I’m not a fan of the abstract in my thesis:
This thesis uses Kauffman skein theory to give several new results. We show a correspondence between Kauffman and Homfly satellite invariants with coefficients modulo 2, when we take certain patterns from the respective skeins of the annulus. Using stacked tangles we construct a polynomial time algorithm…
And I’ll stop there before I lose every reader of this blog for ever! I look at my thesis now and again, and whenever I read my abstract I think, “What does it all mean? Why would anyone care? Why did I care?”
Of course, abstracts are needed to share what a thesis is about. They have a place. I think it would have been helpful for me, to boost how I thought about my thesis, if I also wrote a blurb – the kind of thing you read on the back of a book or a DVD box that’s there to draw someone in.
Maybe instead of using lots of big words to say very little at all I could have said something like:
Do you like knots but don’t know how to tell them apart? I can help with that! This book describes my explorations of several ideas that explained some unsolved maths mysteries. I went further than anyone else had gone before! I didn’t quite get everything I wanted, but I got more than I thought possible when I started. Read on to find out more!
Perhaps it wouldn’t have what my examiners needed, but it could have done something to help me.
What could you write about your thesis to excite yourself? If your abstract needs a little oomph to boost your confidence, what kind of blurb could you write?