Welcome! Thank you for visiting my professional website. I'm an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, and I'm currently working towards my PhD at the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science. Previously, I obtained MSc and BSc degrees from the University of São Paulo in my native Brazil.
My overarching goal as a researcher is to describe the patterns and unravel the processes that generate the wondrous phenotypic diversity of the world's birds. I also have strong interests in outreach, teaching and mentorship.
I can be contacted at raf.marcondes[at]gmail.com or at rmarco3[at]lsu.edu. I can also be found on Twitter @brown_birds.
In my career as a scientist, I find myself very often thinking about two quotes, one from the 19th century German physician Hermann von Helmholtz, and the other by Brazilian novelist João Guimarães Rosa. The first quote helps me make it through the long timelines and frequent frustrations of research, and the second reminds me to stay humble about the limitations of my work specifically and of Science in general. It also beautifully expresses the the type of scientist I like to think I am: one who knows a little about a lot, rather than one who knows a lot about a little.
"One cannot see the way up a mountain, it can only be climbed by trial and error. The intellectual mountaineer makes false starts, gets stuck, gets into blind alleys and cul-de-sacs, finds himself in untenable positions, has to backtrack, has to descend and to start again. Slowly and painfully with innumerable errors and corrections, he makes his zigzag way up the mountain. It is only when he reaches the summit, or the height he desires that he will see that there was a royal-road to it. In publications he takes his readers along this royal road, but this bears no resemblance to the crooked tortuous process by which he constructed a path for himself."
Hermann von Helmholtz, 1938
"Eu quase que nada não sei. Mas desconfio de muita coisa"
"I barely know a thing. But I suspect many things"
João Guimarães Rosa, 1956
(Portuguese original and free English translation by me)
This webpage was last updated on 19 October 2019.