How I Make Work Like Play
A good half the time, I’m doing what I want to do, which is very rewarding. It’s like play.
Sam Wang is an associate professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.
Wang grew up in California and studied physics at the California Institute of Technology. Seeking his Ph.D. at Stanford University, he switched to neuroscience. He has worked at Duke University as a postdoctoral fellow and aided political leaders as a Congressional Science Fellow. After completing his postdoctoral studies, he spent two years at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., where he learned to use pulsed lasers to study brain signaling before coming to Princeton.
Wang, who has published more than 40 articles on the brain in leading scientific journals. His educational reach extends past the laboratory and classroom in his books, popular articles and efforts to convey neuroscience to interested nonscientists.
I think that my own work day is not a very good example to people in other kinds of work because, as an academic, I have a lot of control over my time. I can work on a thing for an hour or two and if I get tired of it, I can move onto another thing.
It’s actually built into the life of a professor to constantly have the time broken up into little pieces: meet with a student, teach a class, go work on a paper, go have a lab meeting in the case of a scientist like me. And so I’m constantly changing tasks. And that has the advantage of giving me a certain amount of control over my time and also breaks up the tasks a little bit.
One thing for me that’s also the case is that as in many professions where people chose their professions because they wanted to do it, for me a lot of work is not really “work” per se, it’s play. So I’ve managed to make the work rewarding for its own sake. After decades of wanting to be a neuroscientist, I finally get to be a neuroscientist all the time.
I would say only half of my time is spend doing things that I would regard as doing work, per se, where if I really had to choose, I think maybe I might like to be doing something else.
But a good half the time, I’m doing what I want to do, which is very rewarding. It’s like play.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.
- The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
- The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
- Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.