Saturday, February 23, 2013

Paper and Acclaim

We resubmitted the paper the Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. Not necessarily because we have such high aspirations for it but because this paper is in no rush to be published so why not? I always have weird feelings about publishing. How much should I care to publish and how much should I care to publish in a good journal? How much should I care whether I am first author or if my name is not even listed? Obviously for things such as graduating from a Ph.D. program you need "proof" that you did scholarly work. In the end how much does any of it matter though. My goal is to do science. I enjoy science. I enjoy figuring things out and theorizing. I don't need people telling me how great my work is or how poor it is. Generally, I am self aware about the science I do and I know the quality level of it. This is not to say that it is _not_ good to have the input of others. It is good. I think science needs discussion and collaboration.

An interesting example is this: I have met two types of scientists, those who share their unpublished data without a second thought and those who guard it like it is the most precious possession in the universe. Why do people guard their data? To prevent being scooped? Their is too much pretend competition in science. Or competition at all. Science is not a competition against each other. It is a competition against the universe. The competition is, how much more of that angry bitch can we help the world understand before we die. Sure, it sucks to see someone else take credit for something you did. Credit should belong to who credit is due but why do we need credit.

This question has always bothered me and I guess it is centered on human emotional need. As human beings we want to feel wanted or needed or worthwhile. It is strange that we as humans have not evolved a system for inner self-worth without the need for external stimuli. Maybe it is because we feel people who have more acclaim are more happy. Only one person in the history of the Nobel Prize has refused it based on not wishing the acclaim, Jean-Paul Sartre. One would think that since 1901 with over 5 prizes being awarded per year there would be a handful of people who would just refuse it because they think it is silly and pompous. There have been 826 Nobel Laureates to date.

I hope if there ever came a day in which people wanted to award me a prize for something I didn't request or need (such as fellowship or scholarship or grant, those are usually need based). That I would have the decency to turn it down because I am but a cog in the almighty machine of information and knowledge.

In the end however we are all only human. We all just want love and acclaim. Well most of us. maybe. Are we lying if we say we don't?

More science posts coming I swear. I have been really working on some for a fair bit of time because I lack the intelligence to completely explain the topics thoroughly. I am however, learning.