February 08, 2015

Baker Scientist, Scientist Baker

In thinking about where to take my life after my PhD, or rather, where life will take me after my PhD, I started thinking about what I want to do, who I am.
We all heard the question when we were kids: “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” I went through various phases including paleontologist and marine biologist.  But now (arguably) I am grown up.  If someone were to ask me what I am, what would my answer be?  What would your answer be?

During the day I am a baker scientist.  I love research.  Despite the sometimes boring, often repetitive tasks associated with biomedical research, the questions you can answer are important, interesting, potentially life-changing.  Inevitably, one answer leads to another question.  Sometimes you end up answering questions you didn’t even consider at the beginning.  I often wish I had a team to answer the questions I think of on the side and don’t have time to fully investigate myself.  Sometimes I bring in some baked goods that I made the night before and people appreciate it.  Sometimes I make someone a birthday cake. Baker scientist.

In the evening and on the weekends I am a scientist baker.  I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and get my hands dirty.  I read food magazines, food blogs.  I cook, we eat.  I come up with (sometimes) crazy ideas and try to put them into practice.  Most of the time I try and use the scientific method.  Start with a base recipe that I know works, hypothesize what ingredients I should change based on ratios, test, and repeat!  Like this roasted white chocolate lava cake or this cherry bourbon manhattan.  Thankfully the testing is (usually) delicious.  Scientist baker.
The truth is, for me, baking and science are inextricably linked and I hope my future career will be able to combine them as well.  This is why you’ll start seeing more science in my blog posts.  It’s just who I am.  

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