Thursday, November 19, 2015


When I was in school, we had an impromptu essay competition where I vaguely remember the topic was something to do with quiz/general knowledge as a subject in school. I remember writing in that essay that I thought memorising certain things like dates of wars and rulers, names of scientists etc. were just a waste of  time and effort. I also remember writing that it was useless to remember trivia and 'waste" grey matter over such things. I said that it was more worthwhile  to remember things that were more useful practically. I don't know if I was innocent or obnoxious of me or if I was merely influenced by the hardships of being a student. I didn't win any prizes for that essay but I remember the teacher who read it came to me afterward and told me that it is very important to give credit to people who do things out of the ordinary.

I mention this today because being a scientist today myself, I know scientists crave for credit. I think it is because of the importance that is given to the publication profile of the researcher. If you know discover something, it's not enough. The data must be published in a top-tier, peer-reviewed journal and people have to read it and cite it, which is akin to acknowledging the results. Sometimes, actually most of the time, it is not possible to publish something because it is not 'novel' enough or just because it is not in the 'hot area of the moment', even though a lot of hard work has gone into the work. A lot of researchers quit because although they enjoy science, they are not able to keep up with the pressures of publishing, which is really sad.

As for me, I still don't care much for the credit. I'm happy if I know I'm doing good science and as long as I enjoy it, I'll continue to do what I'm doing. So, if you ask me today, I'll still say students dont need to remember trivia such as names of scientists. If and only if you come across something in your life that influences you a lot, you should but look up the person responsible and/or say a silent word of thanks!

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