Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where To Begin

The world of scientific research can be a tricky place to be sometimes. I've often joked, "If we knew how things would turn out, it wouldn't be called an experiment." There's two ways to go about research too: one can either seek out something that someone else has done and apply it to one's own field of study or one can embark on new uncharted territory in hopes of developing a technique that nobody else has done but that others will likely seek out and apply to their own fields of study in the future. The former has the obvious advantage in that it's simpler, more elegant, and generally produces research that gets funded. The latter though is where science can be much more interesting. And much more frustrating.

You can probably guess where my work is currently leading me.

I don't mind that the work itself is frustrating. What I find more painful is when I'm told that certain things are "impossible". I must say, I loathe that word. Yes, the tasks before me are difficult. Yes, they will take a lot of thought, a lot of rethinking, and a lot of collaboration and advice from others. Yes, I will have to synthesize a protocol out of various bits and pieces from people that are working on things far outside of my intended targets. But that doesn't in any way equate "impossible" at this stage in the game and thus, "impossible" seems like entirely the wrong place to begin.

Right now, I have options. Another word for options is possibilities. Only after every single one of them is exhausted will I succumb to declaring the path before me "impossible". That might be where I end, but there's no way that's where I plan to begin.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Great introspective post, Lisa.