Jefferson Surgical Solutions

This issue is dedicated to our Department’s response to the novel coronavirus. One of many positives to arise out of this pandemic was the focus of our faculty on their research projects. This Spring, we were able to fund the highest number of Saligman Pilot Grants – six (6), the most ever!

I just read the 2008 Nobel Laureate (in Economics), Paul Krugman’s latest book – Arguing with Zombies. I recommend it to those with an interest in basic (Keynesian) economics, public policy, and two decades of discourse regarding the U.S., Social Security, Obamacare, the Euro, the housing bubble of 2008, etc. He also discusses his perspective on research.

Krugman offers his four basic rules for research:

  1. Listen to the Gentiles – “pay attention to what intelligent people are saying, even if they do not have your customs or speak your analytical language.”
  2. Question the question – ask if people are working on the proper questions, and be prepared for pushback from the establishment!
  3. Dare to be silly – embrace new assumptions, anticipate ridicule from critics, but have the courage to promote innovative and unique theses.
  4. Simplify, simplify – strip down the concepts to a minimalist model and force yourself to clearly project the essence of your findings.

Krugman’s four rules, though designed for economic theory, are very relevant to both clinical and bench science. Not all solutions need to be complicated, sophisticated and obtuse. Perhaps one of our six Saligman Pilot Grant Recipients will make a novel and innovative discovery taking these four rules to heart. It was very gratifying to read these six creative Saligman Pilot Grants submitted by our faculty.