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Interview with:

Don Schaffner [dschaffner] 


SCIENCE
What do you investigate? What is at the heart of your research?
We study food poisoning bacteria.
Do you have a link to a site where we can see something about you, or the center where you work?
http://foodsci.rutgers.edu/schaffner/index.html
What is your educational background? What work experience did you have before this?
BS, MS, PhD. I've never had a real job.
Did you keep your nose to the grindstone in school?
Nope.
What kind of technology are you using for your research right now?
Traditional tools, petri plates, dilution bottles, pipettes, etc. And computers, mostly Macs.
What types of experiments do you conduct? How are the conclusions documented?
We study bacterial growth, death and transfer. We publish papers.
If you conclude your investigation successfully, what practical application would it have in everyday life?
It would make food safer and prevent food poisoning.
What is a "eureka" moment? What is it like to experience one?
When suddenly something makes science. It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
What do you find to be the most difficult aspects of your research?
Dealing with the University bureaucracy.
What have you published?
Lots. http://foodsci.rutgers.edu/schaffner/publications.html
Should there be more public financing for scientific investigation?
More is better. We are amply funded now.
What is your personal position on the use of animals in scientific investigation?
We don't use them.
Can you briefly explain the difference between common logic and the scientific method?
Not much difference in my opinion.
What is science and what is pseudoscience? Who decides which is which?
Hard question. I'm going to skip it.
What is the role of creativity in the scientific method?
Science is all about creativity.
What it is the most intriguing scientific question that you would like to see resolved?
I don't know.
What scientific explanation is there for spirituality? Are religion and science incompatible?
Some religions are incompatible.
Is there some area of knowledge that is morally unacceptable to you?
Skipping this one too.
Is there another way science could be studied in schools?
Science should be taught by experimentation, not lecture.
What is the best way to disseminate science in the mass media?
Scientists need to talk to reporters.
Why do two or more scientists often come up simultaneously with the same discovery?
I don't know.
What is the meaning of life? Is there a scientific answer to this question?
42.
Investigating is to live on the frontier of knowledge. Can you explain that sentiment?
No.
What would be your dream to work on for your next research project?
I don't understand the question.
If you could give just one piece of advice to beginning researchers, what would it be?
Don't give up. Keep trying.
 

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[dschaffner]
Don Schaffner
New Brunswick, NJ, USA


[dschaffner] Don Schaffner
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© Don Schaffner
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