So You Want to be a Scientist?

So You Want to be a Scientist?

by Philip A. Schwartzkroin
     
 

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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

Overview

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 naïve 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There are too few good books about the positives and negatives of research careers in science, books aimed at young people who need to make choices in high school or college or even in graduate school. Philip A. Schwartzkroin, a neurosurgeon who specializes in epilepsy research, has written such a book. His book has something for everyone from high school through graduate school. His focus is a career in research, and nearly everything he says is equally applicable to careers in all the basic and applied sciences. It's a readable book, and I cannot imagine anyone interested in a career in science not finding it enormously useful."—Dan Agin, as reviewed in The Huffington Post

"The author is a professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, Davis. Here, he offers 'an invaluable glimpse into the day-to-day life of the researcher' and gives advice on deciding 'whether you'd want to pursue such a career (and, if so, how to get started.'"—As featured in the "What's New in Sciences books section of Scibook.org and Science Book News

"If you're a confused college student, still grasping for some direction in your life, you may have considered a career in research at some point. It's a little daunting to think about, being such a broad field, but Philip Schwartzkroin's helpful book, So You Want to Be a Scientist? makes it surprisingly navigable. Schwartzkroin has obviously experienced what students are going through; his clear and entertaining narrative outlines the whole process, from applying to grad school to working in a faculty position. He explains the challenges and opportunities students will encounter at every step of the journey, and provides advice and encouragement along the way."—As reviewed in The Observer, the student newspaper of Case Western University

So You Want to Be a Scientist?...is intended as an introduction to the job of a research scientist. The intended audience is a student in college or high school who is contemplating such a career. However, even graduate students and post-doctoral fellows may also benefit from the perspective of a highly successful scientist who has trained and mentored many people...Dr. Schwartzkroin offers many insights and suggestions and discusses issues that, although obvious to most researchers, many young students may not have contemplated or even be aware of....While it is only a single person's viewpoint, the book is unbiased and general enough to be useful to almost anyone contemplating or starting a career as a research scientist. Readers will find this book useful for focusing their own thoughts and perceptions about research, and, hopefully, helping them to make some decisions regarding their personal path."—Saurabh R. Sinha, MD, PhD, as reviewed in Epilepsy & Behavior

"...a crisp new book that should be on the reading list for all young scientists, Philip Schwartzkroin, a Professor of Neuroscience at the University of California Davis, rolls up his sleeves and quickly dispenses with this fairy tale notion of science in which the lone genius dreams up brilliant ideas that change the world. He lays bare the challenges that young scientists will face and the compromises that they may have to make...That the author can engage in these discussions without detracting from the big, beautiful ideas that draw people into science in the first place is a testament to his skill as a writer and mentor...We live in a time of enormous potential for scientific research, but which often feels plagued by a raging epidemic of angst about science as a career. Schwartzkroin's book, combined with a deeper appreciation of the extended value of a PhD, could be a much-needed antidote."—Reviewed by John E. Spiro in Nature Neuroscience

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195333541
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/02/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

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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