On Wednesday 6th of April, the University of Bristol was fortunate enough to host a presentation by Michael Levitt, a 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.
If you are unaware of Professors Levitt’s work, it is in the fields of biochemistry, physical chemistry, and theoretical chemistry looking into the computation modelling of proteins where his work was awarded 1/3 of the Nobel prize. The presentation was broken down into two parts, his work towards the Nobel prize as well as the state of scientific community towards funding and enhancing research towards new frontiers.
Professor Levitt talked about being inspired by Scientific America magazines from an early age and taking a particular interest in the structure of proteins. He followed his passion towards modelling interactions of proteins to understand the structure and function. As well as the work, he stressed the importance of independent work and the persistence he showed to follow his passion entering the scientific community.
This lead the talk towards early career scientists. In recent decades a shift towards funding established researchers has overtaken funding for early career researchers which raises concerns for early career and future scientists entering the community. Professor Levitt offered some suggestions towards funding but without a change in funding bodies, there appears to be a decrease in early career scientists entering the field which could result in a future bottle-neck within the field of science.
The take home message of the event were these four points:
- Be nice and kind
Very simple and important points but equally easy to forget and overlook from day to day. Especially in research where scientists are faced with failure quite often and it can be difficult to be nice and kind, as well as persistent.
As always, thanks for reading!
PhD Update – 18 Months
Funded by EPSRC at the University of Bristol; Associated with Bristol Robotics Lab, University of the West of England.