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March 14, 2014

A Lunch BIT from Advice for a Young Investigator by Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Posted by: Susan Mai

Are you a young scholar venturing into the world of scientific research? If so, legendary scientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal has some advice for you in this BIT “Intellectual Qualities” from the seminal Advice for a Young Investigator. Here’s an excerpt on “Independent Judgment”:

High-minded independence of judg`ment is a dominant trait shown by eminent investigators. They are not spellbound or overly impressed by the work of their predecessors and mentors but instead observe carefully and question. Geniuses such as Vesalius, Eustachius, and Harvey—who corrected the anatomical work of Galen—and others including Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, and Huygens, who overturned the ancient astronomy—were undoubtedly illustrious thinkers. More importantly, however, they were ambitious and exacting individualists with extraordinarily bold critical thinking. Saints may emerge from the docile and humble, but rarely scholars.

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