Posted by: shrikantmantri | October 15, 2009


via business|bytes|genes|molecules by Deepak Singh on 10/14/09

There is no magic, there is only awesome

That is the title of a three part series (well three thus far. There will be more) by Jamis Buck. The articles are about programming and development, but the tenets apply equally well to the sciences.

In Part 1, Jamis sets forth his argument convincingly. As he writes, “It’s not magic that separates the exceptional from the mundane: it’s awesomeness.”

“Awesomeness” in this context is excellence, an excellence borne out of a willingness to dig into one’s domain. As scientists, we are used to doing so, sometimes to an extreme. To some extent it is part of our psyche, but it’s a lesson that we need to make sure young scientists learn well. Jamis proposes four rules as well

  • Know your tools
  • Know your languages
  • Know your libraries
  • Know your communities

What does this translate to for scientists?

We have to know our tools, and our tools evolve rapidly too in many cases, whether they be computational or your favorite expression system. Similarly, we all need to know the basic languages of our craft, the protocols that are captured in methods sections, OpenWetWare and JoVE. We have to know our libraries, the body of work, the literature which capture prior art and knowledge which allows us to build up what we know about the world around us and we have to know our communities, whether they be the mailing lists that Hari likes or the Friendfeed rooms we all love.

Obvious? Perhaps, but also part of what makes us awesome scientists.

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