Affordable Access

Some aphorisms on research and writing.

Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Department of Physiology and Biophysics, ROBERT F. PITTS* Cornell University Medical College, 1300 York Ave., New York, N.Y. 10021 SOME APHORISMS ON RESEARCH AND WRITING** When Dr. Giebisch called to ask me to speak at this dinner celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Salt and Water Club, I violated a long standing principle. I said yes immediately over the phone, rather than giving his offer the mature consideration it deserved. After-dinner speaking is definitely not my forte. Then when Dr. Levitin called to reinforce the invitation, I asked him what I should talk about. His reply, "About 30 minutes," was no help to me in my dilemma. However, I do consider Dr. Giebisch's and Dr. Levitin's offer to speak as a signal honor. Most of you know that I was never allowed to be a party to the deliberations of this august body. Presumably as a Departmental Chairman I would have dominated your discussions and inhibited the free expressions of younger men. But at least after 20 years you have mellowed to the point where you will tolerate a garrulous old man as long as he has a specified time limit. I shall certainly not exceed my limit. We all share a common interest in two types of activities: biomedical re- search and writing, namely the reporting of the results of our investigations to our colleagues and to the broader scientific public. I have now been in laboratory research for 40 years. Perhaps these 40 years, which began dur- ing the second year of my Ph.D. studies and continued throughout my medi- cal training to the present, give me license to discuss from experience these two mutual interests. In considering a title, I finally settled on "Aphorisms on Research and Writing" as a mechanism of sharing my thoughts with you. Aphorism is not the most appropriate word. An aphorism is a short, pithy maxim. A maxim is a generally accepted truth. I doubt that all of you will accept my thoughts as truth. In fact, I'd prefer you would not; instead I'd rather needle you a bit. My first aphorism is re

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times

More articles like this

Some aphorisms on research and writing.

on The Yale journal of biology an... June 1971

Some haphazard aphorisms for epidemiology and life...

on Emerging infectious diseases January 2010
More articles like this..