Nobelist Smithies Shares Thesis on Theses
Oliver Smithies won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2007. On June 27th, he spoke to students about what he learned from his thesis research, which involved developing a new method to measure the osmotic pressures of mixes of proteins:
"Here's my osmotic pressure measurement. And I was rather proud of this method. And I published it with great delight. This paper has a record, you know: nobody ever quoted it. And nobody ever used the method again. And I didn't use the method again. So I have to ask you, what was the point of it all? Well, the answer is really a very serious answer. The answer is I learned to do good science. But it didn't matter what I did when I was learning to do good science. So it doesn't matter what you do when you're doing a thesis, you see. But it's very important that you enjoy it. Because if you don't enjoy it, you won't do a good job and you won't learn science. So all of this comes around to the fact that if you don't enjoy what you're doing, ask your advisors to let you do something else. And if your advisor won't do that, there's another solution: change your advisor."
“我对我研究出来的方法感到无比骄傲，我还满怀欣喜将它公之于众。这篇论文还保持着一个记录： 它没有被任何人引用过。没有任何人使用过我研究出来的方法，连我自己也没再用过。那么，这项研究的意义又何在呢？答案很严肃，那就是我学会了科学研究，而 在此过程中我做过些什么并不重要。同样地，大家在写论文的过程中做些什么其实并不重要，重要的是你要学会享受这个过程。你要是不把它当成一种享受，那结果 可想而知，你也学不到科学知识。因此，假如你对研究课题不感兴趣的话，那就请你的导师帮你换个课题；假如你的导师不愿意的话，那么你还有另外一个选择：换 导师吧。”