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“Asymmetric Assholes” July 28, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.

This post was on the Cosmic Variance blog last week. “Known calibrated assholes” and “asymmetric assholes”  – I love it. Yes, even as a postdoc, I can still learn new words every day! 🙂

It’s totally true though – everyone in acadaemia comes up against these characters regularly in their career. And whether you’re an undergraduate, PhD student, postdoc or professor, they affect everyone.

During my PhD I once gave an interview to an optics magazine about my work. Rather than send me an email to ask me more about the work, another researcher who was well known in the field posted an online comment to the article, on the magazine’s website, saying that the claims of the article were totally untrue, that he had never heard of our group being involved in this kind of research. I then received the friendly advice from senior members in the field that the man’s comment “had not gone unnoticed”, and that perhaps I ought to place a comment in reply. So I posted a brief reply, and sent the man himself an email listing all our publications of the past 10 years in that line of work.

So if you recognise yourself in this story as the man posting the comment: you’re on my list of asymmetric assholes!



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