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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The asymptotyc PhD

I was good at school. I've always been. At the high school, I'd read my science book in the two or three days after receiving it, and then I'd be done. Probably, the understanding wasn't perfect, specially for physics, and chemistry, but biology would be a doodle. University wasn't much different, the time to pass the exams was spent mostly memorising the stuff the way the professors wanted it, not by grasping the concept - exception made for QM and StatMech.

So, why do I feel like I can't get to the damn PhD, which i started begin of 2001? I've spent now four years and a half, let's say five to account for the hours spent re-running things while I was writing up. Ok, since then I haven't been idle, I'm one year inside anm industrial postdoc and have learned so many new things at work, and outside. Still, i can't help but feel that I've lost the magic touch. May be I have reached my maximum potential? I don't think so. I still spend very little time on research... exactly like ten or fifteen years ago, I just do what's necessary, and devote the rest of my time to learn new things - things which are undeniably cool, but don't bring home the bread - other than to the amount to which my wide-spanning knowledge impresses people during job interviews, that is.

I sometimes thought that I am not really lin love with science, I just collect cool things to say to impress people - especially girls - almost all of my girlfriends I attracted this way... I'm kind of a sea urchin, coating myself with hard and shiny piece of science to show off myself... interesting idea uh? or may be not.

Fact is, I don';t think I am researcher material - not really. I know many of them and they have such a focus on their field which I can't simply match. I like to discover new theories, yes. I like to learn some new techniques. I even like playing with them for a while - But then my interest dries up. Sometimes, just before being able to wrap up what I have done in a publication of sort. Hence my sparsely populated publication list. may be I just haven't found my field, yet. May be I should really have gone into biology, discarding the concerns on the ability to find a job later on. As I used to say to my younger friendss, there's always a place for the best in the field: is the mediocre who has to recycle him/herself. Am I mediocre?

Or is this long tirade just another excuse to avoid having a look at my PhD Thesis correction, or even finally getting down to write the apparently insightful work on drugs' cardio vascular safety I spent my last year on? Cheery-o!!!

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