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Advice for a Young Investigator

Advice for a Young Investigator [PDF]

I enjoyed reading this book immensely, although it does need to be taken with a sense of humor in places.

Santiago Ramon y Cajal instructed his followers to build character in order to become fully dedicated to the task of collecting detailed data about nature and fully immersed in a narrow niche that one is studying.He cautioned against getting caught up in useless distractions: excessive theorizing, authority worship, gossip, or relationship troubles.

The following quote sums up a great deal of the value system that Dr. Cajal prescribed to young scientists:
...a scholar's positive contribution is measured by the sum of the original data that he contributes. Hypotheses come and go but data remain. Theories desert us, while data defend us. They are our true resources, our real estate, and our best pedigree. In the eternal shifting of things, only they will save us from the ravages of time and from the forgetfulness or injustice of men. (Kindle Locations 934-936).

Of course, the chapter on marriage and relationship advice is hilarious:
For the man of science, the aid of a wife is just as necessary in youth as in old age. A woman at one's side may be likened to a knapsack in battle: without the accessory one fights unencumbered, but after the battle, then what? (Kindle Locations 1078-1079)
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