The transfer of learning (1) is a philosophy that when we learn something in one field, at one time, in one place, this information carries over to other fields, other times, other places. More importantly, the transfer of learning philosophy suggests that what we learn in school carries over into our lives, shaping our worldviews. As a postdoctoral scholar who has just recently switched fields in December, I feel the strains of this transfer of learning process every day. Learning new things is hard… but oh, so worth it!
What is really incredible about diving into a brand new field, is that it has allowed me to apply the knowledge I gained through earning my PhD in computational biophysics to a new world filled with aerosol particles in the field of environmental chemistry. Yes, I did make this switch just in time for a new administration’s rampage on the Environmental Protection Agency,… timing is everything people.
In spite of my fear of imminent job loss, this new field has opened my eyes to the world around me. Sometimes I find myself walking around UC San Diego’s campus look up into the sky and imagining what small nanoscopic worlds are living in the aerosol particles in the clouds above us. How do cell-derived macromolecules change the chemistry of our environment? What are the compositions of these aerosol particles, and how do their origins dictate this composition?
This month I am thrilled to be returning to the Biophysical Society for my 4th year. I am still and hope to always be a biophysicist. In previous meetings, I have made new friends, learned cutting edge science, joined a newsletter team (The IDP State Letter), watched a National Lecture from the late Klaus Schulten, and been exposed to the diversity that is so distinctive in this society. This year, I am excited to return “home” to the Biophysical Society: a diverse community united in the transfer of learning. Looking forward to seeing the world a little differently after this conference and I’ll see you there!
(1) Kleibard, H. (2004). Scientific curriculum-making and the rise of social efficiency. In The Struggle for American Curriculum (pp. 77-105).