in your talk, it is impolite for someone in the audience to ask you a question about it.
Whatever you do mention in your talk is fair game for questions. If you mention
something you do not understand, you are opening Pandora's Box and should expect
to run into trouble. This happens all the time at professional meetings.
Your talk should be planned to take a total of 30 minutes. Ten more minutes will be
used for questions and comments.
Make sure to rehearse your talk (several times!) so that you know your timing is right.
It is a cardinal sin of giving a talk to run over time.
We assume that you have access to an appropriate computer and ask that you use
some other electronic format, e.g., pdf, for showing slides on a computer projector. However, see
the above warning on misuse of Powerpoint!
The computer projector will be available in the seminar room, B-131. To use it you should bring
your own laptop computer, borrow one from a friend, or sign out one of the "loaner" laptop computers
from Joe Feliciano or Frank Chin in the Instructional Lab Room, A-131, during normal working hours. You can
practice your talk in the seminar room, B-131. You can also do it in the Graduate Student Lounge on the
A level "bridge" between Physics and "Old Physics." A desktop computer is there permanently hooked up
to a computer projector. It is not connected to the internet, so you must bring the file of your
talk to it on, e.g., a memory stick or a CD.
A pull-down projection screen is available for displaying the projected image.
You must make an appointment to meet with one of the instructors at least one week prior
to the day you are scheduled to give your talk in class. At that meeting you will be
show a preliminary version of your talk to the instructor. Before that, you should
already have given a (pre-)preliminary version of your talk to a trial audience,
e.g., fellow students.
The comments you get from both your trial audience and the instructor will be helpful
for making changes before you give your talk "for real."
After your talk, your slides (convert into pdf) will be
posted on the course webpage until the end of the semester.
|List of topics:
topics are taken from
the last two years of the News & Views section of Nature. Each
is an active link to an overview article describing the general topic and giving a small number of references.
You must decide how to craft from your chosen topic an understandable, interesting 30 minute talk
that will be suitable for your fellow students in the class.
signup sheet will be posted on Prof. Schneble's
office door, A-106.
Within one week after the organizational meeting, fill in a topic
number next to your name in the schedule, and cross out that topic on the
list of topics.
With permission of an instructor you may change your
topic after signing up, but make sure to erase your
name completely, so that somebody else wanting that
topic may take it.
If your name is not already there, fill in your
last name in one of the empty slots, but we will have no more than two talks per day. Choice of topics will
be first come – first served. Two
students may not choose the same topic (note that
some of the topics on the list may be closely
related and therefore may count as the same)
DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES (DSS): If you have a
physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact your
course work, please contact Disability Support Services (631) 632-6748 or
http://studentaffairs.stonybrook.edu/dss/. They will determine with you what
accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation
is confidential. ----------- Students who require assistance during emergency
evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and
Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the following
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Each student must pursue his
or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted
work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty
are required to report any suspected instance of academic dishonesty to the
Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity,
including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic
judiciary website at
INCIDENT MANAGEMENT: Stony Brook University expects students to respect
the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to
report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts
their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment,
and/or inhibits students' ability to learn