grad school, and intellectual lobotomy?

September 12, 2009

David Souter has famously described the Supreme Court term from October to June as a period during which he undergoes an “intellectual lobotomy.” I had hoped that entering grad school and being surrounded constantly with the bloody edge of science would stimulate my curiosity. Unfortunately, after nine to ten hours a day of reading and thinking about science, I come home to find the well dry.

It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that I don’t have nearly as much to say as I did before. In contrast, I now find a desire to come home and read fiction or watch good shows like Arrested Development.

These findings lead me to surmise that I have a limited capacity for thinking about science, be it focused or unfocused (how I see this blog) thought. When I was teaching science, actually, I rarely thought about it. Instead I thought more about grading, making exams, setting up labs. And during the summer, I wasn’t really forced to think about anything.

Perhaps (and I hope) this is an adjustment period, that my brain is undergoing a large intellectual transformation, akin to the burn of working out hard when out of shape, and that over time, my most powerful muscle (to use the term loosely) will strengthen and begin to desire the outlet of curiosity that this blog has been.

I’m stepping away because I have no obligation to stay, and writing as an “assignment” can sometimes produce a resentment that I do not wish to have. I will certainly keep the blog up, writing whenever the thought strikes me.

So thanks for reading. The purpose of my writing (other than simply a selfish exercise) is to try to convey the power, excitement, and controversy that science brings to our lives. All of these are important and need to be acknowledged. I hope I’ve succeeded at one time or another in getting that message across.

Remember, in the words of good old Descartes, “de omnibus dubitandum.”

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