(Sun)Devils May Care

So, one of the perks about having done research in several places is that you end up with a pretty broad network of friends and colleagues.

And occasionally, those friends and colleagues are faculty members at universities and are looking for speakers to come and present at their departmental seminars.

Now most academic types commonly look with disdain upon “industry research”.  It’s usually said with the same sort of squint and frown that we hard working folks in for-profit institutions often reserve for saying “ivory tower”.  Now I’m not saying that I feel that way.  Not one bit.  Let’s just say I’ve heard about it.

Anyway, it was with great excitement that I accepted an invitation from a friend that I used to work with back in the day at DuPont and Penn to speak tomorrow at Arizona State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry where she is a professor.

Now, I give lots of talks at work, but most of the time those are more project-based than research driven – timelines, deliverables, priorities, etc.  This is going to be fun for me because it’s a great opportunity to extract what our group has been doing for the last couple of years and just present the SCIENCE.  I hope I still have my research talk-giving chops – I’m sure when I get introduced, I’ll be nervous.

The other fun thing is that I’ll have the chance to spend some time with a lot of the grad students there and talk to them about working in industry – hopefully I will be able to convince them that an academic lab isn’t the only place that you can do good work, publish quality research papers, and who knows… maybe even be invited to talk sometimes… :)

Oh — and ’m not hauling a computer with me, so I’ll be off the grid starting this afternoon for a couple of days — back on Saturday!

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20 thoughts on “(Sun)Devils May Care

  1. Awesome! Re: the second photo – I can't imagine you could be boring to this crowd, especially if you're talking about science (which you are CLEARLY passionate about)!

  2. Every time I stand in front of a new crowd–which is not as often as it used to be, but more often than the average guy–I get very excited about the possibility of winning them over. It's such a great challenge to see all those faces checking you out; wondering if it's worth their time to even be there; wondering if you suck. And then about ten minutes into it see the acceptance, even excitement begin to spread through the crowd. I'm telling you, pal, there's nothing like it.

  3. Every time I stand in front of a new crowd–which is not as often as it used to be, but more often than the average guy–I get very excited about the possibility of winning them over. It's such a great challenge to see all those faces checking you out; wondering if it's worth their time to even be there; wondering if you suck. And then about ten minutes into it see the acceptance, even excitement begin to spread through the crowd. I'm telling you, pal, there's nothing like it.

  4. Hannahbanana — yes, we refer to them as "the golden handcuffs" — I'm not really sure I want to know what academics refer to what industrial scientists get paid — though I imagine "whore" is in there somewhere…. ;)

  5. Hannahbanana — yes, we refer to them as "the golden handcuffs" — I'm not really sure I want to know what academics refer to what industrial scientists get paid — though I imagine "whore" is in there somewhere…. ;)

  6. R.G. — well, since most departmental seminars I've attended needed to entice students and faculty with free food (typically cookies, or if lunchtime, pizza) — there is definitely a challenge to making them feel like they got something for their time.
    I'll let you know how it goes….

  7. R.G. — well, since most departmental seminars I've attended needed to entice students and faculty with free food (typically cookies, or if lunchtime, pizza) — there is definitely a challenge to making them feel like they got something for their time.
    I'll let you know how it goes….

  8. Steve:

    My Son Bradford and I are both active in Toastmasters. It is one of the greatest experiences of my life, learning to become an effective communicator and leader. I whole heartily recommend that you find a local club and visit so that you can see for your self.

    Oh and by the way [wink] ASU are known as A S Who? In southern Arizona- U of A!

  9. I'm curious to hear how it went. I started my speaking engagements again just recently. It used to be a way of life for me a few years back. I think the key is to really beinto whatever it is you're talking about and keep in mind getting it across to someone who may not know as much about it as you do. Anyway, wishing you the best on this!

  10. Thanks for all the well-wishes! I had a great visit at ASU (Zak — yes, there does seem to be a healthy rivalry between the Arizona schools!). The talk went well — no one threw things and no one boo'd or hissed — actually I had a good time giving it and got a lot of good questions.
    I think my favorite part was that I got to have a long lunch with the graduate students, who asked me a LOT of questions about working in industry and taking that as a career path. It was a great discussion.
    All in all a big success! :D

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