Most of my academic colleagues focus their research activity on a relatively narrow field and many have established international reputations in their chosen field of study. However, my own research profile is broad, including recently-published studies on the motion of nanoparticles, damage propagation in composites and stress analysis in aerospace components as well as current research on the fidelity and credibility simulations and tests (FACTS) in the aerospace, biomedical and nuclear industries. My breadth of interests makes it difficult to categorise me or to answer the inevitable question about what research I do. And, I have always felt the need to excuse or apologise for the breadth and explain by making tenuous connections between my diverse research activities. However, apparently my slow-motion multi-tasking is a characteristic of many high-performing artists and scientists. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has proposed that slowly changing back and forth between different projects is a standard practice amongst people with high levels of originality and creativity. Scientists that work on several problems at once and frequently refocus their research tend to enjoy the longest and most productive careers according to another study by Bernice Eiduson.
So, no more excusing or apologising for my range of research interests. It is merely slow-motion multi-tasking to achieve a long and productive career characterised by original and creative research!
Root‐Bernstein RS, Bernstein M, Gamier H. Identification of scientists making long‐term, high‐impact contributions, with notes on their methods of working. Creativity Research Journal. 6(4):329-43, 1993.