Saturday, March 2, 2013

Scientists: changing the view

I recently attended a talk by a world-class male Scientist. He routinely publishes wonderful work in high quality journals, is excellent at communicating science to the public, and has won several awards for his research.

He began his talk by apologizing for not being able to participate more in a particular invited fellowship because he and his partner just had a baby (just a few months old, in addition to an older child), so he, understandably, is limiting his travel. He then proceeded to give an excellent talk.

I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation (did I mention he is phenomenal at communicating science?). I was also immensely impressed by the very tiny act of publicly recognizing his life outside of research. In the work-life balance, sometimes "life" comes before "work". In one sentence, he humanized himself, crushed conjectures that people who choose to have children are somehow not as dedicated to research, and highlighted the challenge of balancing one's family with taking advantage of all that a scientific career may offer.

Further, it was once and done. Unlike spending an hour on the subject, this was short and to the point, then got on with it. We all make sacrifices in our lives (both personal and professional). Let's acknowledge it (yes!) and move on.

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