It’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of my science friends back from the days when we were both working at the CR-UK Cambridge Institute. In addition to being a researcher, Shivan is also a trained medical doctor in oncology – and a big fan of science communication. He will be a regular contributor from now on, aiming to introduce you to a variety of science topics in the clinical and life sciences. In this first blog post he will tell you more about his reasons for blogging.
Why do I want to blog about science?
Hi, my name’s Shivan. If you are Irish, you will probably pronounce my name as a woman’s name (though the spelling would vary if you’re Anglo-saxon or Celtic). If you are American, you may mistake me for a dangerous implement. Saying this though, who I am is always going to be a difficult question to answer and I believe none of us will ever be able to answer it properly. So one thing I know about myself is that I like science – admittedly, whether I am good at doing scientific research is to be judged by others but I sure know that I enjoy it.
I’ve been friends with Christine for 4 years now, we met at the first day of grad school when we were the only ones parched enough to get a beer in the middle of the day. I have been thinking about blogging for a year or so now and there were numerous reasons why I thought that it may be a good idea.
- Ego-satisfaction – anyone who writes a blog has an ego, this necessarily shouldn’t be viewed as a negative point either. The idea of putting your name out there and engaging people with your ideas has a big sense of satisfaction. Admittedly, I should not have put it in at number 1, though!
- Idea distillation – there is a famous quote from Richard Feynman (the eminent physicist) that states: “if you can’t explain something to a first year student, then you don’t really understand it!” I completely agree with this and the concept of explaining my ideas to others will really help me demonstrate to myself that I understand it! Feynman has a lot of good quotes attributed to him, he once said about doing science (though I doubt verbatim): “Science is like sex! Most of the time we don’t get a result but that is not why we do it!”
- Evince my research and thoughts to a wider audience – I think the idea of anyone in the world being able to access my thoughts is attractive as this will increase my exposure and the feedback I get on them. It will also help me identify mistakes and engage in new perspectives that I would have missed otherwise.
- Meet and engage with people – at the end of the day, we are all human and interaction with other people is an absorbing and enlightening process. The chance to debate in the online world with someone on the other side of the planet and potentially grab a drink at a conference to discuss our opinions is a mouth-watering prospect.
I aim to be a regular contributor to Christine’s blog, writing about all things science but with a particular focus on biomedicine.
You can also follow me on twitter: @ShivanSivakumar.