This Scientific Life

Our contributors hail from all over the sciences — and all over the world. We’ll share what brought us to science, why we stay, and what makes us (occasionally) want to run away. There will be eureka moments, scientific screw-ups, advice to youngsters, peers, and elders, as well as whimsical stories about space exploration, fruit fly cognition, and how a neuron can live its best life.

I knew I wanted to be a scientist when…

Swept Away…

By Gaurav Jain

I decided to become a scientist when I heard my grandmother tell me, “You were rescued from death by a religious healer who swayed his broom over you when even doctors couldn’t cure the pneumonia you were born with.” I was shocked. Growing up in a part of northwestern India where any logic was easily […]

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The sincerest form of flattery

A Scientific Family Portrait

By Anasuya Das

The conference is for vision scientists, by vision scientists, but it is held in a sprawling hotel that is disguised to look like a cheap 1960s motel resort, complete with fake palms, tropical cocktail vending tepee huts and captive swans. Giant blue sea creatures are painted onto whitewashed halls, while friendly staff in flowery shirts […]

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I knew I wanted to be a scientist when…

Coincidences

By Marcela H. Coronado

There it was. An elephant in the parking lot of the shopping mall. The circus had arrived in one of the new suburbs of Guadalajara, and they decided to make better use of the vacant parking lot by placing the circus tent there. I was walking towards the bus stop when I discovered him. I […]

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My Biggest Goof...

Fire in a Teacup

By Aditi Nadkarni

The year was 2004 and I was on my way to becoming a PhD candidate. I had just joined the laboratory of my choice and felt like I was on the verge of making my first big splash in science. The Toledo Blade, the city’s leading newspaper, had just interviewed Phil, a senior graduate student […]

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Lab Confidential

Startup Science: a How-to Guide

By Rachel Denison

Just got your first Assistant Professor job? Congratulations! You’ve spent the last goodness-knows-how-many years immersing yourself in your specialty, mastering cutting-edge techniques, and honing your benchcraft. But few of these skills can help you now. To meet the challenge of running a lab – of managing people instead of data – get some tips from […]

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The sincerest form of flattery

Going Nowhere Fast

By Alex I. Malz

. . . And when you say “going nowhere fast,” you cannot possibly be describing me, because you think going signifies change in space as a function of time, in other words, the motion in a spatial dimension over a duration of some temporal interval, whereas my existence, if not my experience, is not defined […]

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