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Thursday, May 10, 2007

From Cold Spring Harbor

I’ve really been slacking off lately on my blog postings, though for good reason: I’ve been a bit busy. However, I think it’s also been a lack of focus on what I wanted this blog to be about, but that’s coming into focus for me.

This excursion back into grad school has given me an opportunity to rationally think out a lot things I hadn’t before. And, in particular, the last two weeks have been a watershed of revelations about the sciences.

In any case, I’ll return to blogging my grad school adventures in a linear fashion, and probably go over some of my Cold Spring Harbor stories in a bit. Though first, I wanted to share what I learned yesterday, while watching the blistering pace of the talks and posters:

1. Everyone in your field is trying to achieve exactly the same thing you are: Don’t kid yourself that you’re the first to think of something, or the first to walk down a path – odds are there are at least 2 other groups doing exactly the same thing.
2. The only thing that separates you from the other people is how you get it done.
3. Only the people who do it the BEST way will be remembered. Everyone else will just become a footnote.

So many people here are using the same technologies, have access to the same information, and are trying varieties of the same concepts here, that the only things that stand out are the groups that have come up with a way to do those things REALLY well. Their talks are neat, their posters have big audiences, and I’m going to be reading their papers.

For the other people, who even 2 weeks ago I might have been impressed with, their work is somehow not as exciting. ChIP-chip techniques vs. Chip-solexa techniques (sorry for being geeky for a second) are suddenly looking like the last years birthday gifts – enjoyed, but mainly forgotten in the niftyness of this years new presents. And ChIP-chip hasn’t even been around for long enough to have been last year’s hot toy.

Anyhow, just one final word. For those people who brought the posters on chicken colouring, you might want to consider that a poster needs more than an abstract, a conclusion (both in 45pt font), and two pictures of chickens… though really, they are nice pictures of chickens! Really!


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