Steven Weinberg is a renowned physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow on the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles. I came across an article by Weinberg on four golden lessons for scientists
His first advice on scientific research is to dive into a research and pick up what one needs along the way. This problem driven way can be really useful especially during the initial stage of the PhD where there is an unexplored ocean in front of one and there is hesitance to take a dive.
Weinberg also advises to head for the rough waters after taking the dive. He reasons that there is more scope of creativity and new results in areas which are in flux.
The third golden rule is surprisingly to forgive oneself if one wastes time. The reasoning is that in science, one needs to be mentally prepared that not every experiment or idea will bear fruit but one has to keep trying patiently.
The last golden rule is to try and learn about the history of one’s scientific area. This not only gives one a broad understanding of where one’s work fits in but also gives extra motivation to become part of history of scientific progress.
“Finally, learn something about the history of science, or at a minimum the history of your own branch of science…More importantly, the history of science can make your work seem more worthwhile to you… you can get great satisfaction by recognizing that your work in science is a part of history.”