Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Statistics is awesome. 
Why the hell did I resist for so long?

Pasteur's insight

Listening to the Science Friday podcast this morning I was drawn to a Louis Pasteur quote: 

"Chance favors the prepared mind."

Ira quoted Pasteur when introducing a story on recent amazing observation of the early stages of a supernova.  What a fantastic description of how most great scientific discoveries occur.  We train ourselves, believe in our instinct, and use science to discover the why behind our luck.  What a brilliant man Pasteur was.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blind leading blind?

This afternoon I got a call from a young woman who is finding herself in the same position I was in a little over a year ago.  She's considering graduate school, studying in my area of research, and was looking for advice and help making contacts.  I tried to help, I can remember so many seemingly futile efforts at making first contact.  I still feel like I got here simply by luck and a series of chance happenings, so I don't feel completely qualified to offer advice.  I also feel a little guilty about having gotten this opportunity.  Let me explain, one of those chance happening was being introduced to my current advisor at a meeting just over a year ago.  The young woman who called me today was also attending the meeting and also introduced to my current advisor.  Somehow, almost magically,  a year later I ended up here - hence the guilt.  I don't know, I guess I just feel unqualified to advise someone on how to get your foot in the graduate school door.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

TGINFW? Thank god it's not finals week!

A recent post from ScienceWoman has me relieved that I'm not dealing with finals right now while my focus is trying to be productive in the research arena.  It's interesting to hear the finals stress from the point of view of the professor.  I've often wondered about the effect this stress environment has on professors and students like.  Though I must admit that reading her blog was the first time I truly considered exam stress from a professors point of view.  I've heard professors describe stress dreams they have about still being a student and missing exams.  But the stress of being a professor sounds equally awful, if not worse.  Fear of being unprepared to give an exam to all those students must be so much worse than our fear of being unprepared to take the exam.  As students there is some small measure of anonymity when taking exams and being graded, but professors have none.  Some times I wonder why we chose this academic life?