Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Research Proposal Idea

Alternatively titled: The Art of Engineering

There's a sentiment I believe to be patently false shared by my peers at MIT and my friends who attend liberal arts schools alike: STEM fields and the arts require entirely different mindsets. People believe this firmly, citing STEM as the area for the logical, planning, rigid, conventional mind, and arts as the creative, undisciplined, less intellectually rigorous alternative.
To succeed in either field, you need discipline, intellect, and creativity. 20.109 has shown that through the entire semester, but especially with the final research proposal. Coming up with a novel research idea has to be one of the most creative projects I've worked on during my time at MIT, in a technical class or otherwise.
It began with a general topic of interest. I chose to work with cancer, the reason I chose course 20 in the first place. But cancer is one of the "big" health problems of our age, and scientists and engineers are constantly thinking of new ways to understand and combat it, so finding something new wasn't an easy task. I went to pubmed, searched keyword after keyword, read abstracts and conclusions, and waited for that spark to strike. Eventually, it did, and through a lot hard work and a lot of creativity, I settled upon using microbiome transplants as a method of treating and preventing cancer.
As I've worked on the powerpoint presentation, I've found art and creativity in that part of the project, too. Between deciding how to best represent my ideas in words and images and choosing how to carefully craft my spoken communication, I've confirmed my suspicion that what I'm studying requires just as much artistry as it does logic.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.