Fresh Brainz is thrilled to bring you yet another interview with the people behind Singaporean science. This week I am chatting with a post-doc who has a bubbly character and is often cheerful in the lab.
How does she sustain her optimism? Let's go find out!
She prefers not to reveal her identity, so I will call her A*Na for this interview and I've drawn an anime cartoon that is my best representation of her personality.
Heh, I'm not very good at drawing anime.
On with the dialogue!
A*Na: *sees my clipboard containing prepared questions* Wah, so 夸张(exaggerated) ah!
Me: *tee hee* This won't take long. How did you decide to do scientific research?
A*Na: Because I have nothing else to do mah. Just joking lah! My father wanted me to get a PhD. The best option for me is science.
Me: What is your favourite part about doing science?
A*Na: I like to analyze things, I'm the thinking kind. I like to prove my hypothesis correct.
Me: What if your hypothesis is wrong?
A*Na: If wrong, then reformulate the hypothesis lah. I like to plan the experiment and then do it.
Me: What if other people plan the experiments for you?
A*Na: Don't like. If other people plan the experiments then I will not be as enthusiastic.
Me: What do you hate most about doing science?
A*Na: When I do stupid things during my experiment. Because of a stupid mistake.
Me: What about some external factors?
A*Na: I hate it when people keep trying to prove their point.
Me: You mean like confirmation bias? When people selectively fish for evidence?
A*Na: Yes, that's right.
Me: Do you remember your happiest day in science?
A*Na: Oh, there were two actually. When I got my first first-author publication after my PhD. And also when somebody from another group postulated the same hypothesis as me.
Me: What about your most unhappy day?
A*Na: When another group published part of my work during my PhD. At first I felt like giving up, but later I became happy because they showed the same result that I found. This means that my research work is solid.
Me: Which is more important - family or career?
A*Na: Family come first. But luckily my husband is supportive of my career.
Me: Your husband is an endangered species!
Me: What is your favourite comfort food?
A*Na: Ice cream. I like Ben & Jerry's ice cream, especially Chubby Hubby.
Me: What flavour is that? I don't eat there...
A*Na: It's caramel with peanut butter and pretzel bits.
Me: What is your favourite chocolate?
A*Na: Belgian chocolate... what you call those?
Me: You mean like praline?
A*Na: Yah, praline.
Me: Is there a fashion accessory that you cannot do without?
A*Na: A watch. I must wear one, usually a digital watch.
Me: To tell the time?
Me: I mean for a purely fashion purpose. Not for a practical function.
A*Na: Purely fashion? Then it would be earrings.
Me: Is makeup more important or dress more important?
A*Na: Dress is more important for me, because my skin is sensitive. I try to avoid makeup.
Me: OK, last question. What is the most important thing in the world for you?
A*Na: Family ties.
Me: OK, thank you!
A*Na: Can I see the cartoon now?
Would you like to know more?
Other Fresh Brainz interviews:
- Interview with a PhD student
- Interview with a scientist
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