Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, June 24, 2016


Image Source: site
Topics: Electromagnetism, Isotopes, James Clerk Maxwell, Mark G. Raizen, Thermodynamics

I've given you the link to The Pointsman Foundation; from its own description:

"The Pointsman Foundation is a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization headquartered in Austin, Texas. Its mission includes the advancement of production and use of stable isotopes and radioisotopes for medical treatments, diagnostics, and research using the patented Magnetically Activated and Guided Isotope Separation (“MAGIS”) process developed by Mark Raizen, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin).

"The Pointsman Foundation’s ultimate goal is to make lifesaving therapies available to the global medical community by reducing the currently prohibitive costs of the underlying isotopes. While the MAGIS process has been successfully demonstrated in a lab using Lithium isotopes, additional research and development is now required to produce useful quantities of the most needed isotopes."

I'm glad to call Alicia and Mark Raizen friends. I called him recently to get his advice on certain career decisions I'm beginning to make, and wanted his opinion on not if I will continue graduate study, but how and under what circumstances.

Essentially, Mark is a researcher (as I've observed) for two reasons: 1) because he loves science - it's what animates him; 2) for the Common Good, as he has an eye for his research beyond just the physics lab towards humanity as a whole.

We share that passion, though most of my contributions have been as an engineer in the semiconductor industry that is sadly shrinking in the US, and not-at-all lightly impacted by the limits encountered with Moore's Law. That reality has affected a few former colleagues that are no longer in the industry, and a few current ones dealing with present realities. Mark also discussed options that I hadn't considered before.

Mark gives great advice, and is an obviously competent research manager (even before Pointsman, his soft skills were honed primarily with graduate students). One of the points he made in our conversation was about focusing on what you actually want without distractions; to pursue further graduate studies not just for initials following one's sir name: it's because you love it, and see it as contributing to a greater purpose.

That clarity was important to me. A plan is emerging; timelines are solidifying with respect to personal and familial commitments. After my implant process class this week, I'll dust off my GRE notes for both the General and Subject (Physics) tests and read many peer-reviewed papers in areas I'm interested in. I'll remember that young man I was at ten, who almost blew up my parents' house with a chemistry experiment gone awry; the same parents that still encouraged me to continue despite the peer pressure to go in other, less-positive life directions. I'll remember why I do what I do: because I love it.  And I guess (pun intended), that was Mark's "point."

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