As part of my ongoing blabbing about the peculiarities of science, I thought I'd share a fun story where it made good sense for me to try and derail my own career.
Following my graduation from my PHD program, I joined a prestigious-ish lab at the University of Chicago as a postdoc (the now-mandatory period of career purgatory that now bridges one's schooling and - hopefully - future career). Initially, I was somewhat excited about the gig. The lab's PI (the professor, the boss) was a really smart guy who had changed research focuses several times (this is extremely rare for faculty-level people) and made interesting breakthroughs each time he'd done so. The lab had just crapped out a large number of extremely high-impact papers and I was eager to join the gravy train.
Last year, Susan and I decided to finally take the plunge and rent out our spare bedroom on AirBnB. This move was something we'd discussed on several occasions. On paper, it set up well for us. We live in a high floor of a lakefront high-rise building in a nice neighborhood in Chicago, with easy access to downtown and all the touristy things in the city. Chicago also has really high hotel prices, which only go higher as demand surges in the summer months. After a busy summer, I thought I'd write about our experiences.
With the beginning of the new school year (and the attendant flood of "here's my snowflake's first day of Xth grade" pics on Facebook) it's dawned on me that - sigh - some of my high school classmates now have KIDS old enough to be on the cusp of going to college. Rather than wallow in my ever-increasing proximity to death, I thought it would be more productive to funnel this angst into something useful - a primer on picking a school for students interested in a career in the sciences (this includes vocational schools, like PT, dental and med school as well). As a scientist, I've traveled from the esophagus to the anus of the educational system, and (pardon the pun) I've seen some shit along the way.
Another one of my favorite science stories: the tale of how Jonas Frisen of the Karolinska Institute enlisted the help of nuclear physicists to unravel one of the most pernicious problems in modern neurobiology.
As I've written in the past, people who dislike animal research have little idea just how difficult it is to do effective studies in people. While it's possible to do more descriptive studies in animals (under proper regulations, of course), when human subjects become involved things become much more limited. As a researcher, I can get permission to give people surveys and tests, perform various scans, collect blood and maybe the occasional biopsy. Other than that, you start hitting walls. In addition to being frustrating, it slows down research progress dramatically.
Noah's Inner Monologue
Scribblings of a man who can barely operate an idiotproof website.