“My best teacher is not a person. My best teacher is my books, my experience, my observation, my failures, and my students. They are all my best teachers. In a nutshell, my best teachers are not persons but books, experience, observation, environment, and students who provoked my thinking and encouraged me to research and improve my teaching.” ―Professor M.S. Rao
Young researchers are ambitious, intelligent, smart, and tech-savvy. They appreciate inspirational insights from experienced researchers to proceed in the right direction. In this regard, we will discuss ideas, insights, and advice for them to become successful researchers and leave their marks for future generations.
A Blueprint for Young Researchers
“The reward of the young scientist is the emotional thrill of being the first person in the history of the world to see something or to understand something. Nothing can compare with that experience.” —Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
Everything starts with passion. Therefore, be passionate about your area of research. Have dreams, pursue them, and work very hard to accomplish them. Have a vision and mission. Contribute in the right direction consistently. Surround with geniuses and talk to them regularly to understand the latest developments in research. Be curious and ask appropriate questions. Enter unexplored areas where there is the least competition. Identify the gaps and explore them persistently. Experiment to fill those gaps. Learn by doing. Don’t worry about failures. Treat failures as experiments. Publish papers in quality journals. Work hard, smart, and wise for 20 to 25 years. Enjoy the journey to reach your destination. Avoid instant gratification. Inventions mostly happen by choice, not by chance. Research ideas come from the strangest sources and places while walking, driving, reading, writing, teaching, cooking, washroom, and music. Believe in pluck, not in luck as luck plays a minor part in the research. Create solutions, add value to the world and win the Nobel Prize.
Malcolm D. Shuster in his research paper Advice to Young Researchers offers advice to young researchers as follows: Work hard and do good work! Be focused. Put not thy trust in drawings! Put not thy trust in others! Be real! Don’t always be practical! A wise man can learn from anyone. It is better to be right than “practical.” Pay attention to small details! Develop intuition! Not all work is valuable. Be a dilettante! Be unreasonable sometimes! Knowledge is infinite; humans are finite. The most important research is often about finding questions, not about finding answers. Check your work! Have courage! Carpe diem! Keep it simple. Be useful. Research ideas sometimes come from the strangest places. A simulation is a valuable tool. Thinking is better than computing. Simulation is not proof. Not all simulations are equal. Write as you go! Don’t rush to publication! Use clear and systematic notation! Do not build permanent monuments to bad work! Don’t defend your mistakes! The world will remember only your archival publications. Good ideas often come quickly; good publications always require a lot of work. Not quantity but quality! Be pedagogical in your papers! Good cooks leave good recipes. Always give credit where credit is due! Pride goeth before a fall. Non illigitimi carborundum est! Good teaching in engineering is research. The dark side of research is that we all screw up, life is not fair, and don’t let the blues get you down! Research isn’t everything. When in doubt, do the right thing. Take all advice with caution. Above all, be happy with your work!
“Overnight success is an exception, not a rule. Successful people planted seeds, watered the seeds, and saw the seeds growing into plants and trees. Therefore, make the right choices every day. Stay on your game. Keep going for your dreams.” ―Professor M.S. Rao
Most scientists are not geniuses. Their hidden potential was spotted by their teachers and mentors in the early stage. They pursued their passionate areas with persistence and patience. Therefore, never give up. Enjoy the process and love what you are doing. Don’t check for outcomes frequently because outcomes take their own time. Have fun and enjoy the journey to succeed as a researcher and scientist.
“All outstanding work, in art as well as in science, results from immense zeal applied to a great idea.” ―Santiago Ramón y Cajal
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