Night Science

Rich White on living on the edge cases

January 08, 2024 Itai Yanai & Martin Lercher Season 4 Episode 11
Rich White on living on the edge cases
Night Science
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Night Science
Rich White on living on the edge cases
Jan 08, 2024 Season 4 Episode 11
Itai Yanai & Martin Lercher

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Rich White studies cancer as a professor at Oxford University. Rich is not only a brilliant physician-scientist but also a great friend of Itai Yanai, one of the two Night Science hosts. In this episode, Rich talks about how often the process that led to a particular result can be more interesting than the result itself – something that is true not only in science but also in fields such as art or writing. He emphasizes that the best research strategy depends greatly on the researcher’s personality. He himself thrives on being on the edge of a field, ideally working on a common question with scientists from different disciplines or even philosophers and historians. Rich recounts how he identifies new questions by finding connections between the edge cases of several papers – observations the authors couldn’t make sense of, but still put in their manuscripts. And Rich and Itai reveal the true story behind one of their joint papers, where the breakthrough came in an open-ended creative meeting from staring at the data – after a first, much more boring draft had already been written!

This episode was supported by Research Theory (researchtheory.org) and the Independent Media Initiative (theimi.co). For more information on Night Science, visit https://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/night-science .

Show Notes

Send us a Text Message.

Rich White studies cancer as a professor at Oxford University. Rich is not only a brilliant physician-scientist but also a great friend of Itai Yanai, one of the two Night Science hosts. In this episode, Rich talks about how often the process that led to a particular result can be more interesting than the result itself – something that is true not only in science but also in fields such as art or writing. He emphasizes that the best research strategy depends greatly on the researcher’s personality. He himself thrives on being on the edge of a field, ideally working on a common question with scientists from different disciplines or even philosophers and historians. Rich recounts how he identifies new questions by finding connections between the edge cases of several papers – observations the authors couldn’t make sense of, but still put in their manuscripts. And Rich and Itai reveal the true story behind one of their joint papers, where the breakthrough came in an open-ended creative meeting from staring at the data – after a first, much more boring draft had already been written!

This episode was supported by Research Theory (researchtheory.org) and the Independent Media Initiative (theimi.co). For more information on Night Science, visit https://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/night-science .