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Jeff's View (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 7. November 2005

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"Jeffs' Views" provide witty, insightful, and thought-provoking looks into the life of a modern scientist. From starting off to letting go, Gottfried (Jeff) Schatz leads us through the trials and triumphs of scientific life. With his tongue firmly in his cheek, and his humour always intact, the Austrian essayist leads us through the confusing and seemingly insurmountable hill that is the career path of European scientists. In addition to giving useful insights into how to get funding, give seminars, and still find time to make that leading edge scientific discovery, Jeff explores the philosophical dimensions of recent biological breakthroughs such as the sequencing of the human genome, the evolution of sensory receptors, and cellular suicide. Gottfried Schatz is one of the world's leading scientists in the field of bioenergetics and mitochondria biology. Born in a small Austrian village, he started his scientific career at the University of Graz, and ended it as President of the Swiss Science and Technology Council.

With stints as a violinist in Austrian opera houses, professorships in the USA and Switzerland, and numerous prestigious awards along the way, Jeff is a true European, whose unique, and often controversial, viewpoints are appreciated by scientists and politicians alike. These essays look at science from a very personal angle often critical, sometimes sad, but always with excitement, wonder, and admiration. It is hoped that they will make you look at science with a slightly different view.


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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Jeff's view comes in seventeen short chapters, which originally had appeared as columns in: Federation of European Biochemical Societies Letter. Seven chapters present a lively written and easy-to-read overview over the principal features of the chemistry inside cells. To this field Schatz contributed significantly, particularly to the elucidation of the inner workings of mitochondria, for which he is a world-renowned expert. The style appeals to the non-expert with serious interests in the life sciences. Unusual angles are opened up: for instance, do you know that the specific power, i. e. watts per kilogram bodymass, released by a human thanks to the mitochondria is 10,000 times higher than that of the sun? The other ten chapters deal critically with the organization, policies and politics of academia, especially with the relationships, mostly financial, between universities and research institutes on the one side and governments, including the supranational institutions of the European Union, on the other. With a life-long engagement in the academic world of the U.S.A. and Europe and as science advisor to governments he gained the experience and knowledge not only for analytically criticizing the present situation but also for offering suggestions for improvements. One can only wish that many persons in positions from where changes can be initiated will read the book. The subtitle of the book suggests that scientists are portrayed. Fortunately, only scientists as a breed are characterized with humor and a little bit of irony; names are not dropped nor anectodes related. I read the book in two consecutive evenings, which fact attests to its quality.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen What is science really like? 3. Januar 2006
Von John Duncan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
During the past few years Gottfried Schatz ("Jeff") has written a series of articles about science and scientists in FEBS Letters, a specialist publication for biochemists. These have been very popular, but have inevitably reached only a small part of their potential audience, as most of the articles are relevant to all kinds of scientists, not just biochemists. It would be optimistic to expect the book to be read by many non-scientists; nonetheless, it would be a good thing if it were, because it has much to say about how real science is practised by real scientists, as opposed to the caricatures that one can find in the popular press.

There is a small amount of scientific information in the book -- for example about colour vision or about how cells protect themselves from oxygen -- but in general it is more about how science is practised, and the political aspects of that, than about science as such. As a European, Schatz is particularly concerned about why European science has not been able to match the spectacular success of American science in the past half-century, despite large investment. There are many reasons for this, of course, but one of them is certainly the much greater degree of interference of non-scientists in deciding the directions that science should take, rewarding willingness to pursue the aims of politicians and managers rather than rewarding success. One of the results of this, as he points out, is that whereas Assistant Professors in the US know what they need to do in order to succeed in their careers, their European equivalents find themselves swimming in a bureaucratic sea with no clear directions to follow, and few rewards in sight for success. A symptom of this is the obsession of managers with the "impact factors" of the journals where people publish their work. Rather than assessing the actual quality of the work, they prefer to put their faith in a crude number that they delude themselves into thinking provides the same information.

Many of the points that Schatz makes are not particularly new, but he writes well in an engaging style. As a former President of the Swiss Science and Technology Council, among numerous other activities at a high level, including a very successful career as a research scientist, he also writes with considerable authority; he is someone who knows very well what he is talking about.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Obligatory reading for anybody seriously interested in biological science 25. Juli 2011
Von Alexander Arsov - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Gottfried Schatz

Jeff's View
on science and scientists

Elsevier, Hardback, 2006.
8vo. x, 192 pp. Foreword by Felix Wieland.

First published in 2006.

Contents

Foreword
About the author

1. Letter to a young scientist
2. How (not) to give a seminar
3. Me and my genome
4. My other genomes
5. The tragic matter
6. My secret university
7. Mighty manganese
8. My two blues
9. Postdocs
10. The art of stepping back
11. Networks, fretworks
12. Euro-Blues
13. The severed chains
14. Five easy steps to get rid of your lab
15. The risks of playing safe
16. Chauvinism in science
17. Letting go
Epilogue

Acknowledgments

============================================

My introduction to this book was a kind of public reading of the essay "How (not) to give a seminar". I remember well that I laughed my head off. I thought it at the time the funniest thing I had ever heard. I still do. Immediately after the lecture was over, I rushed to the bookstore and ordered Jeff's View. Rarely have I bought a book on so small a recommendation which turns in the end to be such a revelation. Since then I have read most of these 17 essays quite a number of times and have reached the firm conclusion that "Jeff's View" is a book that every scientist in the field of molecular biology or every person who works in that field (no, the two things are not at all the same!) must read. I venture to claim that the book would also make a fascinating read for every layman as well, provided that he has a lively interest in the molecular branches of the biological science and some background knowledge of biochemistry.

I have one very easy test to decide whether a book is great or not: if after reading it I very much want to know its author and have a long conversation with him, it certainly is. I wish I knew Gottfried Schatz, aka Jeff. Not because he has made quite a career in the field of mitochondria and bioenergetics, a field I find particularly appealing, and not because he obviously knows his subject very well - many have and do - but because he has a philosophical view of science which is quite uncommon in today's hectic business world, especially among scientists. Born in a small Austrian village, studied in Graz and Vienna, but made most of his career in USA and Switzerland, Jeff is truly a man of the world - but by far not only in the mundane geographical sense. He is also a keen amateur violinist, connoisseur of arts, happy husband of a Danish wife and affectionate father of three children. And Jeff has another extremely rare asset in the rarefied scientific circles: prodigious sense of humour. His enchanting wit permeates his writing style like protein channels a plasma membrane. He almost always writes with his tongue in cheek but he never sounds flippant, even when - seldom - his humour is a trifle overdone or seems a bit contrived. More importantly, his style has lucidity and succinctness that - déjà vu - you don't often find among modern scientists. It is also peppered with history, philosophy and mythology, all areas which the great majority of modern scientists, regrettably, have no idea about.

Now let's have a closer look at the 17 essays. These gems originally appeared between 2001 and 2005 in FEBS letters, a scientific journal published by Elsevier on behalf, naturally, of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). They aroused such an interest that their publication in book form became a necessity and that's how "Jeff's View" - the original title of the series in FEBS letters suggested by its editor Felix Wieland - appeared in the bookstores in 2006. The wide reading public may well be grateful for that. The essays fall distinctly into two very different categories - popular science and organisation of modern science - that really should be discussed separately since there is virtually no overlapping between them.

(For those who want to sample Jeff's writing first hand, instead of wasting their time reading reviews, almost all of the original essays are available - free of charge at that - on the website of FEBS letters. Just perform a search for ''Gottfried Schatz''. I would give you the address but Amazon's silly regulations would not allow me, so I suggest you use Google. The original versions are slightly different than the ones in the book, but the differences are purely cosmetic.)

The group of popular science consists of seven essays: numbers 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 13. They are beautifully written and highly informative, though it would perhaps be a mistake to read them for information. Their most important asset is Jeff's fascinating ability to summarise vast and complex subjects in a very few words without ever losing their magisterial scope and without unnecessary digressions. Certainly, reading these essays does require some background knowledge in biochemistry and cellular biology, but not more than that of an intelligent layman with a lively interest in science. If words like "mitochondria" or "reactive oxygen species" are not unknown to you, or you have some rough idea what is the major biochemical link between ATP, ADP and Pi, you will have no problem with incomprehensible passages. Indeed, I can hardly imagine a serious science written in a more readable and accessible style. And of course Jeff's compelling sense humour makes for immensely entertaining read. Isn't it charming to read that the notorious, and "nefarious", reactive oxygen species (ROS) react so avidly with everything inside the cell and with such deleterious effect that they "put any soccer vandal to shame"?

My personal favourites among these "pop-science" essays are probably the amazing story of how the aerobic life conquered the Earth and how, indeed, the oxygen "gets us all" in the end ("The tragic matter"), a beautiful ode for a very much underrated chemical element ("Mighty manganese"), the far reaching biological and philosophical aspects of the so called "programmed cell death", or apoptosis, ("The art of stepping back"), and the fascinating details of our colour perception ("My two blues"). There is quite a bit to learn and much more to think about here. "The tragic matter" has a grandeur which is indeed tragic. It is the oxygen that made possible the immense variety of life today, because it gave life at once an energy source of unprecedented intensity, far exceeding the most efficient photosynthetic systems, not to mention anaerobic fermentations. Yet, the price might have been a bit too steep: for oxygen is a really dangerous stuff, chiefly because those aggressive fellows ROS which are inevitably and constantly formed. It is a rather spooky story, well fitting with my own rather pessimistic "theory" that life, from a thermodynamic point of view at least, is the most unnatural thing in this world. Very much in this line of thoughts is Mighty manganese, too. For it was precisely manganese, with its stupendous "electronic talent", that was responsible for the oxygen invasion on Earth due to the manganese-containing water-splitting complex some early photosynthetic bacteria evolved. Yet, manganese did a lot to alleviate the oxygen havoc it had caused: one of the most important enzymes for any aerobic cell, the superoxide dismutase which "kills" the very dangerous superoxide radicals, is manganese-containing one, too. And of course there are many impressive facts and figures scattered through the pages. Did you know that gram per gram the human body converts 10 000 times more energy than the sun? Of course you don't believe it. But here are the numbers: a 70 kg human being consume about 12 600 kJ daily, or about 2 mJ/g.s; the sun can boast no more than the miserable 0,2 microJ/g.s. Incredible as it seems, there are bacteria (Azotobacter) which can reach 10 J/g.s, thus outperforming the sun by a factor of 50 million! One can also learn that "color-blind" people are much more accurately called dichromats and they don't see black-and-white at all, as some rather badly deluded persons think; they just see fewer colours than the rest, who are trichromats. How about a tetrachromat? Or the link between the sex and the colour blindness? Or the very individual perception of colour any of us has? Or the difference between reading a genome and interpreting it? Or the link between manganese and resistance to tuberculosis? Or... One can go on forever. Even these short essays, just a few pages long, are a source all but inexhaustible. Yet they are only the door to an infinitely more complex and more compelling world. That's the best sign of a great essay: it makes you very impatient to open that door.

But the more important part of the book are the rest 10 essays which I have described rather lamely as treating the subject "organisation of modern science". I suppose they would be less interesting for the layman, but I am quite sure that everybody who has the (mis)fortune to work in the field of molecular biology will find these pieces not just amusing but extremely thought-provoking and, perhaps, not a little saddening. To the outsider many of the points here may seem much too obvious, even trite, yet the insider knows all too well how often these "obvious" points are completely neglected. The invaluable quality of Jeff here, yet again, is that even in his most hilarious pieces - surely these are "How (not) to give a seminar" and "Five easy steps to get rid of your lab" - he never looses his head. One doesn't need any great amount of imagination to realise the devastating picture behind the sharp satire, sometimes mingled with bitter sarcasm. Who is this pre- or postdoc fellow who has not come out of many a seminar with the uneasy feeling that he has just wasted his time? I also very much doubt that there will be many such guys who will not recognise quite a few features of their bosses in "Five easy steps to get rid of your lab". And I don't mind telling you that if you happen to read the essay "Postdocs" in a certain period of your scientific career, it may very well be the most shocking experience you've had since your paper was rejected by a journal with impact factor 0,5. Nor does Jeff shy away from harshly criticising, but always with a great deal of common sense, on a grand scale: inefficient university policies, dull paperwork, tedious committee meetings, appalling chauvinism on the international scene, the art of retirement at the right time, nothing escapes his sharp eye and even sharper pen. Jeff's views are often described as "personal" - which simply means that they rub a good many people the wrong way. So much the worse for science.

"Letter to a young scientist" is my favourite from this group of essays. It is an extraordinary piece of writing, as close to perfection as any. It is almost inconceivable that so much stirring reflections can really be caused by mere ten pages of printed text, yet that's what always happens when I read this essay. If there is any other place where all pros and cons of modern science are described with such lucidity and candour, let me know about it. The most appealing side of Jeff's view here, as in general, certainly is his spiritual outlook. On the one hand, science for him is neither a mere profession nor an exercise in materialism, but a vocation and a sceptical way to look at the world. The real scientific outlook has nothing to do with the arrogant know-it-all attitude which is usually - and often appropriately, alas - associated with scientists; I couldn't agree more with Jeff when he says, nay even bets, that scientists say "I don't know" much more often than most people. They do indeed. Scientific knowledge, and hence personality, are always uncertain and sceptical, but that's where their real power lies; the absolute knowledge is for preachers, demagogues, faith healers, gurus and psychics. On the other hand, if you already think that Jeff has an incurable disease of looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses, you are very much mistaken. Far from it. After the grand tour of the castle, as he charmingly puts it, he leads us to the kitchen. And that is a really dirty place: big money, hectic business, blockbuster drugs, wild claims to get funded, hypocrisy unless you get scooped, lust for power and finally, worst of all, distortion of the truth and the very idea of what science is all about. Then there is a great deal of loneliness, many types of it, in the life of the scientist which Jeff describes in a most affecting paragraph: from rejected manuscripts and losing the trust of your own research group until evenings with odiously self-absorbed colleagues and the painfully weak voices of your wife and children on the other side of a feeble phone line. Last but by no means least, there is another fascinating thing about Jeff which is all but non-existent in scientific circles: keen appreciation of art and the firm conviction that it can give you something that science is quite incapable of. Mahler's Tenth symphony, a Rilke's poem or van Gogh's late paintings "tell me things about myself science never told me", says Jeff. I would myself substitute these names with Liszt, Maugham and Michelangelo, respectively, but the essence remains absolutely the same. The greatest tragedy of modern science is not that most scientists today don't have any time to appreciate art, but the fact that they regard it as a waste of time.

"Jeff's View" has but one defect, though rather a grave one. Gottfried Schatz originally wrote 18 essays for FEBS Letters, but only 17 are published in the book; the last one, titled "Voices of the Night", is missing. I don't know who was the bright mind who conceived this omission but he did a great mistake. The essay is a marvellous piece, Jeff's own "The Summing Up", if you understand what I mean. In his clear and perfectly ordered yet lively and vigorous writing style, Jeff sums up his whole life as a scientist: from those early years in the University of Graz, where there was not even a course in biochemistry, until his current series of essays which were inspired by Montaigne's "experiments". It is brilliantly written as a kind of tough questions and frank answers session, the questions being asked by persistent night voices and always answered by Jeff with his usual and so captivating candour. It would have formed a deeply moving, incredibly poignant and most suitable coda of the book. It is true that the Epilogue makes use of few sentences from this essay, but on the whole it is not nearly as compelling a piece as Voices of the Night.

No matter. Even with this inexplicable omission "Jeff's View" remains, quite simply, a great book. It remains one of these books with unbelievably high substance to volume ratio. And as every great book, it cannot be recommended highly enough, nor can it be reviewed satisfactorily. It must be experienced personally and intimately. It doesn't matter whether a scientist, a person working in the field of science, or a curious layman, pretty much everybody should read this book - except relentless science-haters of course. Again as every great book, it matters little, if at all, whether one agrees with Jeff or not. For sure I don't always agree with him. For instance, though I quite agree that science, as is life, is a matter not so much of intelligence as of character, I am not quite sure that passion really has any place in science - for passion clouds the judgement. Unlike Jeff, I would certainly never describe Eduard Hanslick as "artistic giant" and put him in the company of Robert Schumann and Bernard Shaw. Neither, to some extent, did Jeff, at least in the book where Hanslick was wisely substituted with Brahms. But, to repeat myself, no matter. It is still a book that bears one round of re-reading after another. It never fails to entertain me. Nor does it ever fail to change me at least a little bit.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Mitochondria 22. Februar 2006
Von Peter Nave - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Jeff's view comes in seventeen short chapters, which originally had appeared as columns in: Federation of European Biochemical Socie-ties Letter as. Seven chapters present a lively written and easy-to-read overview over the principal features of the chemistry inside cells. To this field Schatz contributed significantly, particularly to the elucida-tion of the inner workings of mitochondria, for which he is a world-renowned expert. The style appeals to the non-expert with serious interests in the life sciences. Unusual angles are opened up: for in-stance, do you know that the specific power, i. e. watts per kilogram bodymass, released by a human thanks to the mitochondria is 10,000 times higher than that of the sun? The other ten chapters deal critically with the organization, policies and politics of academia, especially with the relationships, mostly financial, between universities and research institutes on the one side and governments, including the supranational institutions of the European Union, on the other. With a life-long engagement in the academic world of the U.S.A. and Europe and as science advisor to governments he gained the experience and knowledge not only for analytically criticizing the present situation but also for offering suggestions for improvements. One can only wish that many persons in positions from where changes can be initiated will read the book. The subtitle of the book suggests that scientists are portrayed. Fortunately, only scientists as a breed are characterized with humor and a little bit of irony; names are not dropped nor anec-todes related. I read the book in two consecutive evenings, which fact attests to its quality.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very useful book 4. Juli 2012
Von Anna B - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a treasure for students and young scientists exposed to the modern money- and technology-driven science. They are brought back to what science really is: joy, freedom and fantasy. It is tough to play this game, but those who survive live a happy life. A story is told by a man who knows what he is writing about and is a brilliant story-teller. You will share his feelings with him when reading this book.
5.0 von 5 Sternen my IT view on Jeff's View on Science and Scientists 4. März 2009
Von Jozef Kutej - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Essay 1, Letter to a young scientist

You ask me what it is to be a scientist?

In this essay Jeff tries to show what it is like to be scientist. To me it looked just like business man, once that the scientist becomes successful then he spends most of the time doing something else than science. Making relations, getting contacts, writing and presenting starts to use all of his time.
A famous American biochemist said this to a Harvard graduating class: 'Half of what we taught you is probably wrong but unfortunately we do not know which half.'

In IT technologies it's the same. Half of the programming languages, web technologies, techniques, computer programs, hardware architectures used today will get obsolete sooner than later but it's not possible to tell which one. Who's so clever that she knows today will be millionaire in the future!
Today's science is too much dominated by clever efficiency experts with short-term vision. They will tell you that hypothesis-driven research is a thing of past and that you should go for 'data mining'...

The same "clever efficiency expert managers" are hired to make short time profit for companies. Increasing short term income but not caring about anything else. We want results (money) now, that counts, that's the fashion of these days.

Essay 2, How (not) to give seminar

He who always agrees with you cannot be very bright.

It's nice when the boss has this idea in his mind. Even though there are really few of them that appreciate when subordinates does not agree. There is a nice fable about SNAFU effect worth reading.

Jeff had this "words of wisdom" as a plaque in his office. He says that thanks to it the students were doing opposite as he told them and that's how they discovered great things. My experience is nearly the same, that colleges never do like I propose. Probably it's a human nature that everyone wants to make things his own way. But I agree that it's a good trick to speak in opposite meaning that one wants to achieve. Then people are not chased by the thought that someone else had a good idea and they are free to do it their way!
"How was the trip?"

Jeff suggests a nice trick how not to kill the conversation when someone comes to you and seems to be knowing you but you have no clue who he is. Well everybody has to travel, don't he?

Essay 3, Me and my genome
Essay 4, My other genome

In the year 2000 humankind have had the complete chemical structure of human genome. This essays look inside what that does that means. What caught my technical mind attention was the information that the DNA is 3.2 gigabyte message. Huh? Like one DVD that can hold all information about me? Jeff is later showing other places that holds more information, like mitochondrial genome. I can accept that this "information DVD" holds all the information about my physical base but not about my personal me. This days I've read another book - The Star Rover (Jack London). Very strong book from inside the prison cells. The main character is presenting his idea that body and soul are related but two different things. He say that even when body is damaged the spirit could stays the same. Who knows?

Essay 5, The tragic matter

But sooner or later, oxygen gets us all. It helps us do great things and stay ahead of entropy, but it exacts a steep price.

This essay is dedicated to the energy. Jeff spent his long research years with mitochondria - the power centrals of the cell. He speaks about the role of oxygen how thanks to oxygen life could shift into high gear and devise ever more dynamic and complex organisms - us.

Essay 6, My secret university

Today, the general public expects universities to train professionals for the market place - period.

Jeff let his imagination go and created his ideal university. Will it be good or bad? At least it's his!
... that universities should be places where people still think about what may happen fifty or a hundred years from now;

Not a lot of people or companies think that far as fifty years. The advertisements and commerce are teaching us to consume, to live now or better spend now. It will be great to have an opposite view (universities? governments? religions?) that will show and propagate other views on life with different preferences.
plaque - 5 MIN BREAK! Quickly doing some research.

This was text from one of the drawn jokes that are in the book. This one made me think of "5 MIN BREAK! Quickly doing some programming". It's hard to compare research and programming but still as scientists also developers are doing lot of things that no one did before them. Quickly do some programming just doesn't work, it needs a lot of thinking and concentration. To do something in 5 minutes (or in a short time) it has to be something that was done 10 times before the same way. This doesn't work for science and also not for programming and in programming the thing that was done 10 times before needs just to be copied and doesn't need to be done by a programmer.

Essay 7, Mighty manganese

Which other science (than chemistry) enchants you with colors, crystals, smell, and explosions?

This essay is a story of manganese and it's role on our planet. The life is so complex and that's why it's so beautiful.

Essay 9, Postdocs

Science does not need more regional quotas, Centers of Excellence, uniform vacations, or 35-hour work weeks. It needs young minds willing to try new things, to put up with hard work, and to take risks. Science, the great adventure, needs adventurers.

Essay 10, The art of stepping back

Knowing when to step back is also the hallmark of understanding parents and good teachers.

The art of stepping back sounds so unconvetional. We all know strong people in the history that had a lot of courage and a strong mind to achieve things but what about those that can find the inner strength to keep silent an step back at the right time?

Essay 11, Networks, fretworks

... truly fundamental discoveries nearly always come from talented individuals, and not from organized groups.

This essay is arguing against scientific network programs that I'm not sure how they work. But above sentence caught my attention. Companies tend to hire more average programmers then few talented ones. Three people can do more work than one, don't they? More work yes, but to finish a project, sometimes needs more than just "work". Sometimes it needs ideas, new ways to work. How much is the one that allows the project to be finished worth?
... see what everyone sees, and think what nobody has thought before.

There is a nice book about this called The Myths of Innovation that describes what it is to do innovations and what it takes to make people accept them.

Essay 12, Euro-Blues

There are, of course, many notable exceptions, but in general scientists do their most original work early in their career.

To compare USA and Europe is a hard task as those two worlds are really different. The research in USA does a good job and has a lot of achievements. Somehow the USA manage to attract, keep and let the skilled people grow. Jeff is showing the examples where Europe should learn so that there will be an exchange of young people instead of one way migration. Last years the world has changed and USA is a bit different but still it's the land of endless opportunities.

Essay 15, The risks of playing safe

What's your research about? Getting grants!

Another picture joke, but tells the sad story about the system of getting fund and grants. This funds hunting resembles the project managers when trying to sell a new project. Time is not important, the milestones will be set to fit, they promise everything just sign that stupid X million contract. I wonder in which profesions people actually do know in advance how much time it takes to finish. For sure the computer programming doesn't belong to those profesions. Still managers are used to promise blue out of the sky - engineers will make it somehow.
A zero-risk mentality reflects lack of courage, the key ingredient of scientific success.

No one wants to take risks today. Especially these financially unstable times. But this should not be in the science. No risks no inventions.
Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much. --Walter Lippmann

Essay 17, Letting go

When it is time for a cell to go, it quietly cuts it self to pieces, wraps these into little membrane bags, and disappears without a fuss.

Jeff speaks also about his decision to retire even he had chance to stay in his present job for another seven years. After retirement his life doesn't seems to be less hectic but it's hectic in a different way. He speaks about the right time and the right way to let go or to step back (like in essay 10).

Epilogue

After the Great War, every year seemed better than the previous one and we saw no reason why this should ever stop.

Well now it has stopped, and we all just have to see how the world will change...

Ranking

I enjoyed to read this book even my pay job is to do programming and my knowledge of science and science topics comes mostly from popular magazines. Jeff uncovers the problems of today science and those resemble any other problems of people from a different professions. We are all "just" humans after all, aren't we? Some are politicians, some scientists some work in the hospital but still the same - human beings. For sure the book is a good reading for people from science, but I would recommend it also to the ones that want to try to read something other then what they do everyday. Jeff enjoyed his writing as it was one of the few where he did not have to give tons of proofs to convince people to give him a grant. He wrote what is in his mind, so it's nice to read full of jokes and topics to think about.
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