NY Times Magazine

SLF notmyaddress at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 5 12:36:29 EST 2000


Does anyone read the Sunday New York times?  the magazine section today
(06/04) featured an article about "science geeks" in a NY high school ,
who are
active in real biomedical research. The goal is to build technologically
capable
students who will go on to do great things in research or business.

None of them sounded particularly interested in a research career.
can't
blame them;  who wants to earn a pittance when a lucrative high-tech
future beckons?  Especially for women--if you're not going to earn as
much as the men (and you won't),  then at least you want the average
to be higher, e.g., in industry, rather than paltry academics where
there
is always some excuse to pay you less.

And why put up with the abuse, mistreatment , hypercriticism and
negative reinforcement of an academic career?  the petty competitions
and mean-spirited reviews?   Not to mention an anti-intellectual popular

culture that is suspicious or frightened of scientists.  (Are there ANY
benevolently-portrayed scientists in the media?)

Of course, without replenishing the basic research ranks with the best
talent, like these kids, there won't be  many discoveries from
curiosity-driven research  that cross over in years to come to
support the next generation of  high-tech and the next new economy.

I continue to be amazed--well, at least, disappointed--that our
profession
is not actively challenging the status quo within and without  to make
it vibrant and central to our culture.  As scientists we are supposedly
challenging the future, out on a limb ahead of everyone, but we are so
entrenched in  our ancient exclusionary profession that science looks
like the most   conservative, regressive business there is.

HOW DO WE CHANGE THIS?

--
-susan
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S L Forsburg, PhD  Associate Professor
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
forsburg at salk dot edu
http://pingu.salk.edu/~forsburg/lab.html

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
http://pingu.salk.edu/~forsburg/bio.html
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