"Abused" scientists

Patricia S. Bowne pbowne at execpc.com
Mon Aug 2 16:38:36 EST 1999

Karen Allendoerfer wrote:
> But I've also found that these assumptions are just that:  assumptions.
> Over the years, as I've questioned them and stopped buying into them,
> I've found that people come out of the woodwork who don't share them
> either.  Men and women.  Postdocs and grad students.  PI's and non-PI's.
> People who have big Thanksgiving dinners at their houses, who put up
> Christmas decorations at their bench or observe the high holy days.
> People who know about taxes.  People who cook and enjoy their food.  Even
> a few people who get 8 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis.  These
> people often aren't the scientific stars or the favorites in the lab.
> But I started to realize that who makes the favorites, anyway--I can have
> my own favorites.   More often they are the quiet ones, the ones whose
> work, both scientifically and otherwise, may fall outside the mainstream.
>  It can be lonely there, but more and more, I think I've come to see that
> it may be, all in all, a better place to be.

Right on!

When my father (a biochemist and geneticist) married, he claims
that he divided up his day into 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 
and 8 hours for his family. This was long before the women's movement, 
too. I've never seen any reason to think he was wrong, and I'm glad
I had his mantra drummed into me before I went to grad school and 
encountered the 'macho science' culture.

I wonder, though, how many of our students ever see a scientist who 
isn't either trying to live up to the assumptions you describe
or pretending to try to live up to them. We need new role models!

Can anyone point me to some for my students to look at? In science, 
it seems as if "Arrowsmith" is still the pattern, at least in 
literature and films. There is always the NIH and Scripps scientist
who was interviewed on the "Paris Fall Fashions" show last night, I 
suppose, but I missed her name.

Pat Bowne

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