Faculty, students address power of research
Ron Miles summed up the theme of the Binghamton Research Days’ keynote program with a quote from Albert Einstein: “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be research.”
Miles, associate dean for research in the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, was one of several speakers at the keynote event and poster session on April 25. The program was the central event of Binghamton Research Days.
“What determines whether you’re a researcher or not is how you respond to the realization that you don’t know what you’re doing,” said Jean-Pierre Mileur, then interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “If it panics you and frightens you and it doesn’t draw you on to approach your own ignorance as a problem to be manipulated and solved, then you probably belong in another line of work.
“But all the people who have spoken today share that response, that curiosity in response to the knowledge of their own ignorance,” he said.
The keynote program was bookended by a poster presentation session. Undergraduate and graduate students presented research in subjects ranging from psychology to art history to microbiology.
Robert Dextre, a mechanical engineering major, presented research he conducted during a 2011 internship with NASA. “I gained more knowledge and skills than I could ever have obtained from a textbook,” he said. “My experience was far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined and much more useful than any homework assignment.”
This was the idea behind Binghamton Research Days: making connections between research and what happens in the classroom. Faculty members were encouraged to introduce their own scholarship in classes during those days. The schedule also included seminars, workshops and laboratory tours.