Question: What are some major break throughs that you have discovered.

  1. I’m very early in my research career, so I’m yet to have a major breakthrough. That being said I’m hoping to have a big breakthrough with an experiment I’m currently working on, as I’m hoping to show you can recover enough DNA from a single, small piece of hair shaft to be able to identify someone. This will hopefully be a big breakthrough as hair is very small and doesn’t contain much DNA and previously it hasn’t been done! For me, breakthroughs come every day – from getting an interesting result, to getting something that previous wasn’t working to work, to implementing a new method or piece of equipment. When an experiment hasn’t been working for weeks on end, when it finally does work it can feel like a pretty major breakthrough!

    Often scientists will make many small breakthroughs over their careers which can amount to a big improvement in the knowledge in their field. It’s actually pretty rare to just have one big discovery – even the big discoveries that end up all over the news usually consist of many smaller discoveries that may have taken years, and these amount to a big breakthrough or answer.


  2. I have made some minor contributions. I wish I had come up with the idea of internet, but somebody else did. One of my colleagues (in University of Washington) came up with the FoldIt game where you try to figura out the shape of proteins. In one case gamers solved a problem in 10 days that had been puzzling scientists for 15 years! That was really cool.

    I came up with some techniques for making the game characters a bit more human like, techniques for computers to solve thermodynamics problems from a textbook, getting computers to read graphs in the same way people do, using face-detection to find out if somebody is enjoying the game tehy are playing or not. One of my students is working on a game to help od people exercise.

    These are relatively minor contributions, but there is time and a lot of work to be done!