Friday, January 14, 2011

To my students

I chose this job (well I was also chosen) because I am curious and I like research.  To my collaborators I ask enthusiasm: knowledge will follow enthusiasm and cause serendipity.
Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, one of my three masters,  told me that creativity is better than knowledge: in fact true knowledge originates from creativity. However, I have to warn my students than creativity does not come from natural skills alone, but also from consistent, and intelligent work. In a world of gifted people, is the application that makes the difference.

In my scientific activity I realized that one can work alone, but for many objectives it is much better to work cooperatively. Working alone is the exception more than the rule in modern Academia. Bringing to some maturity GEOtopJGrass and JGrass-NewAGE would not have been possible if I had to do it all alone.

In order cooperation really works, I also realized that what I was developing needed to be openly shared, and I choose to go open  for my products (models, slides, research, papers).
As Andrea Antonello told: "the fact is that to be 'open source' does not mean to give away software for free, it is to believe that with some shared rules, many can work together and produce things that, the singles could never do". This also favour Reproducible and Replicable Research, which goes at the core of any scientific work.

Actually this was not really understood by many of my Ph.D students in the past. But now, as time pass by, they are slowly convincing themselves that cooperation can be better and much more productive than competition.

Behave. Nature challenges us already. Understanding nature is our competition.

So:

1 - Like research
2 - Work for creating enthusiasm
3 - Pursue creativity more than erudition
4 - Work hard
5 - Work cooperatively
6 - Go open without hesitation
7 - Struggle for the understanding and not with people

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