Anecdotal guide for the young research scientist by the father of modern anatomy and neurobiology, covering everything from valuable personality traits for an investigator to social factors conducive to scientific work.
Part 1 Introduction: thoughts about general methods; abstract rules are sterile; need to enlighten the mind and strengthen resolve; organization of the book. Part 2 Beginner's traps: undue admiration of authority; the most important problems are already solved; preoccupation with applied science; perceived lack of ability. Part 3 Intellectual qualities: independent judgement; concentration; passion for reputation; patriotism; taste of scientific originality. Part 4 What newcomers to biological research should know: general education; the need for specialization; foreign languages; how monographs should be read; the absolute necessity of seeking inspiration in nature; mastery of technique; in search of original data. Part 5 Diseases of the will: contemplators; bibliophiles and polyglots; megalomaniacs; instrument addicts; misfits; theorists. Part 6 Social factors beneficial to scientific work: material support; having a profession and doing research work are compatible; the investigator and his family. Part 7 Stages of scientific research: observation; experimentation; working hypotheses; proof. Part 8 On writing scientific papers: justification for scientific contributions; bibliography; justice and courtesy in decisions; description of methods; conclusions; the need for illustrations; style; the publication of scientific works. Part 9 The investigator as teacher.
In my own view, some advice about what should be known, about what technical education should be acquired, about the intense motivation needed to succeed, and about the carelessness and inclination toward bias that must be avoided is far more useful than all the rules and warnings of theoretical logic. - Santiago Ramon y Cajal"