Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"These Are the People Who Actually Did the Work"

Today I heard a fantastic seminar, and as for most science presentations, the professor ended the talk with an acknowledgements slide. "And these are the people who actually did the work..." she said, and spent about ten seconds reading some of their names.

Science is about people. Oh, we pretend it's about molecules and deep-rooted universal truths. But all of that is pie in the sky. What we really have is people, interacting on the day-to-day, performing experiments, discussing results. People.

For the most part these people - the ones actually doing the work - labor in anonymity. They don't get a lot of credit. They don't make money. They may dream of a Science paper. But for the most part, they leave it to their PIs to acknowledge them at the end of a talk.

So here's a turn. From now on, when I give a talk, I'm going to give the acknowledgements slide first. I'm going to introduce the people who did the work. And then I'm going to tell their story, through the data they have generated. Because that's the story that really matters.


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