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Re: “LR's Noelle Nikpour in Daily Show skit

As a scientist, this story just made my stomach hurt. What politicians say about scientists and my chosen profession (complete with blood, sweat, and tears... literally) is both ridiculous and completely, utterly, grossly insulting.

Scientific funding is at an all time low and young scientists, like myself, are leaving the profession because of 1) lack of money and 2) lack of jobs. Stories like this (even satirical, albeit true, ones), turn off those that may chose a scientific career. Who are going develop new drugs and technology? Who are going to educate your children?

The peer review process is cut-throat because if there is one thing scientists do really well: critique and tear apart. Nothing is ever good enough. Oh, you cured cancer? Well, I think there might be a better way to do it. That's how scientists think. Are there scientists out there with questionable ethics? Sure, but that's everywhere and that's why there is peer review. Generally, the scientific field is harsh, cruel, and completely all-encompassing with long hours (holidays, weekends, nights) and little pay or return. We do it because we love it. We're passionate about it. And a little crazy.

But, sometimes, love isn't enough. I recently left the realm of academic science. And many of my peers consider me lucky. I feel like I was forced to leave because the lack of funding (who is going to pay my salary?) and jobs (many professors are tenured and simply not retiring, or schools aren't re-hiring the positions). Honestly, I'm worried about the scientific field and how long it will take to recover from the stagnant, or decreased, funding (almost 10 years now). Everyone wants to find a cure for cancer (or a multitude of other ailments), but with the way things are going in the scientific field, these cures are long off and maybe never achievable.

Cut us some slack. And for those that don't know anything about the scientific field, just ask a scientist. We love talking about it, but refrain from saying idiotic statements before you're educated on the subject. I guess you could call this a form of peer review.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by bookingit on 10/27/2011 at 9:52 PM
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