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Pavel Zhilin
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About education

One should love the students.

You should never answer questions which you are not asked. This is exactly the main fault of our educational system. A student is still not prepared to ask himself the question, and he already gets an answer.

You should explain as if intended for a fool, then even a clever one may understand you.

Question: What one should do to feel comfortable with the audience?
Answer: Do not try to seem more clever than you are.

About young scientists

I never look at a student's marks. The only criterion of his ability for scientific work is if he comes with a solved problem.

Usually the top student is like a mirror - he repeats exactly what he is taught. This is useful for passing exams, but not good for research.

Question: What is required to be successful in science?
Answer: In the first place I would put eagerness for work, in the second - stubbornness (they beat you and you don't give up), and only in the third place talent.

You should do science only in the case you can't do otherwise.

About defense of one's thesis

Question: What impression should I give while defending my professorial thesis, to avoid any problems?
Answer: A hard working fool.

The Professorial degree characterizes not the scientific but rather the fighting abilities of the person.

What goes easiest, is the defence of a WEAK Professorial thesis.

To PhD student: You must know how to take the blows.

The Professorial thesis differs from the PhD mainly by the method of presenting the material.

Don't think that anybody will be happy with your success

About science

(About a certain scientific area)
I personally don't like it. That is why I am glad that there exist people, who happily do these useful things.

In science as in the theatre. There is a prima donna, and there is a chorus. But without a chorus there is no theatre.

K. has got a paper for review. He doesn't like it, and he asks Z. for advice, should he write negative review or not.
Zhilin: This paper is not better and not worse then other papers that are already published. You don't like what the author is doing — well, do it better!

A good tool is one which the investigator knows how to use


Scientists should not earn a lot of money. Otherwise they will be replaced by those, who will come for this money.

Zhilin and his colleague are in subway. They see a beggar who is asking for money.
Question: What do you think, should I give money in such situations?
Answer: For YOU it is good.


The cleverness of the crowd is the intersection of the cleverness of the individuals, but the silliness is the union..

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