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No doubt I’d have chosen biotechnology research. The field was not as developed when I was in college, plus I stupidly decided that a tiny liberal arts college was a perfect place to go to study physics.

I can’t think of many better fields that have the potential to help humanity in so many ways, to improve our soil, water, food, farms, families, health and way of life. Plus, it’s super interesting. If I accomplish anything as a social scientist it would be to fertilize the institutional and intellectual soils so that more people become interested in fields as such, that help consumers become more accepting of fields as such and to encourage entrepreneurship in fields as such. Enviropigs and peel-able pomegranates are barely surface scratchers.

2 Responses to “If I Got a Career Mulligan”

  1. Dan says:

    It’s all a tradeoff, no? If you go into biotech you’d face enormous resistance to realizing results, in terms of regulations, public distrust, unusually strong bureaucratic inertia, etc. It’s possible that starting a software company to make life slightly more fun for a small number of people has greater benefits overall than working really hard for a project that likely won’t be put into use broadly. So maybe you’re doing the most for these fields by making consumers more accepting of these fields and also by making people aware the costs of holding back these fields.

  2. jb says:

    You and me both Mike. I loved my undergraduate bio class. Alas I chose for something more “pragmatic”. As an investment advisor, sure I help allocate capital to where it ought to be, yadda, yadda. Somehow not quite as gratifying as actually helping to spur biological innovation directly.

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