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Changing Disciplines Can Offer Personal And Professional Satisfaction

SIDEBAR: Online Career Information For Scientists Describing his career, Chris Fields invokes the cry of Civil War Admiral David Farragut: Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! Over the past 20 years, he has worked in physics, meteorology, and, now, genetics. Each career change presented new opportunities for Fields, who has a talent for data analysis. "I find it fascinating when people say they're bored with what they're doing," says Fields, chief scientific officer of newly formed Molecular

Kathryn Brown

SIDEBAR: Online Career Information For Scientists

Describing his career, Chris Fields invokes the cry of Civil War Admiral David Farragut: Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! Over the past 20 years, he has worked in physics, meteorology, and, now, genetics. Each career change presented new opportunities for Fields, who has a talent for data analysis.

"I find it fascinating when people say they're bored with what they're doing," says Fields, chief scientific officer of newly formed Molecular Informatics Inc., a Santa Fe, N.Mex., company specializing in data systems to organize gene sequence information. "I can't imagine continuing to work on something if that's the case."

Fields, of course, is not the first restless researcher to forget the obstacles and switch careers. Earlier this century, a handful of physicists-including Max Delbruck and Francis Crick-launched the study of molecular biology. Trading physical systems for the living cell, these pioneers revolutionized science.

While...

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