Harold Varmus is the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes. Check out a tribute to Dr. Varmus below.
Posts Tagged ‘American Scientists’
Over the past few weeks, we have explored the question of what constitutes scientific success and several important “comandments” for achieving this holy grail. In this post, we will discuss a presentation given by a young scientist at Delft University of Technology, who has expressed frustration with the common use of publication rate for defining scientific achievement. The presentation is especially noteworthy as it comes from a young scientist, Guenevere Prawiroatmodjo, who has yet to been tainted by years of politicking to climb the academic ladder. Nonetheless she is clearly bothered by the importance that is attached to an end-result that doesn’t pay tribute to, or encourage sharing of the entire scientific process. Not just results.
As Dr. Richard Feynmen so eloquently stated:
There isn’t any place to publish what you actually did in order to get to do the work
So what is Dr. Prawiroatmodjo’s solution to this problem? To create more openness and to share more parts of the scientific process. Furthermore, she postulates that it is critical to stimulate scientific motivation by encouraging entrepreneurship and commercialization.
In this vein, Dr. Prawiroatmodjo has come up with the “p” index which ranks scientific success as the number of times a scientist’s techniques or scientific tools have been used by the scientific community. In other words, if the “h” index ranks scientists by the number of citations their publication has received in the scientific literature, the “p” index ranks scientists by the impact their scientific methodology has had on the scientific community.
In previous posts we covered 8 metrics to define scientific success and a full length video of Darren Griffin’s ten commandments for becoming a successful scientist. In the post below, we’ve written out these comandments for those readers who may not have 54 minutes to spare watching the full talk.
- There is only one way to do good research: get on with it!
- When opportunity knocks, open the door
- Build a team of people that are better than you are
- It’s not about your knowledge. It’s about your imagination, ideas and talented friends
- Always bring something to the party when collaborating (don’t forget it’s “give and take”)
- It’s not the size of your gun-it’s when you shoot. Timing is everything.
- If the systen doesn’t work for you-change it, do something else, or don’t complain! Nobody likes a winer
- Don’t ask why. Ask why not. How can you improve? Don’t take no for an answer right away when your grant or paper is rejected. Every no is one step closer to a yes! Learn how to turn rejection into an opportunity.
- The journey is often far more rewarding than the destination.
- Be nice to people! What goes around comes around.
What are your thoughts about Griffin’s commandments?
In our last post on career success, we touched upon 8 metrics that people use to judge the success of their scientific career. The post was based on a talk given by a senior scientist at the University of Kent in England and we felt that it would be useful to give you access to the entire talk in the video below. After watching the video, please share with us your thoughts on what it takes to become a successful scientist.
Everyone wants to be successful. Whether it is in school, in our relationships or in our career, success is a key motivator of personal behavior. In order to define success, one must be judged. After all, how is it possible to measure one’s level of success without passing judgement.
As scientists, success, and therefore evaluation and judgement form the cornerstone of our careers. Levels of funding and promotion are often based on measurements of success as well as professional respect and the feeling of self worth. For example, several weeks ago we wrote about the problems associated with the infamous journal impact factor. The JIF, as it is affectionately known, ranks journals by their importance and publications in high impact journals are often used as a method of evaluating the performance of individual scientist. One reader commented that the JIF had been used to promote a colleague who, on the surface, seemed less promotion-worthy than his better-funded peer based on the misuse of the JIF as a metric of success.
How the American scientific community defines success, will definitely determine the future of scientific America. Everyone wants to be successful. Tell me what the definition of success is and I will do everything in my power to acheive it. That is what’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So how do we define success? How do we want to be judged? Below is a list of ideas that I heard from a recent talk given by a scientist from the world of chemistry.
Scientists are judged based on their:
- Successful completion of graduate students
- Industrial Links
- Scientific Impact (think JIF or citations)
- Student Reviews
- Administrative Leadership
- Academic Ranking (i.e. professor versus associate)
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is certainly a good start. If we want a strong scientific America, we need noble metrics of scientific success.
How do you define scientific success? What are your career goals?