In Scientopia today, a classic topic: mortals writing letters of reference for mortals.
10 years ago
Dear Professor of Science,OK, so he tried. He looked up some of my papers, picked a couple that may have looked interesting to him, maybe took some notes of some words in the abstracts or titles, and put this information in the letter.
My name is Student, and I will be graduating from University in spring 2012. I am looking into graduate programs for the fall, and am interested in your research program. Will you be taking on any new MS/PhD students next year? [<-- all that is fine so far]
In particular, I am fascinated by your work on "Title of old, obscure paper that is an outlier in my usual research topics" and how you applied [incorrect name for a technique] to [something I never did] in "Title of second paper that doesn't have anything to do with anything else listed so far." I would like to work on topics like this under your direction as advisor at [name of my university].
Attached is my CV.