Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How to not support your students

I am at a meeting now, and observed this incident. A prominent scientist gave a featured talk, and at the end went though the acknowledgements as follows:

"The work I presented was done primarily by Postdoc A and really talented Students B and C. Student C is here at the meeting and will be presenting a great poster on this topic in tomorrow's poster session. You should go talk to Student C to hear more about this research aspect and for some detailed discussions. The poster is tomorrow."

The speaker went on thank funding agencies, and talk about Postdoc A's new position. Just before concluding, the speaker looked at the list of research group members and then said "Student X is here too. With a poster."It was said so fast I didn't catch the name, and the speaker had already put down the pointer.

I am pretty sure both Student C and Student X were in the audience. This struck me as really unfair (I too was in a group with a Golden Boy). I mean, really, would it have killed the speaker to at least announce the times of both posters and point to the names of both students?

1 comment:

xykademiqz said...

Oh yeah. I heard a talk yesterday, and the PI waxed poetic about his group members, with pictures multiple times throughout the talk. There is a woman who is presumably a postdoc (she's a Dr. and was always referred to by first name) who was the second author on every single goddamn paper of the group. Yet whenever he talked about folks from his group, he's tell us about the various lead author dudes, their thought process and career trajectories, but we know nothing about Dr. A who is on every single paper. I am sure she has no thought process, ideas, or expertise that we should know of? More likely, she is super valuable to the PI but not aware fully of her worth, and the PI doesn't want anyone getting any ideas about hiring her away.

You are right. Not being the Golden Boy sucks. I am probably among 1-3 objectively most successful offspring of my PhD advisor, if not the most successful. Yet there is one other guy who by objective measures is OK but nothing spectacular get ridiculous lip service and boosting from our former advisor; I don't think he ever does that for me.