My thesis adviser, a colorful spirit and one whose wisdom will be missed, used to say that undergraduate or professional students differed from graduate students in that they were asked to learn what was known about a subject, while graduate students were asked to tackle the unknown.
We, in higher education, are essentially seeking to find out what is not known and start to come up with new answers. How does one find out what is not known? In fact, is it possible to do that? Don’t most graduate students or post doctoral fellows add onto a lab’s existing body of knowledge? Adding to the unknown by building on the known? If this is how we work then does this create a very skewed version of the brain? How would we even know what is really unknown?