Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stockholm? Not yet apparently...

I've finished reading Peter Doherty's "The Beginners Guide to Winning the Nobel Prize." (Okay, so it's taken a while...) It was an interesting read. Covered Doherty's career, his ideas on religion and science, science funding etc. I would recommend it to anyone in science or interested in science. As I noted before, he rambles, and writing a book like this is clearly not his forte. Still, a good read.

He saved the "how to win a Nobel" bit until the last chapter. Bugger me if I'm not already doing (or have done) pretty much everything he recommends!

1) Get good training at good institutions.

Okay so my undergraduate and graduate degrees aren't from a world-reknowned institution. They are however from an institution with a good reputation for solid training. And the place can (now) claim two resident Nobelists. I did do my postdoctoral training at high profile institutions that have spawned, and have resident, multiple Nobel prize winners. So I think I've got this criteria covered, more or less.

2) Work at a high profile institution.

This is the one where I'm somewhat deficient. Big State U is known for stellar athletics, not academics... However, the department I'm in is ranked in the top 20 for a public university in the US, so it's not all bad.

3) Work on something really important.

I've got this one down. My area of study, protein folding, is widely considered to be one of the more important areas in modern biology. If you're interested, you can get brief introductions to protein folding here and here (the latter focuses too much on "misfolding" diseases in my opinion).

4) Work on something the Nobel committees care about.

Again, got it covered. The study of protein folding has lead to Nobel prizes in the past.

5) Be open to explanations/discoveries outside the accepted "norm".

I try to be. In fact I think I'm somewhat successful at that, even if I do say so myself.

6) Don't piss off your peers.

Obvious really. The Nobel committees ask distinguished scientists and past winners to nominate people for Nobels. And this is all done in a very secretive manner, so you have no idea who's been asked to nominate and who's been nominated. If you piss people off, you probably won't be nominated. I'll try to be nice...

I have it covered then. But still no trip to Stockholm...

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