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Blog: For the love of knowledge

When we find “it” for ourselves by putting our hands on the information and looking deep inside, knowledge allows us to make our own decisions.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: TASR)

I dedicated a large portion of my youth to biomedical research so some of my friends still call me a scientist. However, I do not view myself as a typical biomedical scientist anymore. In fact, I left the world of basic science six years ago and perceiving myself as a scientist would be an injustice to all my friends who bury their lives in the never-ending stream of experiments, grant applications and article writing.

I left for that exact reason, I saw so many results being generated in the scientific world but did not see immediate translation of these findings into the practical life.

I spent 15 years in various American academic institutions and finished basic academic research at the end of 2011 after completing my undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral work. When I left Slovakia in 1996, my main focus was studying medicine and biology, and pursuing scientific research. I felt that if I learned how it was done, how discoveries were made, I could build on it in my future work.

Read also:Blog: The wanderer returns home

From my early college days, I met truly remarkable people that nurtured me and exposed me to new things and ideas, outside of typical biomedical science, in environmentalism and naturalism, music, humanities, political science.

Once I started working in biomedical research during my PhD and post-doc years, I worked on cancer with my PhD mentor and on immunology in a laboratory group of my post-doc mentor. Over the course of my work in scientific research, I became a firm believer in complementary, multidisciplinary cooperation and in approaching a problem from different perspectives.

Knowledge does not provide power and wealth, but it does lead to independence.

However, as the years kept rolling and I started to feel burnt out, I kept asking myself what to do with all this amassed knowledge. People with great power and wealth may know much less but they are the ones making decisions and influencing the lives of millions. So why strive to know and experience more?

A simple answer to this question is that even though knowledge does not provide power and wealth, it does lead to independence. In science, one of the most important things is to attain understanding and knowledge - knowledge from observation, first-hand experience and experimentation. We need to develop a deep understanding of how things work and appreciate the complexity of relationships and connections in order to make a discovery.

One can not gain deep knowledge by reading about it or passively believing what someone says. And when we find “it” for ourselves by putting our hands on the information and looking deep inside, knowledge allows us to make our own decisions and becomes a liberating force in our lives.

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