on creativity

“The psychological entities that serve as the building blocks for my thoughts are certain signs or images, more or less clear, that I can reproduce or recombine at will.” -Albert Einstein


“Creativity is as much about ‘problem making’ as well as problem solving.” -Vik Muniz

metropolitan opera

“As an adult, for doing this [problem-making], you can end up in prison, or an institution, or a museum, or a convention, as I am standing here speaking to you.” -Vik Muniz

kid with balloon

“Photography adds a layer of ambiguity to the drawing… creating hurdles or layers in which to look at the image.” -Vik Muniz



daphnis et chloe

“A meadow at the edge of a sacred wood. In the background, hills.”

Honduras countryside

“The earth opens. The fearsome shadow of Pan is outlined on the hills in the background, making a threatening gesture. Everyone flees in horror.”

Cracks in ice

“Suddenly the air seems laden with a strange feeling; small fires are lighted by invisible hands.”

water from fountain

“At daybreak bird-songs are heard, shepherds arrive to find Daphnis and waken him. Chloe is brought to him. They embrace, and then together mime the legend of Pan and Syrinx.”

daybreak yellow flowers


darkness in the ancient valley

Attended the first night of the world (and Nashville) premiere of American composer Richard Danielpour’s piece, eponymous with the title. Described as “visceral, romantic and distinctly American.”

(One day, this blog will be about science again.)

Reminds me of another less arcane piece, actually —

Somethin’ filled up
my heart with nothin’,
someone told me not to cry.

But now that I’m older,
my heart’s colder,
and I can see that it’s a lie.

Children wake up,
hold your mistake up,
before they turn the summer into dust.

If the children don’t grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
We’re just a million little gods causin rain storms turnin’ every good thing to rust.

I guess we’ll just have to adjust.

Seven Ages of the PhD

I read a really interesting and introspective article in Nature recently – “Seven Ages of the PhD” – documenting individual scientists’ experiences and insights as PhD students in the past 7 decades.

Generally, each decade has an overarching tone in one’s approach to research, a pervading mindset towards science and discovery, if you will. The contributors ranged from a British biologist who worked with Rosalind Franklin to a Chinese glaciologist working after the Cultural Revolution crushed Chinese academia to a Nigerian chemist whose home university did not have the necessary equipment to conduct her research.

It was wholly inspirational and I cannot wait to start my PhD 🙂


1950s: the age of formality

1960s: the age of independence

1970s: the age of innocence

1980s: the age of internationalism

1990s: the age of revolution

2000s: the age of perseverance

2010s: the age of communication

“A good PhD often raises more questions than it solves.”
— Raymond Gosling