If anyone peered into my notebook right this moment, I hope they would find it easy to read, the pictures explanatory of the written notes, and insightful into science that I experience. Clear and easy to understand notes might help someone learn more about a topic they previously did not understand. In my mind, drawings make things more reader friendly so there is not an intimidating block of dense scientific/math related notes. Through writing not only about the research I am conducting for my thesis, but other scientific papers, lectures, and conferences, I hope to keep big picture understanding of science as a connected process.
Below is one of my favorite quotes from Aldo Leopold’s, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, reminding us to keep our eyes wide open. From the chapter “Thinking Like a Mountain”:
I hope that using my notebook for more than just my project will help me to remember that science is a related process, just as Aldo Leopold realized there is more to hunting deer than killing wolves. It is necessary to remember so one does not get pigeon-holed into one avenue of science.
Previous to this class I only kept a lab notebook for the field. This notebook included measurements or notes for the day, but did not extend outside of what was needed. No other observations or drawings. Very straight forward, to the point, and some might say “boring”. Similar to how some may view science as dry and short.
I hoped that this class would help me broaden my horizons and get me into the habit of taking notes outside of what is needed for the day’s work. In addition, I hoped to learn about other methods of notetaking, structure for notes, basic drawing techniques, and modern ways of storing these notes. As a result of taking this class, I have not only learned those skills, but several more. I now have a notebook that travels with me from class to class, meeting to meeting, and lecture to lecture. It includes drawings (see the images above), text, and even taped in post-it notes.
I came around to taking photos of these pages to electronically upload to my computer as a backup, after reading horrifying stories of lost works due to fires. This is my first semester as a graduate student and I feel that this class should be a mandatory first semester class for all graduate students. I have learned more about how data is shared, stored, and identified, in this class, than most people seem to know despite it being their third semester.