Response to comments on last post
Stupid blogger is having problems posting my responses in the comment section. So here they are.
Yes, several of us have suggested that mandatory retirement or some kind of senior advisory status (different from Investigator) might make a lot of sense.
They'd give up their lab space and equipment and exploiting their lab members, but they'd still be a great resource for oral history.
Most of the older scientists I know, that's all they want anyway. They want someone to tell them about their data, and ask their advice. Isn't that the most fun part anyway?
There are few faculty I know of who are genuinely doing the full job anymore at that age. They are all delegating to superdocs and grad students.
I hadn't heard about Science Debate 2008, so I went and looked at the website.
I wish they'd debate stem cells, but they won't!
Agreed that most Nobel Laureates can't really speak to this issue.
I don't know any personally, although I've met a few, and I think it's fair to say their experiences are usually way out on the edge of the bell curve.
AAAS fellowship is something I've thought about pretty seriously, if this research thing doesn't work out. My fear is that it's the opposite of a postdoc- I don't think they just let you decide what you want to work on.
I agree that it's totally idiotic to support people who got jobs during the least selective time over people who are coming in now (!). Totally stupid.
I know a few of these guys, and let's just put it this way: they're calling me and asking how to do experiments. I'm having to tell them they won't be able to publish without controls.
Yeah. Guys like that. Yippee.
I've always thought the definition of 'young investigator' was preposterous. Even sillier now as the age of 'young' is creeping up and up.
Someone sent me a cartoon the other day, I wish I could post it but I can't reveal who it was. Basically they were saying their lab is having a hard time getting their RO1s renewed, because they already have >5 RO1s and several millions of dollars in funding, and not that many people actually working in the lab.
Oh and did I mention this is one of those labs where the postdocs write the RO1s, but they don't get credit as co-PIs?
Most, if not all, of the 'haves' I know of are exploiters in the extreme.
The worst of them are liars in the extreme as well, which is why they are the Haves.
But I've posted about that before.
The PIs I know who are on the older edge (I'm talking >60) are not training anyone enough to merit their enormous pay and mismanaged lab space;
none of them are innovative on their own, they just push through ideas that their lab members feed them;
and they're only productive in name because they get credit for the work of their slaves.
Let's put it this way. I was reading a book the other day and one of the characters visited a southern plantation sometime in the 1970s. She went on a tour of the place and there was no mention of slaves.
So she asked. "What about the slaves?"
And the tourguide said, with a straight face, that there weren't any.
So she took the tourguide over to the place where the slaves' graves were marked with single stones, and said something like , "Are you seriously trying to tell me you really think this tobacco plantation of >100 acres was farmed by a family of four?"
Needless to say, she ended up changing the way those tours were done, forever!
I realize our situation isn't quite as severe, but if you'll bear with the analogy, we need someone to do the equivalent "Are you seriously telling me you think these old geezers are actually writing all their own grants and coming up with all this innovation???"