What the movies have taught us about scientists

6th June 2003 at 01:00
* All scientists are experts inall fields because they read "a journal".

* All scientists suffered an intense personal trauma in their youth, which left them incapable of making sensible career choices.

* All scientists are leaders in their field, particularly those in their mid 20s. Becoming "the leader in your field" takes a lot less time and effort than getting your doctorate.

* Young scientists, particularly young female scientists, are more likely to be right than those over the age of 40.

* The likelihood of a scientist being listened to is inversely proportional to the extent to which that scientist knows what she is talking about.

* Being called in as an expert by no means guarantees that a scientist will be listened to, in fact, it almost guarantees that she won't be.

* Any scientist seen worrying about funding, or doing anything to secure it, is probably evil, particularly if male andor over the age of 40.

* Science is a lot easier if it's conducted in your own basement. Expensive equipment, a ready supply of chemicals, good lighting and lots of technical assistance are more a hindrance than a help.

* All scientists wear glasses, although female scientists may not actually need them, as demonstrated by the number of times in a given day that they will take them off.

* Male scientists have bad hair; evil male scientists have very bad hair; female scientists, good or bad, have immaculate hair which is never disturbed except when let down and shaken out.

* In the lab, all scientists wear white coats at all times. Outside, they wear brown shorts and white singlet tops.

* All scientists are capable of re-wiring a complicated piece of equipment to perform functions its designers never dreamed of. If necessary, they can do this with a bobby-pin.

* Scientists never weigh or measure their reagents, work under sterile conditions or repeat an experiment. They never test hypotheses, as this is tantamount to admitting they might be wrong. They travel from first premises to conclusions in a single bound. This conduct saves a great deal of time, which may then be used for saying: "I'm a scientist, dammit!", at every opportunity.

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