The Science Careers Forum just finished a competition to see who could come up with the best expression of science career wisdom. The catch: You only got six words.
Entrants were judged, and a winner announced, by the Forum Advisers. There was also an Editor’s Award, awarded by me.
I’ll cover some highlights here, but I encourage you to read the original forum thread.
The adviser’s winner was “Scientists aren’t born. They are developed.” I didn’t vote for that one because, though appreciate the implication that you can accomplish a lot with hard work and savvy–and you can–I’m not sure I completely agree.
My winner: Still looking: A career. My terms.
That one was posted by Michael C. I liked it because it expresses what I think is a very important attitude: You have to imprint yourself on your science, and your own desires on your scientific career. If you try to plug yourself in like some kind of generic part driving the machine of science, you may end up with a perfectly satisfying career and a happy life. Yet there’s a lot to be said for uncompromising ambition. You need it if you want to be a star. My terms. You also need it to go your own way, against the grain, on a course that doesn’t involve Nobel prizes and fancy research chairs.
Some other favorites:
From VSR: Job needs experience gained from jobs.
From JCB: Science: Stress. Overwork. Underpayment. Meaningful. Crucial.
From Russell: Shot for moon. Missed. Cold, dark. (Pairs up nicely with the winner from Michael C, doesn’t it? My terms.)
From R.X.H.: Students, postdocs work; professors given credit.
I encourage you to check out the complete list.