Monday, March 13, 2017

Science and Humor

Science and humor:
Creative Science for young associative 
researchers with a strong imagination 

A comic strip in 114 pictures

Nico van Rooijen

To appear as:


Materials and Methods

During my own career as a biologist involved in biomedical research, I did learn that each new research project should - as soon as the question is clear and the appropriate materials and methods are available - be followed by writing an abstract. The abstract should be informative about the questions, the experimental design, the proposed materials and methods to answer the questions, the expected results and should finally contain a very short discussion about the significance of the findings.

PhD students in my group, asked to write such an abstract, usually responded: “How could I write an abstract? I do not have anything as yet.” The answer is simple. Of course the abstract may have to be changed repeatedly and will probably be totally different in the final version of your first publication. However, it will remind you continuously to your original question and the approach chosen to answer this question. It will force you to define the reasons why it had to be changed.

16. It is important to know the What’s, Why’s and How’s.  So you have to find out and define the aim and the direction of the research to be planned.

17. Take care that your materials and methods are appropriate to attain your end.>>

18. But irrespective of your chosen materials and methods, problems will continue to arise on the way to your target.>>    

19. Be aware that some targets will be impossible to reach. >>

20. After all, one must make shift with what one has. Too many scientists are wasting their time by searching for a perfect methodology, but end up without any result, because they did never put it into practice.    

21. Improvisation might be inevitable. The ideal improvisation is multifunctional. Here e.g., the drying wash also serves as a curtain.

22. Don’t follow your predecessors without critically thinking yourself.>>

23. Try to find out whether you can shortcut some of their complicated procedures.>>

24. But if this is impossible, don’t spend too much time and find a way out of the labyrinth. 

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