GMP has a, well, spirited post up lamenting the seeming fact that awards in science breed their own success. Creating an "Accolade Magnet". Meaning that once some investigator is blessed with "Promising Young Investigator Eleventy!!!11!!!!" of Society for the Hopping of Bunnies, she then goes on to win accolades from her University, another three or four societies, segue into the Mid-Career Investigator (Eleventy!!11!!) awards, etc.
What aggravates me is that I know this person well and I have never been dazzled by their techical brilliance or originality. However, AM is the nicest and most pleasant person you are ever likely to meet (on the outside of course). Always upbeat, with a megawatt smile as though you just made their day just by showing up, perpetually supportive of students even when they act as procrastinating asshats, just being an annoyingly calm, collected, friendly person. I, personally, want nothing more than to punch that fake smile off AM's face.
Yes, well, my response was two-fold. First, the important take away message from this blog post is that awards do not happen spontaneously. You have to take some steps to manage your changes for being in the running for awards. Most specifically, you need to identify possible awards of interest to you and start talking to your friendliest senior folks in the field about when and if you should be nominated. By them or by some other likely suspect.
Second, accolades in science aren't about "deserve". They just aren't. Too many great folks, too little space for identifying a single unified "best" person, too few awards. The post-Nobel weeks are *always* filled with complaining about how the Laureate(s) weren't really all that and how Professor X deserved it more for SomeOtherImportantFinding. Smaller awards are no different at all.
I've been thinking a bit about this notion about "deserve" over the past couple of days and can't seem to bring a decent blog post and analysis into focus. However, there was this one thought...
Remember this iconic image of Alexi Grewal winning the 1984 Olympic Men's Cycling Road Race over Canadian Steve Bauer?
Physioprof tipped me to this account of the win apparently penned by Grewal. It makes for highly interesting reading, even for those of us who remember the whole post-win discussion and kvetching. This is, of course, only the view of a single participant in the race but he was, after all, the winner. So it is worth a read.
Before I stomp all around polluting the water, I'm curious as to your reaction, DearReader. If you venture an opinion in the comments, let us know if you have ever done road cycling racing or have ever been a semi-to-knowledgeable fan of the sport. Or if you participate in other distance / aerobic sports other than cycling.