Glut of biologists (was Re: Shortage of biologists)

Littlejohn Tim little at ERE.UMontreal.CA
Wed May 26 09:33:54 EST 1993

COKelly at (C.J. O'Kelly) writes:

[stuff deleted]

>Moreover, I think that academe is digging its own grave on this.  Given
>the value system of today's society, science educators -should- be
>saying "This field is -only- for those who are -called- to it (cf.
>priests, ministers) and who have the mental and physical abilities to
>make the grade at the highest level."

I agree with this 100%, Charley.  I have seen the world from both sides
of the fence, as I left academia for the business world but turned 
around and came back again.  My perspective of both universes is now,
I hope, more rounded.  Both offer advantages.  But focusing on money
as if it was the only issue is off the track.  The real question is
"Why should I devote my life to science?".  Here are some of the
answers as I see them, answers that are rarely espoused by the academic

1) The thrill of the chase;
2) Membership to an international community;
3) The possibility of working overseas;
4) Travel (conferences, sabaticals, etc);
5) Freedom:
	- intellectual, to say, think and write what you want;
	- to be your own boss;
	- to decide the fate of your work;
	- to surround yourself with the people and tools that you want;
	- flexible working hours; 

We in the academic community should be selling these unrivaled benefits 
of our world, and fighting with everything we have to maintain them.
They are, after all, really just requirements of any intellectual persuit.
Without them, science cannot survive.

Tim Littlejohn

E-mail:     little at         Tim Littlejohn 
Snail Mail: Departement de biochimie        Phone: (514) 343-7936
            Universite de Montreal          Fax:   (514) 343-2210 
            C.P. 6128, succursale A,
            Montreal (Quebec), H3C 3J7

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