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what is science about?

ewu neurite at excite.com
Sat Nov 1 10:50:56 EST 2003

Hello all,

I worked as a research associate at neurology department of a
university at Miami, Florida.  An event occurred to me last year and
completely destroyed my belief in science.

Two years ago, I was seeking a new lab to join since the grant I was
getting paid was going to end very soon.  On the interview for the new
position, the professor mentioned to me that his hypothesis could lead
to 10 published papers within one year.  This minor detail did not
caught much of my attention, however, was indeed hideous for the
disaster happened later.  After working in the lab for about half a
year, the results I repeatedly obtained did not support his
hypothesis.  One time was acceptable.  Twice was OK.  But then,
gradually, the professor started to act impatiently toward me.  Till
one day, a performance evaluation came to me with all item on it
marked as the worst.  My previous evaluations in another lab were
never like this.  Feeling unfairly treated, I argued with him.  That
argument did not change anything except now there was half-hour harsh
criticism in his office every day.  He did not dare to fire me because
I was three-month pregnant at that time.  So he was pressing on me to
resign myself.  The fight continued.  Later the department got
involved.  After half a year, the department "persuaded" my boss to
give a new evaluation but under the conditions that I must resign
after giving birth to my baby.  Facing pressure from my boss and the
department and also for the safety of my baby, I signed the
resignation letter in exchange for a re-evaluation and also to relieve
myself from much of the stress I had gone through.  Six months after
my resignation I am still sitting at home unemployed.

Looking beyond my personal issues, I wonder if this is indeed a crisis
facing science and research.  What is science about?  Is science all
about positive results?  Is science all about publishing those
positive results?  Is science all about getting grant?  Is science all
about getting promoted? How many graduate students, research staff,
postdocs, faculty fall victims to this wrong conception?  Why nobody
stands out and speaks the truth?


Tieyan Shang

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