Units of expertise

My friend Gabe from Macdrifter.com wrote a really neat guest essay for A Better Mess exploring his journey as a scientist, gaining expertise, and overshooting goals. It’s called Expertise Does Not Have Units and all of you researcher-types should read it immediately.

We measure length in feet, weight in pounds, time in seconds and expertise in failure. The problem with becoming an expert is that often there’s no beginning and no end. Worse, there’s no measure we can use to perceive our progress. This is my attempt at a retrospective measurement of my journey. […]

Over the years, chemistry became an escape for me. It was a topic that supplied an endless stream of ideas and small joys. I could play with thought experiments in my head as easily as normal people carry a tune.

I had a hard time picking a quote because I didn’t want to give away the best thoughts or where he landed. Suffice it to say there’s some real heart behind this that you don’t hear coming from many scientists.