Robert Paxton

Robert Paxton [Photo by Markus Deutsch, MLU]

Position: Professor for general zoology at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Research focus: evolution and epidemiology of viruses in bees

What do you love about viruses?
Their evolutionary dynamism

Who is your favourite scientist and why?
Charles Darwin, for his wisdom, deep insight, and cautious interpretation of the world

On what topic could you give a 30-min talk without preparation?
The decline of bees and the role therein of viruses

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
Walking in the mountains

What are you currently learning?
Bayesian statistical inference

If you could create a new invention, what would it be?
A time machine

What is the most interesting question or challenge in science that is still unanswered?
The one I’m working on right now

What is the coolest thing about your research?
Having the opportunity to interact with lots of interesting folks

What do people think about you that isn’t true?
I’m mad about bees

What was your most surprising scientific finding?
That viral sequences extracted from two different hosts at the same field site were identical i.e. pathogen sharing among diverse host species

What was your biggest achievement and what was your biggest failure?
Achievements build one on the other such that each is diminished by the. next advance. Not to learn from a failure.

Which scientific topic (outside of your field of research) do you think should have more scientific attention?

If you had the option to advise a younger version of yourself, what would that be?
Write more papers