But it seems a point of equilibrium has been reached. Peace and quiet. As an engineer 'in the making', focused on renewable energies, I am reconciling 'anything with anything'. Finally.
I have still not decided what 'science' means to me: Is it a world view, a collection of disciplines (I am biased in favor of natural sciences) or is it defined by the social system called scientific community?
I have left academia more than 15 years ago, trying to avoid the nomadic post-doc's lifestyle. It was a negative decision and not at all an easy one, I was not yet drawn to something new. I cannot leave blog posts on 'Leaving Academia' uncommented, see the following articles (highly recommended reading): The Cult of Academia und A Nerdy Break-Up: Leaving the Academic Life.
Here is my take on this: The Dark Side Was Strong in Me.
Fast-forward: I have finally found out, that
my destiny was to start a business of my own and
that I am not comfortable with being part of any large organization or system - be it academia or a global corporation.
But it took me some years to realize that, because academia was not igniting my entrepreneurial spirits yet. Rather the opposite: Though you have been trained to become a very specialized expert for many years - more trained or more specialized than any other professional, 'the system' still makes you feel you are still 'a student' who has to jump through more hoops, do more post-docs, write more papers, apply for more grants etc.
Adding more trivial conclusions: Nice to analyze all this in hindsight, but I could have got there in an easier way. Maybe. And if you have problems with systems (sample n > 1) you should not blame it on the systems.
In December 2012 I was able to report on a milestone - not because something has changed dramatically in 2012, but because I have finally reached a Zen-ny state of contentment: 2012: The Year We Make Contact.
The Element is offline - or at least it wants you to believe it is. In a distant corner of the web(*) it is more active than ever.
The red pages will be back online - probably changed a bit - in due time.
The pages are still there - you just need to know the URLs.
The chance in a life time to quote from the grand Offline Page I've never used:
This website is temporarily offline...
...being updated with new revolutionary content
... or just to fix some stupid error
On reviewing your one history you are always biased and tend to rewrite it silently. You might consider that bias positive, recapturing Viktor Frankl's saying of flooding the entire life with meaning in retrospect. I am keeping the old versions of my web pages and force myself to re-read, comment and gradually change them. The CV tends to become cluttered, therefore I am providing a current version (2011) which is neither complete nor objective.
I always wanted to know how stuff really works and what makes human beings behave the way they do. As a child I have dismantled a toy car in a way that the grown-ups could not reproduce. I grew crystals of potash alum and blue vitriol (until I destroyed a not so heat resistant glass) and crafted paper polyhedrons (the largest in terms of no. of surfaces was a rhombicosidodecahedron with pyramids on each surface). Later I fired pulsed laser beams on little lumps of ceramic material, took photos of the emitted cloud of evaporated material and let thin films grow from this material. I have tried to understand why this clouds protruded into space in a very peculiar shape and why the electrical resistance of these films became zero at low temperatures (or not).
I was most interested in the reason why (things were as there were). It seemed less important to me to build something useful based on these insights. But I became more and more involved in the latter. Probably this was based on my investigations of the human behavior. Or rather the behavior of systems constituted by human beings. I learned what is required, important, right or opportune. As a small particle in large systems I have made some contributions. Today I am still under the impression of the ambivalent nature of of being the 'techie who saves the world': Fame and glory versus burnout and stoic self-descipline.
Reading the book of my life I am detecting the following recurrent theme: Since nearly 25 years I have been explaining technical and scientific stuff. By explanation I mean the transfer of low-level understanding - of 'talking and thinking science' in the language of mathematics - into examples, action, and stories. I am a true fan of Richard Feynman.
(First English version generated at the beginning of 2011. There is no older and thus 'more positive' English version in this category - one that would correspond to the oder German articles.)
Some years ago I would have described myself as a nerd, geek and tech freak. I like Dilbert-style humor, worked at strange hours and found some aspect of Star Trek like adventures. I still believe that having worked in the trenches of a real IT project adventure is the best way of building long-term 'contacts' (as relationships between human beings in the business world are called in modern 'networking lingo')
23:00 ... But there is still life in the office (or in the data center). The project team is working their heads off to meet the deadline. Having consumed an enormous amount of coffee, Coke and pizza the mood is cheering up - paradoxically. It is difficult to understand for outsiders when grown-up professionals show childlike joy when call their test domain disaster.now.
By the way I have implicitly defined 'Technology' as something like the real-world applications of the insights provided by natural sciences and engineering - real-world also including human beings, corporate politics, and so on. Originally the term as such would rather mean 'Understanding of techniques' in my opinion - which is to some extent exactly what is missing in modern 'technology' (depending on how to define 'understanding').
My resume from many years 'in IT' and 'in technology projects' is as follows: I was worth the experiences - both technically and personally. It is fun to be part of a Dilbert cartoon for some time, it is like carnival (which I never liked, BTW). But at some point of time you might want to return to the role of the person who is just occasionally reading the cartoons - even if this means: less money, less glory.
Scott Adams hat written God's Debris. I would be interested in his motives.