Walking that narrow line

July 23, 2012

The key to being a science rockstar, if you like that sort of thing*, is to become legendary in the minds of others while never believing it for a second yourself.

If you fail on the second part, you are just kind of a jerk.
*I don’t, obv.

No Responses Yet to “Walking that narrow line”

  1. monakhos Says:

    I agree with this this; until I got to the footnote.


  2. chemicalbilology Says:



  3. anonomouse Says:

    I find lots of people, generally more senior, fall victim to this. They have years of smoke being blown up their asses…such that they do not accept criticism from their colleagues/trainees. Ultimately, their science turns to shit, but, they are so enamored by program, their 38%tile grants get funded…thus avoiding any need for serious self evaluation, and perpetuating the cycle.


  4. AcademicLurker Says:

    The key to being a science rockstar…is a kick ass rhythm section.


  5. Cypress Hill: Science edition Says:

    People see science rockstars, you know what I’m saying? But you’re still trying to get out and work just like everybody else. It’s a fun job but it’s still a job. And save your money, man, save your money too. Research grant don’t last very long, you know what I’m saying? You gotta be lucky in this business. There will be another lab coming out, data like me, methods like me. I know this. There will be a flipside to what you did, somebody trying to spin off like something serious.

    You ever have big dreams of writing big grants? Big shot! Heavy hitter on the conference scene! You wanna look trendy, in a Bentley, be a snob man, act like CPP? You wanna have big fame? Let me explain what happens to these stars and their big brains. First they write grants like all damn day. Long as you’re funded everything will be OK. Then you get dissed by reviewers at the Glamz, things never stay the same way as they began. I heard that some never lived life to the fullest, that’s why Boltzmann wound up dining on a bullet! Think everything’s fine in the big time? See me in my lab with GFP all shine! So you wanna go far? And live large? That ain’t all that goes with being a science superstar!

    So you wanna be a science superstar, and live large, big lab, five postdocs, you’re in charge? Coming up in the world don’t trust nobody, gotta look over your shoulder constantly.


  6. Namnezia Says:

    CH-SE: Excellent!


  7. Dickemonkey: Visiting seminar speaker just leave your office?


  8. arrzey Says:

    @anonomouse: data please to support this perspective (the 38 %tile funding)? From my experience on studysection and double checking on CRISP, this has become a favorite urban legend of people not funded.


  9. drugmonkey Says:

    OK, that was funny PP.

    arrzey- I think we all have a bit of confirmation bias going on here, sure. The most salient events from my times on study section were for SURE the ones where a competing continuation came in and the original SS showed that it funded at some redonkulous score. and for finding out that some new grant got funded when my memory of the final discussion scores said “no way”.

    The outside pickups do happen, just look at the NIGMS data and the two other institutes that have subsequently chipped in. The trouble is that they are rare and therefore salient when the are an oldster. Younguns? well, I can’t say for sure if they don’t happen or I just don’t remember them…


  10. david Says:

    “If you fail on the second part, you are just kind of a jerk.”

    Or a department chair. Failure on the second part is required.


  11. OK, that was funny PP.

    I am always funny, fuckebagge.


  12. drugmonkey Says:

    If you say so…


  13. arrzey Says:

    DM – I actually went back after last study section & did some checking. Bcause you now have to own up if you vote outside the recommended range, the final score was pretty guessable. More than 50% were triaged. The SS I’m on funnels to about 3-4 main IC’s, and payline varied across IC. But… I did NOT see any bluehair/greybeard types (determined from date of degree) getting a pass on anything. No one said “this is an important scientist who should get funded”. If you’re triaged, your triaged. End of story. The few I picked to follow up on didn’t seem to get funded.

    My current perception: there isn’t enough money to go around. Everyone thinks they are the short end of the stick and someone else is getting unfair help. You are right about the statistics – a few bad scores get picked up on. But, by the stats, its a rare event.

    Yes, there are old farts hanging around, impervious to criticism, terrorizing the young, etc. But I also reject the image of the young beleaguered scientist bravely fighting on in a world that doesn’t want them. There are lots of young assholes out there, too.


  14. arrzey Says:

    And… I vote PP’s comment best of show, for this week at least.


  15. Maria Says:

    Nice post


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