mdcabl at cc.newcastle.edu.au mdcabl at cc.newcastle.edu.au
Fri Nov 18 04:22:42 EST 1994

Hi all,
I am a student lurker. Dr. Kuehn is correct about being afraid to ask
basic/stupid questions.  I once asked why submarine gels were always shown
running down in photos.  Some blasted me for my ignorance. Some responses
though were kind and helpful.  The best one was from a fellow who had once asked
"why are plasmids drawn round and not square?" Apparently he had presented a
square plasmid map on a poster and been chastised for it. It has always irked
me that invariably some snotty know-it-all will reply to questions like these
with outrage over the ignorance of people.  Right now something like that
is going on in bionet.molbio.methds-rgnts.  The only thing I have learned is to
simply not be intimidated by these type of people. Most researchers remember
what is was like to walk into a lab and try to figure out a micropippettor for
the first time.  Yes, you do feel like an idiot; however, not everyone was born
knowing how to do a plasmid prep and most senior people will be very helpful.
As for stupid questions, I now ask the researchers around me first and then, if
they can't answer it and don't laugh at me, appeal to the net. 
Anyway, this is off the subject so I will quit editorializing. BTW, I like
reading stupid/basic questions.  I often learn something.
Allen Black
Dept. of Pathology
Univ. of Newcastle
Oh yeah... I'm a grad student there :-)

In article <9411161717.AA08938 at mendel.Berkeley.EDU>, kuehn at MENDEL.BERKELEY.EDU (Meta Kuehn) writes:
> Michael Steffani from Arizona State University (michael.steffani at asu.edu)
> wrote,:
>>...     I have been reading the news group for a while and though I don't
>>        understand everything it is mentally stimulating.  I have not
>>        noticed to many students and was wondering if an idea of mine
>>        would be viable or not. -- How about a group for students that
>>        would be like a study group- professors could interject when
>>        asked or when they felt a question was floundering.  The
>>        possibilities are there for students across the world to learn
>>        more by interacting as a self study group.
>>        As the future of microbiology we could also be forming lifelong
>>        professional friendships (networks)   Any interest ?...
> As journal club coordinator, may I suggest that discussion of a recent or
> historical journal article might stimulate exactly the type of discussion
> you are looking for.  I feel that there are probably many students out
> there who would like to ask basic (not "stupid") questions about such
> articles, but are embarassed to say so on the net.  This would give other
> students the first chance to reply to questions and could be followed by
> asking the more experienced scientists in the net to comment.   If there is
> interest, give me a week or so, and I will try to come up with an
> appropriate article with which to begin a discussion.
> As always, I gladly accept suggestions for journal articles!!!
> Sincerely,
> Meta Kuehn

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