Tuesday, April 18, 2006

It's not an argument

Hey folks, just trying to lighten things up around here.

I remind you all that I reserve the right to delete any and all comments I find truly offensive and uninformative.

I don't have to defend what I've written here, but I also don't have to discount the comments people have made. Some are more valid than others. I also note that some of the readers- not all, obviously- are smart enough to evaluate the comments as well as my posts.

If you're just here to pick a fight, shouldn't you be at the bench proving how worthy you are? Oh right, I forgot: you're Einstein, just like everybody else.

5 Comments:

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I remind you all that I reserve the right to delete any and all comments I find truly offensive and uninformative."

Known on the schoolyard playground as "I'm going to take my ball and go home."

 
At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can somebody remind me: What does publishing a lot of papers prove? I mean, obviously it proves you work hard and are doing good work. But I don't think it proves that you a superior human, or smarter human, than someone who produces just one interesting, quality publication every two years. Why can't we slow this science machine down a little bit. Oh yea, I forgot, we are supposed to be competitive.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger PhD Mom said...

Wow. I wonder how many of the anonymous commenters who posted recently are gainfully employed in tenure track positions. Everyone seems pretty bitter about the whole process. I really fear for the anonymous poster considering a career in the biological/biomedical sciences to use only this blog as an influence on their decision.

I understand and sympathize with YFS about the problems inherent in the system. Programs *do* educate more PhDs than academia can hire, and possibly more than industry can sustain. This has resulted in a supply/demand problem that can create 10 year postdocs, and if you can hire someone with 10 years of proven experience why hire someone fresh out of grad school or only with 2? That problem can only be fixed by addressing the issues of supply and demand (and perhaps limiting the number of PhD students).

However, limiting the number of students reduces the pool of cheap labor for research projects. It will require a substantial revamp to create a workable system with fewer PhD students and postdocs. It seems PIs might have to rely more on techs, a system that works pretty well in industry.

On the general question of science as a career, not all of us are so bitter about our prospects or lofty to think that we are the next Einstein. The question I often ask is if I wasn't doing this what would I be doing? Would I be more effective in industry pumping out more suntan lotion for everyone? Would I be more effective as a stay at home mom injecting my energies into the next generation? Or am I more effective here? As a scientist, I have the possibility<, but not guarentee, of acheiving greatness. And if not greatness, of making a small contribution into the understanding of life and the world around me. For me, that is worth the sacrfice.

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger TW Andrews said...

Damn, when did the commenters here get so hostile? I think that some of Ms. PhD's ideas are misguided, but she's pretty reasonable about discussing them.

I'd delete posts that were just insulting as well.

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous chris said...

re: PhDMom's comment.

I'd point out that not only are grad students cheap labour, but many PIs seem to play the probabilities: hire enough students, and one will prove to be the genius who takes a completely new direction, starts a project, rethinks an old one, etc. The rest produce anywhere from shockingly bad to interesting but not hugely original work.

Natural selection, really. Hence the competition "within" labs?

 

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