Macho Science

Karine Hertzberg karine.hertzberg at
Fri Mar 24 03:59:21 EST 1995

In article <67871.emklann at>,
emklann at MARLIN.BIO.UMASS.EDU ("Ellen M. Klann") wrote:

> I think one of the major factors contributing to "macho science" is the
> intense competition found in the States to obtain and keep even the lowliest research
> position.    I think people running labs (men and women) forced into
> attitudes of the compulsive work-aholic to try to keep their heads above
> water.  I would like to think that these people, if given a chance of
> spending less time at the lab but maintaining their scientific reputation,
> would jump at it. 
> I would like to know how things are in situations where funding is not so
> competitive.  When I worked in an industrial environment I found things were
> more balanced.  I have also heard that in Europe where while the funding may
> be little but you don't have to work night and day to get your share, a
> more balanced approach to the scientific life exists.

> Ellen

I seem to spend a lot of time this morning writing to this newsgroup, when
I should be writing serious science. Obviously my attitude towards
scientific life is not very stringent.

To be serious, I'm actually amazed at some of the postings from americans
in this newsgroup, so things are definitely different in Norway (and I
would add, in Scandinavia, which I have some knowledge of). Although it's
not uncommon to work more than 40 hours a week, especially in certain
periods, it's nowhere near the 60 hour work pressure which seems to be the
rule in the US. I'm a PhD-student, who are supposed to be among the more
hard-working, and all other PhD-students I know pursue other interests
besides their science (sports, music etc). Quite a few have children. More
importantly, it's an accepted way of life. As you stated, a good scientist
also needs other input than just science - any person does. 

Just a comment: along with this, I have problems understanding the choice
of having children when you plan to continue working 50-60 hours a week
(has been stated in several postings). Apart from weekends, you will see
your child something like 2 hours a day. Is it worth it, for both men and
women? Are there anybody who changes this when they get children, and work
less? (the choice a lot of people would like to have, according to Ellen). 

Academics with children here (Phd-students and above) usually follow a more
normal schedule with 8 hour days.

I'm not intending to be personal with this.

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