The Revenge of Who are you, what are you doing and why do you keep looking at me!!??!

Jul 02 2010 Published by under Blogging

Two years ago Ed Yong of Not Exactly Rocket Science asked his readers a simple question:

1) Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.
2) Tell someone else about this blog and in particular, try and choose someone who's not a scientist but who you think might be interested in the type of stuff found in this blog. Ever had family members or groups of friends who've been giving you strange, pitying looks when you try to wax scientific on them? Send 'em here and let's see what they say.

I found the comments in response to this fascinating and used the excuse to meme it here. Things kinda took off after that.
Well, fresh off his big win, Ed has relaunched the meme:

Identify yourself in the comments. Even if you've never commented before, speak up. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? Are you interesting lay-person, practicing scientist, journalist, sentient virus, or something else? Are you a close friend, colleague, acquaintance or stranger?
Enlighten me.

My year 2 version of this is here.
UPDATED with: Similar threads from Comrade PhysioProf, Isis the Scientist, Janet the (ok, ok,....but it should be her name) Stemwedel, the Blogfather, Scicurious, Prof-like Substance, ScientistMother, Ambivalent Academic, Zuska, ...

Let's keep it rolling for another year. As the man said before, enlighten me :-).
(and if you have a science-y or academic-y blog, consider yourself tagged!)

Updated 7/2/10: And here we go with entries from Janet Stemwedel at Adventures in Ethics and Science, Jason Goldman at Thoughtful Animal, PalMD at White Coat Underground, Bora Zivkovic at A Blog Around the Clock, Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science, Prof-like Substance, ...
Oh, and for you new readers, I might as well dust off this old poll...

I suspect that DrugMonkey and PhysioProf are actually:(answers)

47 responses so far

  • NancyNew says:

    I came to a science/engineeringy-place through an English Lit degree and a life-long interest in science/ engineering/ technology. I'm a technical writer at a ballistics test lab (essentially, anything regulation/ requirement/ documentation-based that no one else wants to touch gets sent my direction). Officially, I'm the site Quality and Safety Coordinator, but I'm really a documentation specialist.
    About 8 years ago, I started editing OSHA and Env Sci/Tech manuscripts. That work led me to engineering report writing for a another test lab; the ISO 17025 accreditation work I was offered there got me this job.
    Once here, my cheerful disposition (ie, when someone hands me something to write, fill out, or interpret, I smile and say thank you and DO it, I don't ignore it) led those who hired me to realize I would happily do work that they loathed, and that such work never decreases.

  • Namnezia says:

    I am a Neuroscientist working at a major university with a tenure-track faculty position. I've run my lab for about six years and also do a fair amount of teaching, mainly to undergraduates. I also have small children which keep me busy the rest of the time. We mostly ignore the dog.

  • Joseph says:

    I started out (a long time ago) trying to be a philosopher of science and ended up in banking, instead. I eventually decided that I'd had enough of banking and went back to school to learn more about statistics (which I'd decided I really liked). These days I am working as a pre-tenure methodological epidemiologist at a small university in the Southern United States. I was originally a Canadian and I am still trying to survive in the endless heat of summer. I've loved the career advice on this blog. I'll be teaching my first actually independent course this fall and I am definitely nervous about it.

  • I'm a physiology grad student, and physiology blogs are hard to come by. This is close enough. 😉

  • Nat says:

    *sigh* This again? I'm already getting old, and don't need another reminder of my stasis.

  • Pteryxx says:

    I was supposed to become a PhD, but that would have meant choosing one narrow specialization, instead of, well, everything. So I've been a research tech with a master's in genetics and cell biology, now transitioning into science communication.

  • Tasha says:

    Pteryxx, funny you should say that. That was one of the reasons I quit my Ph.D. too...

  • Eric Lund says:

    Physics Ph.D. in a soft money position. I stumbled across ScienceBlogs by following a link to one of Uncertain Chad's posts. As for why a physics type would be reading a biomedical blog, well, some of what you write about (career advice and publishing matters, for instance) is also applicable in my field, and your writing style is interesting enough for me to keep looking.

  • crystaldoc says:

    I am a PI in a research institute associated with a private medical school. I do a combination of protein biochemistry/structural biology/cancer biology. I am an assistant prof, but my institution does not grant tenure. I have been here 5 years and my lab has grown to 6 trainees. I am keeping it afloat (so far) with NIH, DoD, State and Foundation grants, but I do not (yet) have an R01. I come to this blog (for the past ~2-3 years?) specifically for the dope on NIH, grant review, grantsmanship, and the like. Perhaps because the mentoring for junior scientists in my department sucks. Oh yeah, and I am female and a mom of daughters ages 6 and 3. And my spouse is also a science PI.

  • queenrandom says:

    I am a PhD student in a Molecular Biology/Cancer Biology program in my last 6 months (well, hopefully!). I started science nearly a decade ago as an undergraduate lab assistant, did some independent research, teched for a while, all in developmental biology, then lost my mind and decided to go for the PhD in cancer biology. How I discovered this blog was quite roundabout: I think I first heard of CPP at Twisty's blog IBTP, or possibly at Feministe. Started reading his blog, which led me here and to Dr. Isis' fabulous blog nearly concomitantly. What interests a cancer/developmental biologist about a phisiology blog? First, the focus on grantsmanship/NIH review is helping me think about and plan for the next stages of my career. Second, I like learning about wider avenues of bioscience than just the narrow focus on molecular biology that is espoused in my program. Third, CPPs copious swearing. It's so fucking refreshing.

  • queenrandom says:

    Aaaaaand I apologize for misspelling physiology. It's been a long week.

  • Gerty-Z says:

    I was waiting to be comment #13, but then I got impatient. I'm a brand-spanking new tt-asst prof (w00t!). For reasons that I still don't understand, I never really read blogs until a few months ago. Now I find them really entertaining, so I keep coming back. Also there is some good advice here. And swearing. And snark. All winning, as far as I'm concerned.

  • Bashir says:

    I'm a postdoc at your basic R1 university. Always been interested in science. I started reading various science blogs and forums during the Great Procrastination Era of 2006. I discovered the blogs around here more recently, once I started blogging myself. I read because the blog is a good combination of interesting and useful.

  • cicely says:

    I remain a de-facto receptionist/hypothetical data entry person with a lot of daytime-job-time to kill, an interest in science, and unrestricted access to a computer. I seldom comment, but lurk in the All-Concealing Shadows. Like Bat-duck.

  • Emma says:

    I've been an assistant professor at an R1 university for almost a year. I began reading the blog as I was going through the application/interview process and found your and PhysioProf's combined insights invaluable. It's been the same ever since. Thanks!

  • Michael says:

    I am a kidney physiologist, mostly interested in hemodynamics and hypertensive damage. I try to combine it with some proper medical doctoring - with variable success. DM is one of the few physiologyish blogs around, and - even though I am based in Norway and Sweden - the grantsmanship posts are very interesting.

  • mary d says:

    I am a speech language pathologist with an interest in everything. Fac room chat in public schools is kind of bleak. I am drawn to science but am afraid I am getting old. I kind of didn't organize my life trajectory very will. And, like some other commenters, the required narrowing of interest-- the huge amount of nitty-gritty required to answer a tiny question that has no applicability (when you control all the variables in a piece of research about communication, it becomes so salt-free, fat-free, and itty bitty, the results approach meaninglessness). So I do many many single subject experiments but of course they are not adequately controlled or documented. It makes me think about what we 'know' about how people learn, grow, think, communicate-- my field-- how much of that knowledge is legit, how I know the legit part (somehow objective info gets processed into a new idea or approach while I'm not looking?) and what integrations of what I know I miss. Anyway, I check in with sciblogs and also arts and letters more or less daily. And research blogging.

  • Tom says:

    I am a graduate student (hopefully not too much longer) studying pharmacology with most of my work focusing on membrane protein crystallography. My hope is to eventually land an academic job or one in industry. This blog has become a great resource for me to learn about academia and the trials and tribulations of landing a job and then keeping one. Navigating the traps and pitfalls of a science career can be extremely confusing and difficult. It seems so clear-cut from examples of faculty I see around me, but it is anything but when you actually do it - so reading about experiences with hiring committees, grants, and publishing on this blog provides a lot of helpful insight. Its the reason that this blog is one of my favorites.

  • Dr Becca says:

    You know me IRL but I don't know you!! Not fair.
    I'm a neuroscience post-doc trying to make the move to TT. When it comes to insight into academia, grantsmanship, inner workings of the NIH, publishing, and job advice in general, you are easily the single best source on the internet.

  • Dr. O says:

    I'm a microbiology postdoc at a R1 university looking for TT faculty positions. I'm pregnant with my first child and originally started blogging because of the female scientist community that I found online. I found your blog through Dr. Isis', and have really enjoyed learning about yours and others' experiences in academia, especially regarding NIH grants.

  • Eugenie says:

    I'm going to be a shiny new PhD student this fall. I've been following this blog for two years (about around the time I started mine). I've learned quite a bit from this blog (and many others)- and has definitely been a great learning resource.

  • leigh says:

    i've been reading for a while now. this year, i'm a postdoc in the general field of science you blog about. (perhaps this puts me in the sentient virus category?)
    at present i am escaping a disgruntledoc situation- undertaking a major career transition that takes me out of the R1 universe, but not out of research for the public good.
    i enjoy the discussions, but i haven't exactly been the most active commenter as of late.

  • grumpy says:

    i'm a 6/7th yr grad student in experimental physics at a big university. The last year or so, your blog has been an important procrastination tool for me, and there is often useful career advice in the comments.

  • Dr. Feelgood says:

    I am an nih funded neuroscience researcher tenured full professor and chair of a department in a medical college of a MRU...however I am not too old yet (early 40s)... I love this blog because it covers relevant topics for the grant- and career-obsessed youth which makes me nostalgic for my own anger and frustration during my early career development. It helps me better keep in touch with relevant issues for junior faculty and postdocs in my academic unit. Most importantly, it keeps me well informed on happenings at CSR. DM and CPP make it easy for lazy folks like me to keep up on the changing landscage at NIH. Also, it's often funny and makes me smile and reduces my frequent urges to punch-in someones teeth (part of my official duties as chair).

  • PerrottiSanchez says:

    I’m a TT Asst Prof at a small research univ (Tier 4, whose recent upper level administration has made it the primary goal of the Univ to shoot straight for Tier 1 Research Status…which is not only laughable considering our limited resources and the current economy/funding climate, but has caused a host of problems at every level for faculty/staff at every level). I did a postdoc at a MRU and decided I wanted to teach and do research at a Univ such as the one at which I’m currently employed but failed to see the challenges which awaited me. So, every day, I struggle trying to figure out how to get from where I am to where I’d like to be while being working around the ridiculous restrictions in my current environment. The DrugMonkey blog keeps me up on current issues regarding funding and addiction science (which is my area of research in neuroscience). But most importantly it helps to remind me to not be such a whiny baby. I’ve CPPs quotation “Fuck the battle, win the motherfucking war!” posted upon my wall near my computer’s monitor. It gets raised to eye-level when needed.

  • yogi-one says:

    I'm an interested lay-person. Actually, musician with a day job. I like scientists who can communicate what's significant in their field to non scientists.
    As a musician, there's a similar challenge. You rapidly find out that you can meet all the other musicians in town, but that doesn't mean that the general public is going to show up at your shows. You quickly learn to value people who aren't musicians. To get a kudos from a well-respected musician is of course wonderful for the resume, but I'll take the non-musician who brings five friends to the gig over that anyday.
    So, on the assumption that one of the functions ScienceBlogs is to engage the subset of general (non-scientist) public who likes to stay informed about current science, I'm here and I browse several of the contributors' blogs regularly. I try to post when the discussion doesn't require a specific type of science expertise, or when I feel like some insight or knowledge I have adds to the discussion (OK, I post up the occasional snark, too, I'll admit).

  • I just finished my first year on the TT in a STEM field after previously working at a National Lab for 7 years. I started reading the blog when I became dissatisfied at National Lab and started thinking about going back to academia. Although I am not in a life science, I enjoy the writing, like reading about science outside my field, and find the career advice useful.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Thanks for playing everyone.
    I think one of the more interesting things that is emerging here and in the other threads this year is the career maturation. Some of you that have been with us for two or more years have taken significant career transitions- defending dissertations, starting new postdoc slots, transitioning to faculty, winning your first major research awards, etc. It may make me feel kinda old but it is really nice to see so many good folks making their way forward in their careers.
    Pteryxx and Tasha: I'm not certain if this is the career arc or what but from my standpoint the PhD allows one to do a lot more than just specialize narrowly. In academics alone, it is easy to think of your self as "I work in narrow-narrow-narrow-ology" as a grad student and postdoc. But you start to recognize just how broadly you can do research when you are in an independent position- even in grant awards, Preliminary Data and papers trump the discipline listed on your diploma eight ways to sunday. Then we get to all the so-called alternate career paths- biotech, publishing, management consulting, political policy making...
    cicely- Bat-duck, heh.
    Feelgood- are you actually being serious for once? /drops jaw
    PerrottiSanchez- embarrassingly enough, that wasn't PP..

  • 2.5 year Ph.D. student studying DNA Repair at an R1. Its almost been 10 years that I have been in science working my way from bottle washer to lab monkey. I trailed onto the blogs DM and CPP after reading writedit's blog and felt inspired by badass scientists to join the blogosphere.

  • Beginning my fourth year of grad school in Developmental Psychology. I do neuroimaging research of reading and dyslexia in addition to my research in animal cognition. I like the drug-related posts, but I particularly look forward to the posts that pick apart the latest NIH-related news.

  • Venkat says:

    I am a 2nd yr postdoc at a private research univ. This is the first science blog I started reading, back when I was trudging my way through grad school. I like DM's thorough/balanced approach ('A is good, depending on what good means') to issues, and CPP'S emphatic utterances('A is the shit - if you think otherwise, you are digging your grave!'). I found almost all the other science blogs I branched out to reading initially from here.

  • I'm a PhD student in molecular bio starting my 6th year. I have been an irregular visitor of this blog for a few months, but recently began following it quite closely when the one and only DrugMonkey gave me some very encouraging feedback on my own humble blog! I started reading science blogs in an effort to educate myself on my non-academia career possibilities (especially since writing and editing is one of my front-runners), and seem to come back to the blogs that offer fresh, level-headed perspectives or feature gee-whiz science.

  • pinus says:

    I started reading as a noob post-doc. now I am a noob PI who is doing well. I am pretty sure cPP is a robot.

  • I'm a computer scientist who rejoined academia after being away for a long time. Now trying to get caught up on the crazy game. I enjoy reading your blog because it has helpful random tidbits of job-related advice, and is usually entertaining.

  • Grant says:

    If you're making lists of “Who are you” threads, can a science blogger from down in New Zealand be added? Or this that too far out of the ball park??
    Blogimmuniqué: who are you? —
    I only come here occasionally as I'm way to busy trying to keep my own blog going. (I try write most days, which cuts way too much into reading others’ blogs…) Independent computational biology consultant, with wide interests.

  • Coturnix says:

    DrugMonkey blog is one of the few MustReadTM blogs I still have time for. Nuff said.

  • GMP says:

    Tenured (not that long ago) prof in a hard STEM field. I don't remember how I found your blog... Even though I don't seek NIH funding, I keep reading for the to-the-point commentary on all things academic. Definitely one of my fave blogs.

  • I am here because I am awesome. And, everyone needs a muse.

  • yellowfish says:

    I'm a research scientist, which basically serves as a place holder while I try to get the best of this horrendous job market and land a TT position. In the meantime I'm also trying to get my first grants, and your advice on that topic has really been incredibly helpful (I have spent a lot of time in your archives!)

  • I've been hanging around here for a couple of years now, I suppose, though I mostly lurked until a few months ago. With real life consuming my "free" time, I seem to have returned to lurking of late. I am a second year disgruntledoc in basic biomedical research completely unrelated to your field. I'm trying to find escape from a less than ideal situation. Mostly I stick around for the policy and ethics discussions. Oh and PP's "retraction number fucktillion" posts and rants about co-co-co-authorship.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    yellowfish, you gotta warn a brother before you drop a link to a blog with so much tasty looking food on it!

  • Odyssey says:

    Tenured assoc prof. in molecular biophysics. Mostly here for funding info/discussions, but also like CPP's rants.

  • peter says:

    I manage process control for a large municipal water and wastewater plant. I'm here to collect the free antique duck decoys.

  • k8 says:

    I'm here because I like to know stuff.

  • Dr. Feelgood says:

    @28 (DM) If that was serious, it's as serious as I get! Serious or not,'tis true. xoxo

  • yellowfish says:

    haha, sorry about that- clearly I haven't used my blogging time for the greater good of science (I think about starting a science blog periodically, but by the end of the day taking pictures of my dinner is so much more appealing...)

  • nobody says:

    I have a bachelors in neuroscience and a PhD in the humanities. I just like to keep a foot in the science door.

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