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Posts tagged with "Who Discovers and Why"

  • Who Discovers and Why

    Now With the Great Taste of Fish!

    When I was in grad school, I tested out some new-fangled separatory funnel idea that some small company was trying to launch. I can’t locate a picture of one of the things, but it had a sort of piston/reservoir arrangement at the bottom, which let you draw the lower layer down and pour off the… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Ask Not

    I was struck by a point that came up in the comments to the last post, about how since discovery organizations are going to have a certain percentage of failures, why not use that as a measurement of whether or not they’re doing their job? Perhaps there should be a “failure quota” – if too… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Too Big to Discover Anything

    Raymond Firestone is a retired medicinal chemist with a long and distinguished career, most recently at Bristol-Meyers Squibb. He’s never been very shy about speaking his mind, in person or in print, and it’s nice to see that time has not mellowed him. A colleague, under the e-mail title of “Ray Firestone being Ray Firestone”… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play

    I enjoyed one of the recent comments to the “Why All the Gloom” post, where an IP lawyer mentions what people at the small startups told him: namely, that managers had figured out that by saying “No” they were right all the time, while saying “Yes” had a much lower chance of success. I know… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Men and Women and Science and Jobs

    That Greenspun piece that set off so much comment around here was ostensibly addressed to the position of women in science, but didn’t have much specific to say on the topic. So I thought I’d mention another article, by Peter Lawrence of Cambridge in PLoS Biology, that deals with the subject more directly. We’re heading… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Because I Never Lie, and I’m Always Right

    Something recently made me think back to an undergraduate physics lab that I once had to do. This was elementary optics, so we had the standard collection of lenses on a beaten-up optical bench as we did our Newtonian thing. There would be little reason for me to remember it if it hadn’t been for… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    A Scientific Aptitude Test?

    I’ve just spent some time reading a very enjoyable and interesting paper (PDF, and thanks to Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution) from Shane Frederick at MIT’s Sloan management school. He has a simple test that seems rather well correlated with a person’s appetite for financial risk-taking and their ability to postpone a smaller im… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Time and Chance

    A recent comment here says: Scientific progress, ie medical breakthroughs, are just as likely to come through dumb luck or chance as from having the most briliant mind thinking about them. Its about having larger numbers of scientists working, rather than having larger numbers of “smart” people working. In some respects, it might be bet… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Needs and Wants

    Last week’s question about whether the best people are going into this line of work brings up quite a few other related topics. For example, what motivates people to do research in the first place? I’ve seen that question answered in a lot of different ways. At one end of the scale, I’ve had colleagues… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    Pretty Much the Reason You’d Think

    I wrote the other day about having a hypothesis in mind when you make new drug analogs (as opposed to just trying a few to see what happens.) A colleague of mine and I were talking about this, and he offered a suggestion about why some people are much more “by the book” than others… Read More
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