On Mon night, I had the pleasure of listening to a guest lecture by Dr. Niederhuber, the current director of the National Cancer Institute. He is what is termed a ‘triple’ or ‘quadruple’ threat even. In addition to being an active clinician (he’s a urologist–and still performs surgery!), he is also a researcher with a lab that is actively producing Science, AND he is one of two President’s appointee’s at the NIH. He also actively teaches whenever he can. Now, that is a role model for you. Active in research, clinic, teaching AND advocacy. Everytime I meet someone like that (for some reason, this year I’ve been meeting A LOT of them!), I always wonder, geez. How did they do it? I can’t even get my act together to graduate!
Anyway, towards the end of his talk, he mentioned a pretty cool meeting he managed to put together. Basically he invited a bunch of renowned physicists, mathematicians and at the prodding of some of his peers, physical chemists to talk about cancer. huh? What in the world do mathematicians or physicists know about cancer? I mean, like physical chemists, yes. I guess I can see the connection. But physicists? But the idea of the meeting was really cool. His intention was to get people trained to think as scientists to think about the problem of cancer biology. And the coolest part was everyone had an idea. Ideas that actually seemed feasible, smart, and totally workable. You see, the thing is that it doesn’t matter if you are a physicists, a chemist, a biologist, a statistician. Your brain, through the years and years of schooling and training, has been primed to think about problems. It doesn’t matter if the problem is about the Big Bang Theory of in-out organic chemistry. Its a problem. And each of these scientists have their own way of attacking that problem.
anyway, I thought that was really cool. So I wanted to blog about it.