Thursday, October 23, 2008

More and more about less and less?

Dear readers, I want to disabuse you of a common assumption: that all life-science PhDs are about such narrow little areas.

I was struck by this because about a week ago, our lab interviewed a wannabe postdoc who came and gave a seminar on his thesis work.

It was a good talk. But it was NARROW. It was so narrow, in fact, that I was struck by how rarely narrow it was. I can't remember the last time I saw such a highly specialized thesis project.

In my experience, nowadays we have the world at our fingertips. Most PhD students want to learn lots of techniques, so they can ask lots of different kinds of questions. Most want high-impact papers, and for that you need some bigger picture experiments.

So I just wanted to put this little rant out there. WE'RE ACTUALLY NOT AS NARROW AS YOU MIGHT THINK.

And if you find yourself writing a thesis about a single protein or gene, with no context or in vivo function whatsoever? Try to see the forest for the trees.

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