chapter  12
17 Pages

Notes for postgraduate 12 students

WithJack Cohen, Graham Medley, Ian Stewart

The biggest problem facing the newly appointed postgraduate is the switch from absorbing information to producing it. Postgraduate find how tempting it is to gloss over complications by claiming things to be known, understood and demonstrated, and how hard it is to persuade these aspiring scientists that science is not truth, but just the best defence we have against believing what we want to. Science is, contrary to the received wisdom, a social activity. The groups that get the social aspects of the science ‘right’, like those commercial enterprises which have their ethos proper to their function, succeed. Postgraduates’ explanation of their own work within the context of the science will be a reductionist explanation. In science, as in other social fields, postgraduate’s authority has some correlation with how clever they are, how often they have been seen to be right, and how good they are at convincing people.