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My PI wont follow the evidence


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#31 GeorgeWolff

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:27 PM

I see - you took a poll of PI's. What was the % = "most"?

But your mind reading ad hominem aside - of course no one wants to be challenged but it's much worse to be shot down by ones colleagues publically/in print than by a lab tech in ones own lab. The reputation at risk is the PI's. If the lab tech with little at risk is offended - he or she should leave and allow the PI to flounder. However, there is just a chance that the PI - with so much to loose and with much greater experience and knowledge of the subject - might judge "strong data" in techician speak to be less than compelling.

Scientific thought is not a process of taking a poll of the techncians in ones lab.

Edited by GeorgeWolff, 04 August 2009 - 01:35 PM.


#32 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:34 PM

I see - you took a poll of PI's. What was the % = "most"?

Touché....:lol:...anecdotal, mostly, around the water cooler, but aren't you a prime example?
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#33 GeorgeWolff

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:36 PM

Lovely ad hominem. I'm not a PI - please stay on subject and drop ther personal insults.

#34 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:43 PM

I see - you took a poll of PI's. What was the % = "most"?

But your mind reading ad hominem aside - of course no one wants to be challenged but it's much worse to be shot down by ones colleagues publically/in print than by a lab tech in ones own lab. The reputation at risk is the PI's. If the lab tech with little at risk is offended - he or she should leave and allow the PI to flounder. However, there is just a chance that the PI - with so much to loose and with much greater experience and knowledge of the subject - might judge "strong data" in techician speak to be less than compelling.

Scientific thought is not a process of taking a poll of the techncians in ones lab.

But it is also not being fanatical about your ideas that you wouldn't allow a mere minion to question them. You're emphatic about science not being a belief system yet a scientist could be as unyielding as any religious extremist. And the challenge has to come from whom? Those that you only consider your equal....is this science then?

PS...And don't talk about ad hominems bec you're as good as in giving them...
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#35 hobglobin

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:43 PM

I see - you took a poll of PI's. What was the % = "most"?

Touché....:lol:...anecdotal, mostly, around the water cooler, but aren't you a prime example?

I think too that "many" PIs don't want to be challenged by technicians. Students are okay, but technicians should do their job, otherwise they are a misappointment. If they want to challenge hypotheses and participate in the scientific interpretation and discussion, they should study.
Perhaps it's not a bad idea of "some" PIs (don't ask about %) to let them do their work and don't explain the whole picture or tell nothing about the background of the experiments. If they know only a part of the whole issue then they have not much chance to think too deep into it.
And for the challenge there are other PIs, professors, PhDs, other colleagues on meetings...for me it is enough.
One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#36 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:46 PM

Lovely ad hominem. I'm not a PI - please stay on subject and drop ther personal insults.

But it's not a personal insult...shldn't you consider it a compliment that you could be mistaken for a PI..what with all your knowledge and experience...let's both relax now...esp since you're not a PI after all....
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#37 miRNA man

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:49 PM

As I see it, the PI has a few things to bear in mind - first he could lose money for the cost of the experiments (and this could be a big factor these days). Ego could also be a problem, I suppose depending on your point of view it could be a weakness to submit to the tech.

But I see no risk of reputation to the PI - it will be his decision to publish - if the results show follow the tech's line of thought then great (with more evidence I suppose), send it out to publish.If the results aren't as expected then all he's lost is some money, and his ego is intact (and he might even be appreciated more by the tech for allowing free thought in the lab).

#38 GeorgeWolff

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 01:59 PM

Please consider the following - Pauling's regret to the end of his days was his failure to discover the double helix as well as the error published in PNAS. Overconfidence and prob arrogance of an accomplished Nobel combined to leave him in obscurity despite his great scientific work - even x DNA. The obscure were elevated to continuing fame. If our lab tech friend had cautioned Pauling, he might have been ignored as was Chargaff and Pauling would have taken the same fall. But it's more likely that the lab tech would not have offered the same depth of insight.



In February of 1953, “A proposed structure for the nucleic acids” was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this paper, which would turn out to be one of the most famous mistakes in 20th-century science, Linus Pauling and his collaborator on protein structures, Robert Corey, both at the California Institute of Technology, argued for a triple-helical structure for DNA. A few months later, James Watson and Francis Crick published the correct structure of DNA, a double helix, in Nature and later shared the Nobel Prize (1962) with Maurice Wilkins for this epochal discovery.

How did Pauling make such an error? He was the world’s pre-eminent chemist and x-ray crystallographer, a technique that he employed successfully for decades to elucidate the structure of hundreds of inorganic substances like mica and topaz and then used to crack the structure of huge protein molecules in a revolutionary series of stunning papers published in 1951. Even earlier, Pauling and Max Delbruck in 1940 introduced a mechanism for gene replication, and in a lecture in 1948 Pauling proposed that genes might consist of mutually complementary molecules. Pauling knew about Oswald Avery’s extraordinary work in 1944 that indicated that nucleic acids were capable of transmitting genetic information, but he still believed, as did many scientists, that the hereditary key was protein. While sailing to England in late 1947, Pauling met Erwin Chargaff, who told him about his observations of the ratios of subunits of nucleic acids to one another. This clue to DNA structure was not heeded by Pauling, who found Chargaff’s personality disagreeable.

#39 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 02:06 PM

Please consider the following - Pauling's regret to the end of his days was his failure to discover the double helix as well as the error published in PNAS. Overconfidence and prob arrogance of an accomplished Nobel combined to leave him in obscurity despite his great scientific work - even x DNA. The obscure were elevated to continuing fame. If our lab tech friend had cautioned Pauling, he might have been ignored as was Chargaff and Pauling would have taken the same fall. But it's more likely that the lab tech would not have offered the same depth of insight.



In February of 1953, “A proposed structure for the nucleic acids” was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this paper, which would turn out to be one of the most famous mistakes in 20th-century science, Linus Pauling and his collaborator on protein structures, Robert Corey, both at the California Institute of Technology, argued for a triple-helical structure for DNA. A few months later, James Watson and Francis Crick published the correct structure of DNA, a double helix, in Nature and later shared the Nobel Prize (1962) with Maurice Wilkins for this epochal discovery.

How did Pauling make such an error? He was the world’s pre-eminent chemist and x-ray crystallographer, a technique that he employed successfully for decades to elucidate the structure of hundreds of inorganic substances like mica and topaz and then used to crack the structure of huge protein molecules in a revolutionary series of stunning papers published in 1951. Even earlier, Pauling and Max Delbruck in 1940 introduced a mechanism for gene replication, and in a lecture in 1948 Pauling proposed that genes might consist of mutually complementary molecules. Pauling knew about Oswald Avery’s extraordinary work in 1944 that indicated that nucleic acids were capable of transmitting genetic information, but he still believed, as did many scientists, that the hereditary key was protein. While sailing to England in late 1947, Pauling met Erwin Chargaff, who told him about his observations of the ratios of subunits of nucleic acids to one another. This clue to DNA structure was not heeded by Pauling, who found Chargaff’s personality disagreeable.

So where does that lab technician part come in? That he wouldn't have provided deeper insight that would have saved Pauling from his fall? Had he had the insight, it wouldn't really matter since Pauling didn't even consider Chargaff's? Can you explain more the relevance of this to this discussion?
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#40 GeorgeWolff

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 02:08 PM

I regret my point is too obscure for you.

#41 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 02:18 PM

I regret my point is too obscure for you.

Sorry...I have such a "less experienced" and "less educated" mind....actually even less than less :lol: ...c'mon George, I apologise ok? I'm tired and I don't like the words ad hominem...:)..can we go back to the discussion please...it's good and informative....I'll cut down on the impertinence and you try to be less mean.....

I'll read again your long post and try to understand it...

Edited by casandra, 04 August 2009 - 02:20 PM.

"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#42 HomeBrew

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 03:05 PM

I personally favor the "ideas are welcome from anyone" approach. It has served me well, both in science and in my past career in the Navy. I was very senior in the Navy -- one of the most hierarchical organizations around -- yet if the lowest E1 had a better idea of how to do something, I wanted to hear it.

The same principle operates well in a lab. I'll listen to and encourage new ideas and approaches, and maybe even allow some investigation along a new path, but --as in the Navy -- the ultimate decision (and the responsibility for the consequences of that decision) remains with me.

#43 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:36 PM

I personally favor the "ideas are welcome from anyone" approach. It has served me well, both in science and in my past career in the Navy. I was very senior in the Navy -- one of the most hierarchical organizations around -- yet if the lowest E1 had a better idea of how to do something, I wanted to hear it.


Isn't this an ideal or at least a more effective personnel management style i.e., you increase productivity by encouraging cooperation and collective effort, recognising individual contributions and not stifling initiative and resourcefulness from each member of the group?

I'm not saying that everyone's equal (not in an imperfect world) but one doesn't need to feel that s/he's just a mindless drone whose opinions don't count. If one has concerns, they shld be addressed and the person must be allowed to argue their case instead of being ignored, shut out or put down just bec as in this case, they're only techs or newly starting students. And then the PI won't even defend or at least explain his decision not to investigate a different direction, what for, why waste the time? This is probably not ejim's case and yes, we only have his side of the story but his concern is real that's why he asked those questions.

I know George doesn't like entitlement since he considers science as a kind of mental sports wherein one must be able to defend or fight for their ideas....but in this case, what? not when you're just a lowly tech or newbie in the lab? So there's no choice but to accept their lot and how to improve it without the support of the PI? Or this basic requirement of being a good team player is just a joke?
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#44 casandra

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 07:50 PM

I regret my point is too obscure for you.

Hi George,

Read it again but I still don't get the point or at least your point...my bad. I'm too dense at times. Can you play the mentor here? If anything, it demonstrates Pauling's fallibility, no matter how great a scientist he was...but genius or rather super talent is not exclusive and great discoveries are usually due to a combination of many factors...and I'm... floundering and drowning ....:lol:....so I'll read it again tomorrow...
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#45 Dominic

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 04:21 AM

i dont think george has a point - he's just throwing his toys out the pram




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