Funding and Orwell

William Tivol tivol at
Thu Dec 28 18:45:04 EST 1995

Gregory R. Harriman (gregoryh at wrote:

:      Whether this is Orwellian or not, I don't care to speculate on. 
: However, if you place a strict limit on how much funding a researcher is
: provided, you most definitely place limits (by definition) on their
: research activities.

	The elimination of the superconducting supercollider from the budget
places a restriction on physics research activities.  In a world of finite
resources not everything can receive public money (or private for that mat-
ter).  The decision to fund many smaller projects at the expense of the SSC
is similar to Alex's call to fund many more researchers at a basic level at
the expense of the larger labs.

:  With regard to the
: competence of scientists; somehow managers, executives and leaders of all
: sorts are able to effectively manage large groups of people.

	Usually by having a hierarchy wherein some managers supervise a few
other managers.  It is very difficult to supervise more than ~10 people di-
rectly.  In large labs, there are often "superpostdocs" who have responsi-
bilities for projects within the overall lab program.  The lab chief dele-
gates responsibility for the details of these projects and supervises only
the superpostdocs directly.

:  Are
: scientists inherently inferior to those leaders and therefore unable to
: manage more than 2-3 people?

	The MBA was initiated because engineers with no management exper-
ience were inefficient supervisors.  It is the lack of training, rather
than inherent inferiority which usually causes poor management.
				Bill Tivol

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