I have an enormous fear of flying, have never been on an airplane alone, and never across the Atlantic. Yet when the letter from TEDMED2012 came saying “Congratulations, you’ve been awarded the full scholarship to attend…..” all of those fears were put aside, and about to be faced as I pressed the “Yes” button. I will attend. This monday my journey begins.
Then it was the matter of finding finance for flight and hotel. Trust me it wasn’t easy! Let me skip to the end. I didn’t.
Why? Because every fund is based on two questions; “will you present a poster” “Will this be relevant for you PhD study”. No and Yes. But most funds need a yes on both questions.
Companies were even less excited. So it felt a tad hopeless. And then, I realised. Vacation fund, drivers licence money and kind parents. And it was booked.
It has been incredibly hard to explain what TEDMED is to the academics who haven’t, like me, sat for hours watching lectures in pyjamas, being inspired in to thinking anything is possible. How does one argue that science is not just standing in front of a poster? Development is not just presenting your study. Development is nourishing an idea.
As James D Watson writes in his book “Avoid Boring People, and other lessons from a life in science”. “Knowing why (an idea) is more important than learning what (a fact)”.
So I’m going to TEDMED, against all odds, to
1) Develop bravery
2) Develop my lifelong love story with science
3) Develop my sense of direction (I am the worse at maps)
4) Develop a network of good friends
5) Develop new ways of thinking about my role in medicine and science
6) Develop resources to nourish my creativity
7) Develop a network of 999 soulmates
8) Develop a memory for life
9) Develop my future
10) Develop a smile in 999 delegates
I would like to thank my sponsors;