Thoughts on Approach to Research

Last Friday was Bio-inspired Adaptive Materials Symposium. It covered topics ranging from 3D printing to building designs to robotics. The great variety of topics reflects various approaches to research by the speakers.

Some research  are more real-life problem-oriented. For example, Jeff Karp’s work on designing cardiac devices for infants and biodegradable adhesives. Or George Whitesides’ work on soft robotics.

Some research are more question-oriented.  For example, Peter Vukusic’s work on structural color in biology.

Some researchers pick a material to study. For example, Fiorenzo Omenetto’s work on silk.

Some research have a generic method. Given the theme of the symposium, the method is bio-inspiration and biomimetics.  The need for bio-inspiration come from the fact that our previous training, knowledge, and experience consciously or unconsciously limit our thought and idea-creation processes.

The variety itself is inspiring already. Which one works the best? Is there a best one?  What are the advantages and disadvantages for each approach? For any given project, how to combine two or more approaches to maximize the strength of each approach?

Published by

Wendong Wang

A chemist who blogs

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