Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The idea-for-an-experiment generator

Yesterday, Scicurious wrote a very honest post about how she thought that she didn't have enough ideas to write grants and stay in academic science. This is something that I hear around me every now and then (mostly from women). I have given this some thought before: how brilliant do your ideas have to be? Because I think that is what people mean when they say they don't have enough ideas: that they don't have enough brilliant ideas. But honestly, I think that the percentage of brilliant ideas in science is maybe 1-2% of all the science that is done. I think that the bulk of science is to repeat something with a slight modification to come up with something 'new'. For example instead of looking at the dopamine system in behavior A, you now study the opioid system and you have another grant proposal. Of course nobody admits that this is how they come up with new experiments, but I have a sneaking suspicion that most PIs will have a variation of the machine below in their office somewhere. 

The optogenetics experiment generator: pick your opsin, roll the bingo wheel for brain region A, spin the wheel of fortune for brain region B and roll the dice for your behavior of choice. This generator can be modified for experiments in any field of life science and beyond.

1 comment:

  1. This made me smile, and probably isn't far from the truth...