Loredana Valenzano's BLOG

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My comments on: "The Secret Passions of Scientists"

Science has to be first a passion and only in second istance a job. I have no doubt about that! You surely do not do it for money... Once passion is gone, you feel like all the efforts you are daily putting in doing science, are nothing more than routine... as a "normal job"... so, better to move to a "normal job"!
Usually you have to solve problems everyday (and this can be a pain in the neck if passion is gone!): from simply installing and testing new features for your "lab" (the computer, if you are a theoretician) to solve equations on paper and code them up in a source code to have a simulation running and giving you results. Hopefully the results will be innovative and new, so that you can publish them on international scientific journals and... have a short moment of "fame" ;) ... just kidding of course... obviously more than that, there is the personal satisfaction and the feeling that you are contributing with your research to solve a small mistery of the nature. Surely, in order to obtain "the right number" to solve that particular small mistery of the nature, you have to be constantly dedicated to your job and curious about what you are doing... from that the equation "Science=Passion".
It can surely be difficult to leave your science at the lab: in my experience, it needs some exercise to be able to do that. One of the practical secrets is probably to stay concentrate at work and impose yourself to go home after 10 hours of daily work... no matter what you are doing... just go home!!!
On the other hand, it can be difficult to do that, so it is probably safer to have a mental scheme with the things you have to do during the day and only once you have done all of them (really!?!??!), go home. Also this solution can be dangerous, of course, but it might work better than just stop working no matter what you are doing.
The second solution seems to work pretty well for me in the last years and I must say I am very proud of myself :) and people around me are also happy about this attitude of mine. The previous sentence can be read as follows: I work also from home WHEN IT IS NECESSARY, I think about work on the bus and doing shopping IF IT IS NECESSARY ... BUT I still menage to separate my working life from my private life.
And Mondays are not a problem... ever...


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