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Posts tagged ‘quote’

My recent career in a sentence …

Computers and algorithms may be getting faster, cheaper and easier, but they simply cannot handle a blind search through the eight-or-more-dimensional parameter space.

— Squires, T. M., Messinger, R. J., & Manalis, S. R. (2008). Making it stick: convection, reaction and diffusion in surface-based biosensors. Nature Biotechnology, 26(4), 417–426.

From the same article is one of the more persuasive arguments for finding nondimensional groups of parameters.

Before beginning, however, we would like to dwell on the obvious. Nothing can be large except by comparison with something else. A retrovirus is too small to see, yet is enormous from an atomic standpoint. Similarly, flows are neither fast nor slow, solutions neither concentrated nor dilute, and sensors neither big nor small without standards for comparison. Meaningful ‘apples to apples’ comparisons can be made only between quantities with the same physical units— for example, length versus length. The (dimensionless) ratios of two effects under comparison are incredibly informative and play an extremely important role in the study of fluids and transport.

Some unsolicited advice on creativity

I recently came across this great quote from Ira Glass concerning the early stages of creative work.

[quote style=”boxed”]Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
— Ira Glass[/quote]

This really resonates with me.  I know I abandoned my fiction writing career in my early 20s for precisely this reason, and there’s no question that my mathematical career nearly suffered the same fate.  This time I hope that a bit of extra maturity combined with the tremendous support from my friends and mentors will see me through the early frustrations.