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[转载]David E. Clapham教授对于博士后的一些建议

已有 300 次阅读 2021-2-3 09:11 |个人分类:Post Doc|系统分类:科研笔记|文章来源:转载

下面这位就是David E. Clapham教授,个人学术生涯非常耀眼,同时管理实验室团队也十分有方,博士后伊始在小木虫看到这篇文章的转载,觉得非常不错,保存在博士后学习的文件夹中,今天备份文件夹时翻出,常读常新,也希望大家看到能有收获。

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A Few Suggestions on Being a Successful Postdoc 

Before you decide to become a Postdoc: Ask yourself, do you have a burning desire to do experiments and write papers? Are you willing to work harder than 90% of people in the real world? Do you truly enjoy reading and thinking about science? Is being a scientist about the only thing you imagine you would really enjoy doing? Do you enjoy being in the lab doing experiments? If the answer to these questions is no, then don't become a Postdoc! For the most part, academic science is not a field with good working hours, monetary compensation, or security. Before 1850, the only people who could do science were wealthy. On the other hand, it has tremendous freedom, is continually intellectually challenging, and gives you a shot at seeing what no one in history has seen before. The happiest scientists are those who always feel surprised anyone would pay them to do what they do. 

【小注:虽然这一串问句会让一些人打消做博士后的念头,其实也还好,高质量的产出一定是高质量和长时间的精力投入,想起博士期间导师何耀教授的教诲:成事离不开用心二字。】

Cardinal Rules During the Postdoc 

1. READ, EXPERIMENT, ANALYZE, DISCUSS, SUMMARIZE

a. READ the literature daily or every other day. Don't put it off. Reading will give you new ideas. 

b. In biological fields, there is no substitute for LOTS of EXPERIMENTs. But only do experiments that have a clearly interpretable outcome. Bad experiments, at best, waste time.

c. ANALYZE and organize your data frequently. Scientists can waste months by neglecting the organization of their own data. Organize the data into preliminary figures FREQUENTLY. Don't wait until you are ready to write the paper. If you delay this process until you decide to write a paper, you will often find you are missing critical data. Also, it is much easier to get over "writer's block" if you already have figures in hand that guide your writing. 

d. Talk to others in the lab and the PI frequently, always with data in hand. Making figures is invaluable in organizing your thoughts, finding mistakes, and being objective about the data. It also documents your contributions. Show your figures to others in the lab-this clearly states to others your territory as well as elicits new ideas you may not have thought of. 

【小注:读文献是个特别好的习惯,有一阵子idea很多时候,也是一边分析数据一边读文献,很多不错的点子就出来了;后来因为忙材料整理等偏行政事务,后面很容易忘掉之前的很好的想法,现在也仍在学习如何记录下来读文献时产生的好思路,从而引导今后的科研工作。我的方法是记录在日程本,但是没养成翻看的习惯,每天都会被新的事情推着走,应该拿出更多时间回到很重要的复盘回顾上!】

2. When you find a good result, start thinking then about what data you need to publish. THEN START ORGANIZING FIGURES. Sketch out the figures that would be needed to reach a conclusion. Chances are, someone, somewhere is working on the same thing. A month of very hard work can prevent the loss of years of work by being scooped. Strike while the iron is hot! 

【小注:趁热打铁的英文和中文一模一样哈哈哈,另外对于科研工作的审美也很重要,好的结果用一种简明、优雅的方式陈列出来,尤其Fig,就像艺术品一样,会为文章增色不少,自己和读者也会更有兴趣阅读】

3. Try your own pet experiments, but move on quickly if the results don't seem promising. Don't hesitate to give up a beautiful hypothesis if the data don't support it. Don't waste time on 20% effects for any great length of time. 

4FOCUS-Don't scatter your precious time over many different directions. Make sure efforts in more than one direction complement each other. 

5. PUBLISH OR PERISH is the Darwinian Rule of Academia- this rule will not change. This is fair, since Why should taxpayers pay for you to do experiments for your own entertainment? Think of some poor hard-working citizens earning minimum wage at 2 full-time jobs (not uncommon). They are giving money to you in hopes you will help solve their kids, spouses, parent's diseases. The only way anyone knows you are doing anything with your time is if you publish. How much should you expect to publish? An average of one good paper per year (reviews don't count, BBRCs(Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications,IF:2.5左右) papers may be negative numbers). Two great Cell, Nature, Science, etc papers over a four-year period will get you an excellent job if you can speak reasonably well. But other papers that are highly respected will also get you a job, even if not in these journals. Don't be so bent on a Nature paper that you force the beautiful hypothesis into a publication that turns out to be incorrect. Sloppy and strikingly incorrect papers are dominant negatives, no matter where they are published. Publications are like your children; they reflect directly on you! If you make good children, they will take care of you later. If you don't publish you can't get grants, a job, or a promotion. 

6. Give frequent presentations-this will help you organize your thoughts and develop your organizing and speaking skills. These are CRUCIAL skills in academia. Ask for comments on the clarity of your presentation. ALWAYS practice a talk in a friendly but critical audience before giving a talk outside the lab. When talking in public, don't hesitate to admit you don't know something. When you are wrong, admit it. 

7. Never speak ill of another person. Find something constructive to say or don't say it (it always gets back to the person). In talking to the PI, focus on data, NOT lab personalities or complaints about other people unless they are completely blocking your progress, abusing your openness, or doing something bad (e.g. illegal). Turf all personal incompatibilities to the PI and let him/her handle the problem.

【小注:想起从高中起,张晓华班主任就教导做人做事做学问,三位一体,不可偏废;专注科研,而不是其他,对人对事需要保持宽容和接纳,虚心学习才有成长;之前在这一方面博士后导师曾毅教授是学习榜样,身体力行之时,也多次邮件对我予以教诲;一直赞同一种说法,不要去做浪费生命的三件事:抱怨、评论和担忧】

8. Be self-critical. Bias and wish fulfillment are the chief stumbling blocks of human progress! (the earth was thought to be the center of the solar system because we wanted it to be, not because it was). Be critical with others, but only in a constructive way, and focus on data, not personality. Never make an ad hominem attack(人身攻击).

9. Be a good lab citizen. Take responsibility for getting things fixed that are shared. If you are irresponsible, others will soon recognize that point. Be generous. Generosity is rewarded in kind, and often in excess. 

10. Avoid authorship squabbles. Read your university authorship guidelines before even thinking about raising this issue. Authorship fights are very time-consuming and harmful to all. Document what you have done, state it clearly, talk with other coauthors. If a hint of conflict arises, let the PI sort out authorship. If the PI seems unfair, discuss your contributions to the work with the PI, trying to be open-minded and fair. If you cannot reach a reasonable agreement, determine whether the battle is worth the time. If you do, then ask the PI to discuss it with all coauthors. If agreement still cannot be reached, other faculty members can be asked to help sort it out in an impartial way, or the university ombudsman can use the authorship rules of the university to try to arrive at a fair conclusion. Denoting "equal first authors" is a much more efficient route than fighting over small gradations of credit. Be objective, but generous. In general, combativeness and selfishness only work in the short run. 

11. Don't waste time on courses and wildly irrelevant seminars; you are no longer in school. Don't get a second job, research is a full, 60-80 hour a week occupation. If you are lucky or a genius, you may be able to never work on weekends. Most successful postdocs work 6 days. But don't forget to take time off to rest. Have fun in the lab; make it enjoyable for all. (If you think it will get better as an assistant professor, you are wrong). 

12. Don't dwell endlessly on what is not possible due to the lack of a piece of equipment, a reagent, etc. Dwelling on roadblocks is the sign of a person who doesn't really want to do something anyway. Really productive postdocs go around or over roadblocks. Volunteer to solve problems once in a while. 

13. Don't hit the ball into another person's court and expect anything to happen. If you are relying on somebody else to get something done, you will probably have to bother that person several times (unless you are offering money). Collaborations only work with frequent interchange, deadlines, and clear expectations. 

14. Resist jealousy! It is destructive to your psyche, and leads you down "me too" paths! 

15. Frustration and depression. Science is a manic-depressive business. There are long periods of frustration followed by frenetic periods of success and elation. As happens the first year after the coursework in graduate school, there is a period when nothing works and all seems hopeless. Talk over frustrations and experimental problems with your lab mates and PI. Often talking about the problem either helps you see a solution, elicits(引出)some good suggestions, or at least gives you a humorous perspective. Clinical depression is not uncommon-be willing to seek help from the PI and health services if it happens. The pioneering scientists, Georg Cantor (康托,23岁获博士学位,以后一直从事数学教学与研究。他所创立的集合论已被公认为全部数学的基础。1918年1月6日,康托在一家精神病院去世)and Kurt Goedel(爱因斯坦的一个朋友、奥地利数学家库尔特•戈德尔)both became clinically depressed working on the impossible continuum hypothesis for many years. Those who are fixed on the idea that their hypothesis must be right, or unwilling to "cut their losses" are the most susceptible. The hardest problem of all is deciding when to jettison an idea that does not seem to be working out (persistence vs. retreat). There is no good answer to this dilemma-some scientists succeed by persistence, others by trying many separate projects. If you have a lot of data that seems to be going nowhere, cut your losses and publish whatever is useful from it. Then MOVE ON to new ideas. Many are reluctant to admit defeat, or reluctant to give up on lost time and data. Remember that you have not really "lost" the time, but don't keep digging the same hole. Have faith-if you try many approaches, keep reading, analyzing, and thinking, you will hit on something new. If you keep doing experiments and are open to the unexpected, you will discover new results. It often does not turn out to be the hypothesis you had in mind, but that is the fun part of science. 

16. Don't slavishly follow anyone's advice, including mine. Science is freedom! JUST DO IT! 




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