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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Interview With A Post-doc

Fresh Brainz is thrilled to bring you yet another interview with the people behind Singaporean science. This week I am chatting with a post-doc who has a bubbly character and is often cheerful in the lab.

How does she sustain her optimism? Let's go find out!

She prefers not to reveal her identity, so I will call her A*Na for this interview and I've drawn an anime cartoon that is my best representation of her personality.

Heh, I'm not very good at drawing anime.

On with the dialogue!

A*Na: *sees my clipboard containing prepared questions* Wah, so 夸张(exaggerated) ah!

Me: *tee hee* This won't take long. How did you decide to do scientific research?

A*Na: Because I have nothing else to do mah. Just joking lah! My father wanted me to get a PhD. The best option for me is science.

Me: What is your favourite part about doing science?

A*Na: I like to analyze things, I'm the thinking kind. I like to prove my hypothesis correct.

Me: What if your hypothesis is wrong?

A*Na: If wrong, then reformulate the hypothesis lah. I like to plan the experiment and then do it.

Me: What if other people plan the experiments for you?

A*Na: Don't like. If other people plan the experiments then I will not be as enthusiastic.

Me: What do you hate most about doing science?

A*Na: When I do stupid things during my experiment. Because of a stupid mistake.

Me: What about some external factors?

A*Na: I hate it when people keep trying to prove their point.

Me: You mean like confirmation bias? When people selectively fish for evidence?

A*Na: Yes, that's right.

Me: Do you remember your happiest day in science?

A*Na: Oh, there were two actually. When I got my first first-author publication after my PhD. And also when somebody from another group postulated the same hypothesis as me.

Me: What about your most unhappy day?

A*Na: When another group published part of my work during my PhD. At first I felt like giving up, but later I became happy because they showed the same result that I found. This means that my research work is solid.

Me: Which is more important - family or career?

A*Na: Family come first. But luckily my husband is supportive of my career.

Me: Your husband is an endangered species!

A*Na: *laughs*

Me: What is your favourite comfort food?

A*Na: Ice cream. I like Ben & Jerry's ice cream, especially Chubby Hubby.

Me: What flavour is that? I don't eat there...

A*Na: It's caramel with peanut butter and pretzel bits.

Me: What is your favourite chocolate?

A*Na: Belgian chocolate... what you call those?

Me: You mean like praline?

A*Na: Yah, praline.

Me: Is there a fashion accessory that you cannot do without?

A*Na: A watch. I must wear one, usually a digital watch.

Me: To tell the time?

A*Na: Yes.

Me: I mean for a purely fashion purpose. Not for a practical function.

A*Na: Purely fashion? Then it would be earrings.

Me: Is makeup more important or dress more important?

A*Na: Dress is more important for me, because my skin is sensitive. I try to avoid makeup.

Me: OK, last question. What is the most important thing in the world for you?

A*Na: Family ties.

Me: OK, thank you!

A*Na: Can I see the cartoon now?

Would you like to know more?

Other Fresh Brainz interviews:

- Interview with a PhD student
- Interview with a scientist


HoneySweetHeartBlog said...

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Lim Leng Hiong said...

Thanks for visiting! What is the URL of your new blog?