This week I met up with some collaborators. This was the trip that led to a chance encounter with fellow OT blogger Austin:
— Dr Aust (@Dr_Aust_PhD) April 30, 2012
Fortunately Eva is more on the ball:
— Eva (@easternblot) April 30, 2012
Over lunch my colleagues and I were chatting about our supervisors and their different approaches. One idea that came up was the extent to which we, as students and postdocs, had inherited some characteristics and habits from our supervisors. This has become apparent, for us, in the small things – approaches to meetings, or email etiquette – but after our discussion I started to think about the extent to which this might be true of more fundamental aspects of our science.
The working relationship between a student and a supervisor is unusual (and not always easy). It is different from that between a boss and an employee or a teacher and a student. The time working together normally spans several years, and can be intense, so it is not surprising if both parties pick up habits from the other. But is it possible, or even probable, that more broad questions of scientific approach, such as whether to take a risky or more conservative approach to projects, whether to try new things or to perfect existing techniques, are also handed down supervisor-to-supervisee. What implications does this have for students in their future careers?