Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Why being a good scientist when you can keep getting better

People think scientists keep failing until they get it right. I disagree. We keep failing until we know why we get it wrong. There’s no “right” or definitive explanation in science. There is only the next question. This is why I admire the grit, resilience, and belief in people like Elon Musk who continue to inspire a generate despite failures and keep getting better at what they do.

keep getting better

We can measure, observe, state, but unless we arrive at a mild interpretation, we’re stuck in thought. Sadly, while reviewing papers for scientific journals, or even reading Ph.D. thesis, I read a lot more observation than explanation.

This parameter increases, while the other one decreases. Increase. Decrease. Decrease again. And increase. I made this mistake too often to ignore it. And occasionally I still do. But you know what? That’s ok. There’s no problem with being wrong, as long you are fortunate enough to have someone telling you that.

 

Walking the path to keep getting better

Curation is the maturation step if you aspire to be a scientist. And every time you expose yourself to the community by submitting your work, you give yourself the opportunity of righting your wrongs and keep getting better.

Those who fear to submit their work to the scientific community, fear being rejected and criticized. But you don’t submit to be accepted or admired. You submit because your work means something to you and you think it means something to others too.

Strip yourself of the idea of being a researcher admired by your peers and everyone else.

Strive instead for loving the research you do.

Why should you enjoy being good when there’s so much more to keep getting better?

 

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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