Not My Thesis interviews graduate students about what their thesis is, but also what their thesis is not. Listen as we explore science via the hearts and minds creating it.


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Not My Thesis, Chapter 1

Show notes

Answering an unanswered research question is a struggle. You do not know what the solution is, what it might look like, or if it even exists.

In Chapter 1 of Not My Thesis, Tal Einav talks about his particular version of this struggle, when building mathematical models to predict the unpredictable behavior of antibodies binding viruses or of enzymes binding DNA. Building a model that predicts complex data is easy; rather, the challenge is finding a model that uses a few simple ideas to (mostly) predict complex data. He explains how he unexpectedly finds the struggle to be the most productive part of discovery and how that informs his approach to teaching.

You can find his paper on RNA polymerase here and his paper on HIV here. He is currently a post-doctoral scholar at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle.

Find us on Caltech Letters, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify. You can contact us by emailing [email protected]. Music for this episode was provided by Blue Dot Sessions, and our artwork is by Usha Lingappa.


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Not My Thesis interviews graduate students about what their thesis is, but also what their thesis is not. Listen as we explore science via the hearts and minds creating it.


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