Miguel Beato is one of my favourite scientists. We met at the CRG in Barcelona, where we both work and often collaborate. One of the most interesting things about Miguel is that for more than fifty years, he remained a pioneer in the field of steroid hormones. He embraced every scientific revolution and he keeps pushing scientific progress forward with unmatched panache. I figured I would collect some of his thoughts on the future of science and other topics that I enjoy talking with him about.
Guillaume Filion: What do you think has been the most important revolution in science since the beginning of your career?
Miguel Beato: The transition from analysing single events to global events in the cell. Actually, changing the microscope for statistics.
GF: Why is this so important?
MB: Because we can for the first time look at cells, even at organisms. We have a tool to measure changes and variations that was not available before. This is what enables the kind of approach that we all have at CRG. The only way to study processes is to use networks, circuitry of things you know are connected, and try to understand things this way...
Some of you may remember planktonrules from my series on IMDB reviews. For those of you who missed it, planktonrules is an outlier. In my attempt to understand what IMDB reviewers call a good movie, I realized that one reviewer in particular had written a lot of reviews. When I say a lot, I mean 14,800 in the last 8 years. With such a boon, I could not resist the temptation to use his reviews to analyze the variation of style between users, and to build a classifier that recognizes his reviews.
I finally got in contact with Martin Hafer (planktonrule’s real name) this year, and since he had planned to visit Barcelona, we set up a meeting in June. I have to admit that I expected him to be a sort of weirdo, or a cloistered sociopath. The reality turned out to be much more pleasant; we had an entertaining chat, speaking very little about movie reviews. He also pointed out to me that doing statistics on what people write on the Internet is a bit weird... True that.
Anyway, as an introduction, here is a mini interview of planktonrules. You can find out more...