Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How many is too many?

When my lab got started, there were only two souls in the lab. Me and my technician who was my loyal companion during my first two years as an independent scientist. Nowadays I have 3 PhD students, 3 Master students, and 16 undergraduate students in my lab. Yesterday, while talking to one of my Master students, she indicated how she longed for the old times when she had plenty of room to call her own. That simple statement brought up this question: have we passed the limit? Are we too many for our own good? Life in a research lab is a fine balance...you need the hands, you need the brains, there are always too many interesting questions claiming to be answered. But how many brains and how many hands are too many? Also, not everyone contributes two hands and one brain, some times you get the hands but not the brain and sometimes you get the brain but not the hands. What do you do in those cases? Is it best to keep only the ones that come as a complete set? Or is it OK to accept the parts and try to make the best out of them? As of now, it seems like we are moving forward and there is some momentum. Perhaps the number issue is not too much of an issue, at least for now. One thing is for sure, though: not too many of them are willing to spill out their feelings in this blog. So far, it is only me (and I only get to do it when I want to take a break from my other many tasks).

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