Friday, March 23, 2012

Knowing how way leads onto way

I doubted if I should ever come back... (Frost)

I remember interviewing at a graduate program the day after a ground breaking paper came out. Not yet a grad student, I found the excitement at the group meeting immediately tantalizing, particularly the fact that there were tools being applied in this paper that had been developed for a different subfield, that were completely unknown to this one. One of the post docs looked over at me and said that I was probably watching a world wide phenomenon.

He was exaggerating the impact of the paper, not on the scientific community, but on the world at large. I didn't get accepted into that program, and worked instead on a different project involving, if not equally ground breaking techniques, at least major results by equally important scientist. Over the years, I've looked back at that meeting, and that grad program and wished that I'd had the opportunity to study there, if, for nothing else, the buzz I felt that day.

Last week, I stumbled on an interesting paper slightly off my beaten path. Then I found out that one of the grad students in our group is interested in similar material. We met, admitted our confusion, and started poking around for better expository works on the subject matter. The first item on my google search? An expository paper based on a lecture series given on the material in and surround the paper that caused all that excitement 8 years ago.

Sometimes, way lead's onto way quite nicely.

No comments:

Post a Comment