Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Afty Experiments

We all think of 'crazy' experiments we'd like to try 'just for the fun of it'. They are crazy either because the technique is something we are not too familiar with, or the chance of getting a definitive result is pretty slim or simply because we don't know what to expect. The other day, I was reminded of this when reading Andre Geim's interview. He talks of 'Friday evening experiments', wherein he tries things that aren't part of his main line of investigation - things that are fun but unlikely to produce any new data most of the time. As he states it, it takes courage - to just go for it - and long hours - just so you don't take time away from your main projects.
I am not that free-spirited to try things that are too far removed from my main area of study, but I do want to try techniques I've never tried before and phenomenon I've not tried to look at in my main projects. Starting today afternoon. If not every saturday afternoon, atleast every once in a while. If not anything else, I'll atleast learn something.

6 comments:

  1. My boss calls these and similar type experiments "hero experiments"....if they work you are a complete hero, if they don't, you never ever tell anyone you were silly enough to try them. I have a few of these on the back burner-I just feel guilty when I spend time on them.

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  2. I guess we need not feel guilty as long as we take care of our main stuff. After all, even the experiment that didn't work (and 'not working' can mean a lot of things) teaches us something.

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  3. Good guess! chemie, Ganga.

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  4. Yes that lingo is unmistakable. Hello from fellow postdoc, cheme, saras.

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  5. Oh. We computer scientists, programmers and applied mathematicians do that all the time. Any and all knowledge is good. Of course, it is obviously much harder for experimentalists.

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