Calculating Protein Concentration

Pow Joshi via (by pow.joshi from
Tue Jan 22 15:54:33 EST 2008

On 22/01/2008, Tom Anderson <ucgatan from> wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Jan 2008, Pow Joshi wrote:
> > On 21/01/2008, DK <dk from> wrote:
> >
> > > That you apparently had bad teachers who allowed you to successfully
> > > go through things that require this knowledge without acquiring it is
> > > most certainly not your problem and I don't think any single reply
> > > said that. It's a tragedy of many modern societies. And I am afraid we
> > > will be paying dearly for it down the road. Dumbing down higher
> > > education is one of the shortest ways to a societal suicide.
> >
> > ...and this is a general comment:  I one also sees very clearly, that
> > science is , as again someone has already suggested, fast becoming a
> > game of numbers and rote "doing" rather than anything to do with any
> > kind of thought process or intellect that gives rise to hypothesis and
> > predictions....  it is as well that one invented robots to do ones
> > bidding (which may, very well, replace the numerous postdocs and
> > technicians that the universities and industries employ) ... it is the
> > age of "brute force" I suppose....
> I hear this a lot. The funny thing is, it doesn't correspond in the
> slightest to the way i, a graduate student, do science, or the way i see
> anyone else around me, student or postdoc, doing science. Yes, we use
> kits, and i doubt many people could tell you exactly what buffer QC does,
> but i can assure you we're fully engaged on the problems we work on. Not
> having to think about how DNA binds to a column doesn't mean we do less
> thinking, just that we have to spend more time thinking about the other
> problems we face.

So, what's going on here? Is it the case that science is descending into
> rote doing or not? Is this just a standard complaint of grumpy old
> scientists? Have i been lucky to work in more switched-on environments? Is
> this something that's common in, say, biochemistry, or structural biology,
> or molecular biology labs, but less so in cell biology, where i work?
> Could it perhaps be a difference in culture between the US (where i think
> a lot of you are, although i'm not sure) and the UK (where i am)?

It would be grimly ironic if it was the latter. Group leaders here are
> constantly urging us larvae to postdoc in the US, to learn the 'American
> style of doing science', implying it's some master secret that will unlock
> successful careers. Perhaps it's the exact opposite.
> I should say, though, that i don't think that's the case; British people i
> know who've worked in US labs generally report that there is no
> significant difference in culture (modulo the average size of labs, which
> is much bigger in the US). I suspect it's a weird cargo cult that's taken
> hold amongst British group leaders: all of them went to the US to postdoc,
> and now they're successful, so of course if we do it, we will be too,
> right?  This displays a woeful lack of logic and understanding of cause
> and effect, but hey, this is group leaders we're talking about, no news
> there.

ah, Tom, the silly little details of knowiing "how the DNA binds to a
column" actually helps one understand and interpret the results , and
ofcourse, troubleshoot ....and believe me, it is what constitutes "thinking"
as well, not just the the wonderful wild trips of imagination which we all
love to indulge in .........and no, I don't consider myself grumpy little
scientist, please, my grad-schooling was not long ago for such luxuries
......and the again some of your and my british colleagues may beg to differ
from your view of the wonderful side of the coin....
.... my comments were a homage to all the lovely literature that gets
published, a lot of which is so unique that not even the good Mother  Nature
will ever reproduce it ....

> --
> Tom Anderson, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, UCL, London WC1E
> 6BT
> (t) +44 (20) 76797264   (f) +44 (20) 76797805   (e)
> thomas.anderson from
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> Methods from

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