Category Archives: New ideas

Wissenschaftskolleg: It’s not just time to write, it is connections with fabulous novelists, thoughtful former politicians, historians, and scientists

Ever since I got to the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, I have been trying to understand  what I can offer it and what it can offer me. This is the script: I come here for 10 months, take no more than … Continue reading

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Why is your lab group so separate from your department?

Few things in research are more exciting than watching ideas build as one person augments the thinking of another. Each can arrive at a place unanticipated and impossible from lone thinking. I feel almost euphoric when this happens. It may … Continue reading

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You are not reading enough! Take a hierarchical approach

I hope by now you have subscribed to a bunch of topics using Google Scholar, including any citations to your own work. This will keep you informed on topics closest to you, even if you don’t read the papers through. … Continue reading

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Exactly how independent should your research be?

The significance of a Ph.D. degree is that you can do much more than excellent research. You can also think of what questions to ask. You know how to push at the most important unknowns. You can read the literature … Continue reading

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How to transform research in your field – does Rockefeller University have the answer?

Imagine you have a decade or so to transform research in your field. What would you do? Would you stop doing whatever you are doing to do things differently? What is a transformation anyway? I am thinking about this because … Continue reading

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Do mouse people talk outside their group? Do you?

Creativity research says to reach outside your group to come up with innovative ideas. I’ve written before on this topic, referencing Burt‘s work on structural holes and who is at risk for a new idea. Right now I’m at Janelia … Continue reading

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NSF Preproposals – a failed idea at DEB and IOS?

Preproposals came to DEB and IOS about three years ago to solve the problem of too many proposals and too few willing reviewers. They were also thought to solve the problem of too much investigator time wasted on writing unfunded … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Grant proposals, Grants, New ideas, NSF | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The trouble with paradigm shifts

We biologists know well the popular version of Thomas Kuhn‘s famous work, The structure of scientific revolutions, and we all want to shift paradigms in our research. This has serious negative consequences. Let me explain. Kuhn in his famous, paradigm … Continue reading

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Do you think a lot about scientific predictions?

A couple of weeks ago Alex Broadbent gave a talk in our seminar series on the history and philosophy of science and medicine. The point of the talk was a philosophical one, what is a good prediction? He was interested … Continue reading

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Who gets to tell the story?

Why didn’t the writer of that important new review cite your work? After all, it is on exactly that topic. This is unfair. It is easy to feel aggrieved. Why should you bother to work so hard on your research … Continue reading

Posted in New ideas, Publishing your work, Writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments