Seven Ages of the PhD

I read a really interesting and introspective article in Nature recently – “Seven Ages of the PhD” – documenting individual scientists’ experiences and insights as PhD students in the past 7 decades.

Generally, each decade has an overarching tone in one’s approach to research, a pervading mindset towards science and discovery, if you will. The contributors ranged from a British biologist who worked with Rosalind Franklin to a Chinese glaciologist working after the Cultural Revolution crushed Chinese academia to a Nigerian chemist whose home university did not have the necessary equipment to conduct her research.

It was wholly inspirational and I cannot wait to start my PhD 🙂


1950s: the age of formality

1960s: the age of independence

1970s: the age of innocence

1980s: the age of internationalism

1990s: the age of revolution

2000s: the age of perseverance

2010s: the age of communication

“A good PhD often raises more questions than it solves.”
— Raymond Gosling


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