Anyone Can do Research (This Includes You)
Research for all: Research is one of the most amazing – and potentially frustrating – experiences one can have. On the positive side, there is the satisfaction of “figuring things out.” There is the joy in discovering new things – especially if this new knowledge will benefit people’s lives. There is the life-skill development of learning to work in an evidence-based culture, a skill surprisingly absent in many adults I’m afraid. But these enticing benefits have to be balanced with the fact that research is hard. When things don’t work out, it is easy to forget the joy of science and retreat into the idea “this is not for me” or that “research is too hard.”
For this reason, many conclude that unless you have an IQ of 150+ and a 4.5/4.0 GPA that you cannot contribute in a research lab.
I respectfully disagree. Scientific inquiry has been linked to the process of play in children. Anyone who thinks they cant do science or research should watch this inspirational TED talk that features a bunch of grade school children who author a peer-review paper.
You may be familiar with the wonderful Disney\Pixar movie Ratatouille – where a rat desires nothing more than to cook great food. Suspending our scientific doubt for a second, the rat reads a book by the renowned French chef Gusteau entitled “Anyone Can Cook” that inspires him to do just that.
What is needed to to research? Research in my mind requires two elements – curiosity and hard work. As the picture above shows, curiosity is not something we can really teach as I think all of us are curious about something. Hard work, well that you can control.
We have an number of research opportunities that cover the spectrum from basic science to technology/engineering to medical\application. Something along this line must be interesting – we invite you to come by and check out potential opportunities. You can find some opportunities on the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) site – but we have many other projects available for hard working and curious students like you. Some examples of current undergraduate projects:
- Development of a laparscopic optical probe to characterize lipid metabolism
- Modelling light transport in the human head
- Imaging lower back muscle response to therapeutic ultrasound.
- Detection and characterization of traumatic brain injury
- Constructing a chip-based diffuse optical spectroscopy instrument for point of care applications
Contact Albert Cerussi (acerussi – at – uci.edu) for more information. Bring your hard work and passion to learn.