Research is a Thrilling Roller Coaster!

By Shripriya Kalbhavi | August 04, 2023

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the Young Scientist Blog! My name is Shripriya Kalbhavi, and I am one of the top ten finalists of this year’s 3M Young Scientist Challenge from San Jose, California. As usual, it’s always a pleasure to share more about my experience in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge with you. Even as I sit at my desk now, typing this blog post, I fondly notice that I have different 3M materials scattered across it as well as several printed research papers and articles from my research over the course of my summer mentorship. In fact, today’s blog post is centered around doing research!

Doing research can be both exciting and challenging. The hardest part is sifting through so much information out there and figuring out which sources are trustworthy. It's like searching for a needle in a haystack! But, it's important to carefully evaluate the sources to make sure we're getting accurate and relevant information. Plus, sometimes, scientific jargon can be quite overwhelming, so it’s important to make sure you also figure out what those mean too. For me, the most trustworthy resources are the many research papers as well as opinions from experts like professors at local universities.

If I had to name one thing that was tricky for me at the start of the Young Scientist Challenge, I would say research. Why? Can you really solve a problem just based on your prior knowledge? Well, you might have some creative ideas based on what you already know, but in-depth research is essential for finding the best solutions. It helps us understand the problem well, learn from what worked for other researchers, maybe even what didn’t, and discover existing solutions we can build upon. Without good research, there’s always a chance that we might end up reinventing the wheel or missing valuable insights. In addition, the abstracts of research papers can also be really helpful when summarizing the information that you just read about so that you are not overwhelmed.

Research is important, but so is organization! Scientists, and young scientists, deal with lots of data, results, and notes. Staying organized is a lifesaver! If you find some really good data or papers that you want to revisit in the future, having some sort of spreadsheet or chart where you are storing that information can be really helpful. That's why keeping a Scientist Notebook is so important. It helps me stay on top of my progress, easily find information when I need it, and analyze the data that I gather effectively.

Research and gathering information play a massive role in coming up with a solution to a problem. Before I designed my EasyBZ microneedle patch, I spent hours researching drug delivery methods, hydrogels, and microneedle technologies. Understanding how things already work and their limitations sparked new ideas for my project. Research guided me in designing the most effective prototypes.

To wrap it up, research is the foundation of scientific innovation. It's a journey of exploration, learning, and inspiration. As young scientists, I have learned to embrace this long yet helpful process, stay organized, and be open to new ideas. Through research, we can make a real difference and create solutions that can change lives.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure! I’m already learning a lot about myself in this scientific journey, and I hope you enjoy learning about me too! That is it for this time, so see you soon, right back here at the Young Scientist Blog. This is Shripriya, signing off. Have a fantastic day!