11 October 2009

If the Length of a Dissertation Means Something...

...then it is worth mentioning that John Forbes Nash, Jr., the person who is known for game theory, wrote a dissertation that was 32 pages long.

Yes, thirty-two pages long. Thirty-two freaking pages long!

In fact, if you want to see a copy of the dissertation, you can go to this webpage and find a PDF copy of his dissertation. It was type-written, has plenty of hand-written mathematical formulae, has two (yes, TWO!) citations, one of them being himself, and a short acknowledgment.

So, who is John Forbes Nash? If one watched the movie A Beautiful Mind, then one would know who this person is. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics back in 1994. He also is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

I never knew that a dissertation could be this short. At least in my field, psycholinguists typically write shorter dissertations than say, fieldwork-based linguists. So I expect my dissertation to be around the 150-250 page range. A fieldwork-based linguist would probably write around 600-700 pages.

If the length of one's dissertation signifies the amount of time that a person becomes insane, then indeed John Forbes Nash didn't have much time. That also means that I can be insane in the near future too. That also means that fieldworkers are the least insane linguists around. Hmmm, that hypothesis might be problematic.

(Treasury Department, from my Lafayette Square Series)


  1. Hahaha... good luck with your dissertation! Try to keep your sanity. :)

  2. Games theory, like the Prisoner's Game? I studied that in IR theory.

  3. May I be honest...?
    I recognize some early signs of paranoid schizophrenia in your blog posts ;-)

  4. Toe,

    Thank you. I always try to keep my sanity intact.


    What is IR theory?


    Hehe. I know, imagining that my papers are babies, giving them names, things like that, I think they are warning signs I should heed someday!