January 13th, 2007


Pinch Me, I’m Not Sure I Exist

Yesterday afternoon my professor came back from the gym, very excited, and called a group into our conference room to talk about an idea, a *revelation* he’d had on the exercise bike. And he mentioned that this idea had been “triggered” by my answer to a question at my qualifying exam (yay, I’m a dissertator!) last week…his great idea: EXACTLY what I’d said a week ago, a hypothesis that runs counter to my lab’s lame group-think regarding a particular phenomenon. At some point in the meeting he asks me if I think it is a good idea (um, yeah). Granted, intellectual ownership doesn’t ultimately matter, and if he’s excited, it means experiments will actually get done, since it is more related to others’ projects. But still—do successful PIs get some brain re-wiring that allows them to be so convinced of their own brilliance, and see underlings as just extensions of themselves? It seems a common syndrome...

Oh and to end the meeting he says “Thank you, gentlemen.” (Seven men look uncomfortably in my direction) “Oh, and L.”