mala::home Davide “+mala” Eynard’s website


New year, new you

... starting from the blog theme. Of course I have just downloaded a ready made one, otherwise with my taste you would have probably gotten something painful for your eyes ;-)

New year's resolutions? Plenty. But after last year's ones, my  main resolution is no promises :-). And no creativity-killer posts: I'll try to stay far away from those topics I know will stop me from writing instead of  incentivating me. I'll try to make this fun and useful, first of all for me. And if you find something useful here too, well, good for you ;-)

Fist post of the year, first after a long while... And to leave you with some more food for thought than the one you would have just by reading news about my wordpress themes, here you are:

Alon, Uri: "How To Choose a Good Scientific Problem". Molecular cell doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2009.09.013 (volume 35 issue 6 pp.726 - 728).

Here's the abstract:

"Choosing good problems is essential for being a good scientist. But what is a good problem, and how do you choose one? The subject is not usually discussed explicitly within our profession. Scientists are expected to be smart enough to figure it out on their own and through the observation of their teachers. This lack of explicit discussion leaves a vacuum that can lead to approaches such as choosing problems that can give results that merit publication in valued journals, resulting in a job and tenure."

I found the paper very inspiring and I agreed with most of it. Here are few sentences I particularly liked:

  • "A lab is a nurturing environment that aims to maximize the potential of students as scientists and as human beings."
  • "The projects that a particular researcher finds interesting are an expression of a personal filter, a way of perceiving the world. This filter is associated with a set of values: the beliefs of what is good, beautiful, and true versus what is bad, ugly, and false."
  • "... when one can achieve self-expression in science, work becomes revitalizing, self- driven, and laden with personal meaning."

What do you think about it? I think that this self-expression, this possibility of projecting my personal values in my work is one of the main reasons I have chosen to do it. Of course, this is also constraining me somehow: what happens when I work with others? What if there is a clash of values between me and my collaborators? Finally, one last big question arises: how much is this applicable for other job? Is there a chance for everyone to achieve this self-expression or only for someone? What about those who can't?

Ok, enough food for today ;-) One last link, which you might find interesting if you liked this paper too: Uri Alon Lab homepage, where you can find more materials for nurturing scientists.

Take care, have a great 2012!

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