Get access

Scientific attributes of a researcher and member of the triological society


  • Gerald S. Berke MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Head and Neck Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A
    • UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surgery, 10833 Le Conte Ave., Room 62-132- CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1624
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Presented as the President's Address at The Triological Society's 114th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., April 29, 2011.

  • The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.


This presidential address discusses the comments from the first Mayo Clinic's Chair, Harold Lille, MD, regarding different contributions by members of The Triological Society in his 1939 presidential address. It then goes on to discuss scientific research attributes expected of members of the Society that were gleaned from a fusion of Dr. Berke's notions with what other famous researchers, inventors, and philosophers have said about aspects of research. The areas covered include research motivation, the process of research, the scientific method, imagination, intuition and luck, questioning in science, tenacity, ideas, and knowledge. In summary, the following are the expected attributes of a researcher and member of the Society. The individual should enjoy the creation of new knowledge and appreciate the mysteries of life and the joy of discoveries. He or she should be a staunch supporter of the scientific method, but should also understand that every researcher is a professional amateur, and that the process of research is often fraught with blind alleys and incorrect ideas and assumptions, and that ultimately hypotheses must be substantiated by experiments. A researcher must exhibit imagination and intuition augmented by tenacity and scientific questioning. Finally, he or she should recognize that chance favors the prepared mind, and always be on the lookout for novel ideas framed by a comprehension of existing knowledge, not just in one domain but across a broad horizon of disciplines.