26 July 2012

Not science writing, but writing about science.

When I started blogging again a few weeks back, I mentioned my re-start to a friend from grad school. "What's your theme?" she asked. I had no idea. All the random stuff I think about at work? Bits of hilarity which are too geeky to post on Facebook, and which are too long for Twitter?

So I just started writing. After half a dozen posts, I started to realize what united all of my current and planned writing here. I changed the description up above to reflect that union. I don't really write about science and research in terms of scientific results and conclusions. I take advantage of my brain's natural proclivity to unite disparate ideas. In this case, that tendency manifests as relating the process of scientific research, publication, collaboration, etc. to the rest of the world.

Many scientists consider their work to be intensely personal, but investing too much in our research is contradictory to the objective goals of science. How do these personal issues end up connecting to our vocation? Here, I want to think about higher level issues. Meta-level. The relevance of semantics, the psychology of the scientific process, social issues related to science and academia.

I'm not an expert in any of these areas. I draw from a broad background of training in biology, communications, and history, as well as an intense interest in how things work and possible ways to make them better. I already blogged about being a young, queer, female scientist. I'm also the child of divorced parents, and am divorced myself. I'm a lifelong atheist. So many labels can be applied to me, and all of them impart a particular understanding of things relevant to both life and science: pattern recognition, connectedness, epistemology, and uncertainty. It seems other folks like to read about these viewpoints, and I'm not shy about sharing them.

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