Any physical scientists or engineers here?

Thought I’d create a topic for physical scientists and engineers to introduce themselves, as this forum seems to be populated by mainly social scientists.

I’m Ben Trettel. I’d consider myself a theoretical fluid dynamicist, though I’m also interested in improving the quality of research in the physical sciences in general (“verification and validation” to use the US Department of Energy’s terminology). I’m almost done a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

After graduating next year I’m going to start a small research company and fund my research through a combination of sources, likely including small grants, SaaS businesses, and consulting.

What motivates me to become an independent researcher is that doing the research I’d find valuable is hard or even impossible in academia, government, and industry. As an engineer, I have more options than many do, but more bad options isn’t much of a choice. The research jobs available to me either work on subjects I don’t find valuable (e.g., nuclear weapons), practically force me to do bad research (publish or perish, etc.), make essentially all my work owned by my employer (including much work done on my own time), or a combination of the mentioned.


hi ben, i did civil engineering for undergrad at nus singapore, and then a masters in islamic education back at my hometown, medan, indonesia, where i am residing at least till year’s end.

anyway, at nus, i was obsessed at finding information, and was very happy that its library had a specialized search tool, which covers what i feel almost all academic databases and news outlets which can be covered. i felt then i could find any public (and most private) information that exist in the world. countless time i suggested the library to buy books yet unavailable in the library, and i couldn’t remember a time that they refuse.

i worked for insead, the french business school, for two summers during and after my engineering degree. with bloomberg terminals available at its library, i also felt then that i could find most information that i want to find. in business, information, and knowledge, is really ‘power’. :slight_smile:

therefore, it is with great interest that i see that you’re trying to find scientific works as stated in your website: as i said, i am bit obsessed about finding information, and i did try to search some on that website, to no avail.

well, this is what open science is all about, right? i think igdore members in europe who happens to be in halle, germany, or delft, netherlands, for example, could help enquire about the works you are looking for at the respective institutions.

another point i can think of is if even those ‘advanced’ institutions do not digitize their scientific production, what about indonesian and other post-colonial countries’ institutions? there’s so much to say, but perhaps later when i have time in a separate thread.

all the best for your phd and after. :slight_smile:

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Hello @btrettel! First of all, welcome to the forum!

Thank you for opening the thread and for your presentation. It makes me think that we lack a proper section for that.

With a formation in neuroscience, I think I lay in between social and physical sciences. I sometimes focus on the more humanistic side of my discipline, and sometimes on the more technical aspects (which are ruled by engineers at the moment).

Nice to hear from you Ben!

My undergraduate degree was in mechatronics engineering, although I focused more on the electrical instrumentation and software side of it than the mechanics. Since then I went through a neuroscience PHD focused on behavioral modelling and then did a postdoc working mostly on computational optics and microCT imaging (although in the context of vision, so framed as neuroscience).

After graduating next year I’m going to start a small research company and fund my research through a combination of sources, likely including small grants, SaaS businesses, and consulting.

I’ve gone down a similar route and am currently using consulting to subsidize a small amount of independent research. Would love to hear more about your plans for independent research, as there aren’t really many people doing this at the moment!

You may also be interested to know that IGDORE is starting a research consultancy for our affiliated researchers, which could be helpful if you’d like to do part of your work through a consultancy rather than independently. Some initial comments on this topic can be found here: Research Consultancy (collaborative proposal)

Sorry for the delay. I had other priorities.

@surya: Thanks for checking the list of papers I want on my website. I’m planning to get some of the most important ones during a visit to Germany in the future, though I’d be very happy if someone could beat me to that.

@Gavin: My plans at the moment are not clear. I’m compiling a list of options that I’ll investigate. I do have one consulting job on the horizon, though it’s not set yet. I think engineering gives me many more options than other disciplines, fortunately. Once I get this list organized I’ll post here about the various options I see. I’ve love to hear from others about any option I’m not considering as well. I’m fairly skeptical of several of the options I’ve compiled. I suspect others will have doubts as well, but they’re all worth giving fair chances.

As for IGDORE’s research consultancy, I’d prefer to do the consulting independently. Since IGNORE seems to have a social science focus, it seems unlikely to me that engineering clients would come here to consult with research engineers, though this may change with time.

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Hi everyone! Just chiming in here. I’m Rohit Goswami, and I’m a doctoral research at the University of Iceland where I work on Quantum Chemistry and machine learning. I have an undergrad in chemical engineering, so I guess I am technically both a physical scientist and an engineer :slight_smile:


Welcome to the forum, @rgoswami! :wave:

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Hey there! Biomedical engineer here! My background is brain computer interface. I work in industry in sound recognition, and I have done some prior research on forensics, life support, and military archeology.

I turned down a particular option because I like being independent, instead of the particular place certain people were trying to herd me towards.

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Welcome to the forum @john.larocco :wave:

I almost considered switching to working on BCIs after working on behavioural and anatomical neuroscience for a PhD and Postdoc. It seems a pretty exciting field to be in at the moment. Are you still doing research in this area?

Agreed that freedom of research path/direction is a big benefit of independent work. I wrote about this in another thread so I’ll just link to it here: