My wife’s social science PhD is as confusing as my maths dissertation — do I have the high ground?
Junaid Mubeen

Great article!

I would claim that you are “not exempt” from the goal of articulating even the most complex mathematical ideas in the simplest way. The the beauty of almost all science and art is to use the minimum words in poetry , lines of code, steps in proofs, oil in paintings to bring the expression to life.

That is why best short stories are harder to write than epic novels. The mastery of Shakespeare’s works is the precision of every word. The elegance of the Gettysburg address is that Lincoln moved the nation in 600 words (or so). If we had prattled on for 60 minutes, we would have long forgotten the message and the meaning.

I often see, in many professions, the propensity for verbosity, jargon and even opaqueness. As if people believed the old joke about not being able to “dazzle with brilliance”.

Often, the only ones baffled are themselves when they start to believe in the beauty of their complexity. “Oh, what a world we would have if everyone knew what I knew”. IMO, that is sloppy self delusion.

Although certainly not alone, Social scientists are particularly at risk at jargon speech.

Think of the impact that truly great communicators have whether in arts, education, business. They are at their best when they take hard concepts, complex issues and simplify them to their core and make us understand. The beauty of “ah, now I understand” moment.

That is what PhD’s should be measured by. To be a true master or “doctor” it should appear easier rather than harder.

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