Discipline curiosity


As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.
— Leonardo da Vinci

I am interested in a lot of things, but the problem is that in order to make a meaningful contribution in any particular field, one has to focus. Each person can only make one small step at a time. I fear that with my many interests I may not, figuratively speaking, walk in any one direction far. Thus, I feel the need to discipline my curiosity and to focus my energy.

As I am looking for the common denominator through the list of things that interest me, the geometric theme emerges: from crystallography, to self-assembled structures, to pattern formation, to computer graphics. Given what I am good at and what I have been trained for, I start to narrow down to the topic of morphogenesis. More specifically, the formation and effect of curvature in natural and synthetic three dimensional structures. It will let me exercise some muscles in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, and at the same time, relates to my hobbits in computer graphics and my interests in design and architecture.

The other half of the puzzle is to answer the question “so what?”. I am concerned about the significant challenges in our time, and I do not intend to be an ivory-tower type academic. Two areas that I think I can make meaningful contributions are water and manufacturing. The next task is to identify specific problems to tackle.

The scientific and technological areas that need to be put under watch are 3D-technology (3d printer, 3d scanner, 3d imaging and display), morphogenesis in chemistry, biology and in nature in general, and pattern formation at nanometer, micrometer, and millimeter scale.