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Re: Good Career Niches for Scientists

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:03 am
by E.K.L.
We will have to agree to disagree. I don't doubt that food science as a whole will develop, and that there will be an increased demand for scientists in that field. But I don't think all of specializations, including the niche ones, will observe an equal rise (if a rise at all), because it is very difficult to predict what direction the technology will take us.

Take for example your argument: "The other process would be to breed better varieties, which requires a long cycle of plant breeding. Whether it's classical breeding or genomics assisted, it's a long process. Want new crops a decade from now that have the ability to be grown in a saline soil so that the world can start to use acreage that right now is going to waste? Great -- better get started right now. "
For me it actually underlines two major reasons why I don't think plant technology will remain our long-term source of edible biomass: long life cycles of plants and dependence on land.

Re: Good Career Niches for Scientists

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:56 pm
by Dave Jensen
E.K.L. wrote:We will have to agree to disagree. I don't doubt that food science as a whole will develop, and that there will be an increased demand for scientists in that field. But I don't think all of specializations, including the niche ones, will observe an equal rise (if a rise at all), because it is very difficult to predict what direction the technology will take us.

Take for example your argument: "The other process would be to breed better varieties, which requires a long cycle of plant breeding. Whether it's classical breeding or genomics assisted, it's a long process. Want new crops a decade from now that have the ability to be grown in a saline soil so that the world can start to use acreage that right now is going to waste? Great -- better get started right now. "
For me it actually underlines two major reasons why I don't think plant technology will remain our long-term source of edible biomass: long life cycles of plants and dependence on land.


Great. You and your buddies can go eat cockroach biomass as in the movie Snowpiercer. For me, I'll stick with fruit, vegetables, and traditional protein, thank you! I'll base my recommendations for the future on trends that have millennia of tradition behind them.

Dave

Re: Good Career Niches for Scientists

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:02 pm
by BMK
Dave Jensen wrote:Great. You and your buddies can go eat cockroach biomass as in the movie Snowpiercer. For me, I'll stick with fruit, vegetables, and traditional protein, thank you! I'll base my recommendations for the future on trends that have millennia of tradition behind them.

Dave


Careful, following traditions as a blanket policy can be dangerous. Do you bloodlet when you feel ill? That has several millennia of tradition behind it too. Do you avoid tomatoes and tomato based products? Tomatoes were traditionally considered poisonous for centuries. Avoid pharmaceuticals since herbal remedies have far longer traditions?

Personally, I think as long as we avoid relying on soylent greens and actually try to address the food shortage problem from multiple angles without being dismissive of any one avenue, we'll have a good shot at a finding a solution.

Re: Good Career Niches for Scientists

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:09 pm
by Dave Jensen
BMK wrote:
Dave Jensen wrote:Great. You and your buddies can go eat cockroach biomass as in the movie Snowpiercer. For me, I'll stick with fruit, vegetables, and traditional protein, thank you! I'll base my recommendations for the future on trends that have millennia of tradition behind them.

Dave


Careful, following traditions as a blanket policy can be dangerous. Do you bloodlet when you feel ill? That has several millennia of tradition behind it too. Do you avoid tomatoes and tomato based products? Tomatoes were traditionally considered poisonous for centuries. Avoid pharmaceuticals since herbal remedies have far longer traditions?

Personally, I think as long as we avoid relying on soylent greens and actually try to address the food shortage problem from multiple angles without being dismissive of any one avenue, we'll have a good shot at a finding a solution.


This thread is NOT about solutions for a food crisis. This thread was started as a place to put ideas about where future needs were going to be. My sample to get it kicked off was plant breeding, where there are existing shortages that will likely lead to continued shortages.

Let's hear what OTHER categories of future science opportunities there might be. We'll put down "biomass" or whatever you'd like as another one as well.

Dave

Re: Good Career Niches for Scientists

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:12 pm
by John D. D,
As an aside, I thought the thread also offered a parallel analogy to how PIs pick those students to promote and make educated guesses about how to nurture their growth. This pyramid model assumes one very dominant scientist in each field, and bucket-loads of help to get and sustain that position by cultivators who find and select the natural talent.

I'd really like to see other successful paradigms of development, but I'm not sure they can really be equally successful in a system where the dominant ones control so much of the resources.

Re: Good Career Niches for Scientists

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:00 am
by E.K.L.
John D. D, wrote:As an aside, I thought the thread also offered a parallel analogy to how PIs pick those students to promote and make educated guesses about how to nurture their growth. This pyramid model assumes one very dominant scientist in each field, and bucket-loads of help to get and sustain that position by cultivators who find and select the natural talent.

I'd really like to see other successful paradigms of development, but I'm not sure they can really be equally successful in a system where the dominant ones control so much of the resources.

I think the underlying problem lies much deeper: because students are a source of income to universities, and because PhDs and postdocs are the source of cheap labor for academia, they advertise for all possible degrees. With little thought as to the actuals demands of the market.