Skip to main content

Iteration Iteration Iteration

The more I get involved in research and academia I realize the importance of iterating. I have learned to roll my eyes or get really exasperated at the idea of inventing something totally knew or unheard of because, to me at least and I can feel myself getting jaded, it is completely naive to think that you won't need help/ the knowledge of others to come up with something revolutionary. Grad school has been really good at teaching me the importance of community, both socially and academically when developing new ideas or innovations. We are constantly improving on past ideas and seeing where new metrics or indices would be helpful to move us forward.

When I talk to people about make a true impact or thinking that this one paper will solve it all, I am blown away by how truly selfish I find that. Everyone in our field is working towards a common goal of understanding and you think that, your 2 years of grad school will be the break through we all need? At the same time I realize how important having this new energy is to keep things moving. We need to be able to ask why and how and is there a better way. I can feel myself losing that ability as I get so ingrained in my lab's methods that I forget to question if it makes sense.

All I can say is I'm learning that you probably won't come up with the best answer the first time but there is incredible value in putting yourself out there to be criticized so your next idea is slightly better than the last.


  1. Thanks for the post. I have made the same observation as you about iterations. Rinse, lather, repeat is the mantra. This is partially because validity is discredited without reproducibility. Unfortunately, this means that much of the work of the researcher isn't novel or often, even interesting. The reason that I returned to academia is because as a technical professional I was stuck doing the same assignments repeatedly. Boring. The bright side of iterative work in academia is that I get to choose the topic. Thanks again for the post.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mission Statements

I chose to look at and compare the mission statements of 3 colleges/ universities close to my family; Michigan State University (MSU), Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) and Macalester College. I was interested in how the mission of a small liberal arts college like Macalester would compare with two much larger universities and how an international setting would alter the stated mission.

All three missions are quoted below with links to finding them. Examining each mission statement I was struck by how the different emphases related back to the school's identity. AAIT emphasizes the importance of "technology transfer" which I think is vital to helping educate the public of Ethiopia. MSU, as a contrast, emphasizes research and improving quality of life around the world and Macalester, as an internationally oriented small liberal arts school, really reflects this in their stated mission. I am interested in the contrasting lengths and vagueness that comes with establ…

Open Access Journal

I'm all for open access to science but I do wonder - why do we have to pay 4,000 dollars for it to happen? I chose to look at Environmental Science and Technology, an American Chemical Society journal. The about the journal section is brief and states it's goals almost exclusively as a research journal with little/no attention to a broader audience or to generating discussion outside of the field. The journal, as an American Chemical Society subset, gives a 3 options for open access. 4,000 dollars for immediate open access or 2,000 for open access in 12 months. They is very little discussion about it and it feels like a topic there because it needs to be and not because the journal really wants it there.

I chose an industry standard journal as opposed to one known for its radically accepting open access policies because I see these as the real challenge. Getting the big 'standard' journals to acknowledge and see the advantages to open access to me is the real fight. Ev…

Student Loans

Student loans make sense to me to a degree and that degree really only applies to my parents generation. When you were taking out a loan that you could realistically repay in a summer or two of full time work. I do moderately agree with the idea that you should have some stake in your education but , and this is where I get liberal, as an 18 year old you should not be allowed to make a decision that will essentially having you buy a house without the house. I think there is (was? I'm not sure if it has past now) an issue with parents not transparently conveying to their kids the cost of higher ed. I do know parents who were much more transparent with their children about it but that was not the majority.

I get that as parents you want to give your child the world and we are told growing up to apply to the best school you can but I think this is really misleading and honestly detrimental. I wish that in the US you could go to the best school you were qualified for regardless of cos…
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.