Hands in the lab/NY times

SLF notmyaddress at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 7 11:47:52 EST 2000

>  Susan states that "we are so entrenched in
> our ancient exclusionary profession that science looks like the most
> conservative, regressive business there is." in the face of an article
> that describes a large number of labs that have included a very young
> student within their core activities. Perhaps Intel supports each of them
> with big bucks but I doubt it.

thanks mike.

let me clarify.  First, bright brains attached to decent hands are valuable in any lab.  (These are exceptional high school students, I must note--my experience with
HS students in the lab has not been so encouraging.)    By using the term " exclusionary profession,"  I wasn't considering who the "hands" in the lab are.  Science
has always utilized the young and eager.  I was considering who is allowed to succeed up the ranks.

the student may enjoy her rapture and the cool result, but if she looks around her at the faculty, she may wonder whether there's a place for her running things in
academic research--or is that place just doing someone else's experiments?  Women continue to be about 50% of students and postdocs, but often not even 20% of the
faculty--even the junior faculty.

My other concern was that while the students were enjoying and benefitting from the experience, it seemed unlikely that they would go on with science in the future.
One in particular stated that he wanted to earn more money....so I was worried about the future, not where they are now.

Our culture has moved to a place where financial self-indulgence beats out intellectual challenge, and people value themselves on the money they earn. That's sad.

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S L Forsburg, PhD  Associate Professor
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
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