I have been teaching swimming to a friend who is relatively a beginner. I often found myself having no words to describe a certain motion or posture and go “you just have to experience it with your body”. While I do attribute this partly to my lack of training as a swimming instructor, I still think there are things that cannot be conveyed in words, especially when it comes to motoric stuff, don’t you think?
Martial art: Definitely a motoric stuff
Image credit: SMBC Comics
Anyway, thinking about this my mind wandered to the talk about failures in science. It’s like this – before I did my PhD I have of course heard things about the inevitable stress and failures (and I find myself saying the same thing to pre- and current PhD students too) but knowing it cognitively is different from experiencing it oneself, isn’t it?
Here is a recent Nature article on the subject: <Scientific progress is built on failure>. Reading this, on one hand I hope that a PhD student or a prospective one takes note and does the necessary mental preparation; but on the other hand, I cannot help but go “My son, I know these things would fall on deaf ears. You just have to experience it for yourself”.
Some relevant links:
- STAT | Coming to terms with six years in science: obsession, isolation, and moments of wonder
- STAT | A scientist opened up about his tough road to a Ph.D. It triggered a wave of responses Response to the above article
- Mc Sweeney’s | How to Finish Your Dissertation Before the Heat Death and Gradual Extinction of the Universe
- Tumblr | whatshouldwecallgradschool