I recently read an interesting article about why doing scientific research makes a person feel stupid and why this may actually be a good thing.
The article is written by Martin A. Schwartz, a professor at the University of Virginia and is published in the April 2008 edition of Journal of Cell Science.
I recently saw an old friend for the first time in many years. We had been Ph.D. students at the same time, both studying science, although in different areas. She later dropped out of graduate school, went to Harvard Law School and is now a senior lawyer for a major environmental organization. At some point, the conversation turned to why she had left graduate school. To my utter astonishment, she said it was because it made her feel stupid. After a couple of years of feeling stupid every day, she was ready to do something else.
Schwartz soon realized that he agreed with his colleague: science made him feel stupid too!
He goes on to explain how Ph.D. programs factor into this culture of stupidity and suggests ways to teach science graduate students how to be “productively stupid”.