So You Want to be a Scientist?

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Oxford University Press, Aug 27, 2009 - Science - 208 pages
What does it take to be a scientist? Equally important, what does it take to be happy as a scientist? Drawing on thirty years of experience, Philip Schwartzkroin offers the budding scientist an invaluable glimpse into the day-to-day life of the researcher, filling a huge hole in the education of most would-be scientists--whether undergraduates or high school seniors. As Schwartzkroin points out, many of the most important things researchers learn as they hone their craft are not written down anywhere. And many of these insights come as a surprise to the na´ve and well-meaning student who somehow believes that "doing research" is an occupation that is substantially different from doing a job in "the real world." This book looks at the "job" of science. Starting with suggestions about how to decide whether you'd want to pursue such a career (and if so, how to get started), the book works through some of the obvious topics relevant to a research profession--how to write a paper, give a talk, construct a grant proposal. It also examines less obvious topics that are generally incorporated into a research education only by trial and error--"thinking" like a scientist, negotiating scientific politics, dealing with research ethics, and understanding social interactions. And the book includes many "real-life situations" that may confront the young scientist, along with the author's advice on how to solve these problems. Based on the author's long career in the laboratory and his rich experience mentoring trainees, So You Want to be a Scientist provides information and insights that will help the young scientist make better decisions and choices. It will also be useful to teachers, counselors, and parents for its realistic look at the demands and requirements for success in a research career.

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User Review  - baubie - LibraryThing

An honest look at the life of a research scientist in academia that isn't made up of scientific research. A lot of politics are involved in science and anybody looking to get into that as a profession ... Read full review


1 Getting Started
2 Career Choices and Laboratory NittyGritty
3 How to Think Like a Scientist
4 How to Write a Scientific Paper
5 Giving Presentations and Talks
6 How to ComposeSubmit Grant Applications
7 The Politics of Science
8 Ethical Conduct of Research
9 Scientific Research as a Creative Enterprise
10 The Role of the Scientist in Society
11 Personal Challenges
12 Rewards and Riches
Concluding Thoughts

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About the author (2009)

Philip A. Schwartzkroin has been a research scientist for over 35 years. He received degrees from Harvard and Stanford Universities, and has held faculty positions at Stanford University, University of Washington, and University of California-Davis. In his career as a neuroscientist, he has focused his research effort on understanding the basic biology of seizures and epilepsy. Dr. Schwartzkroin has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, and has a long history of successful grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and from private foundations. He has served in numerous professional leadership roles, including president of the American Epilepsy Society, member of the executive committee of the International League Against Epilepsy, and co-editor-in chief of the premier international epilepsy journal Epilepsia. He has been recognized for his research contributions with such prestigious awards as the Javits Award from the National Institutes of Health, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Research Recognition Award from the American Epilepsy Society. Through his many years in the laboratory, he has trained and mentored numerous postdoctoral fellows and graduate and undergraduate students many of whom have gone on to establish successful leadership roles in their chosen areas of research. Dr. Schwartzkroin currently is Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of California-Davis, an affiliate of the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, and holds the Bronte Endowed Chair in Epilepsy Research in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

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