August 2013

Open channels

Comments from various issues of ASBMB Today

“Imposter syndrome: beating the blue-eyed monster,” Bethany Brookshire, June/July 2013
I found the subject essay by Dr. (Bethany) Brookshire to be both serious and amusing. I was first reminded of a variant perspective that I have seen referred to as the “humble brag,” as in “I might not be able to get into [name of highly selective college] today because now almost all of the applicants seem to have perfect SAT scores.” Then I thought that Dr. Brookshire should be warned that episodes of imposter syndrome can indeed crop up at any time, even in retirement. Although I have been retired almost eight years from a career in pharmaceutical research, I recently had occasion to reread a paper I published several decades ago. Suddenly I found myself thinking “That’s really clever — did I write that?” The good news is that at this stage of life there is much less anxiety and soul-searching, but the potential for the syndrome has not disappeared.
Ira Weinryb, Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

Goodies and gifts

David Scharf photograph: lymphoblast cell
Lymphoblast cell. Photograph © by David Scharf 2013

ASBMB Today, with a heap of help from contributor Erica Sharpe, is on the lookout for science-inspired products and gift ideas. This month’s picks are for those of you feeling guilty for not getting your favorite science grad a little something earlier this year. Better late than never!

  • • Fancy: There are countless visually pleasing byproducts of research. Scientist and artist David Scharf captures some of these breathtaking images using a scanning-electron microscope and sells them as fine art. He constantly is updating his gallery, which is full of great gifts that could jazz up the new office of a recent graduate. Pricing begins at $375, with considerable discounts (up to 50 percent) for colleagues, students and members of the ASBMB. See his offerings:
  • • Frugal: While many of us wouldn’t wear our finest items into the lab, many new grads would love a decorative piece with a genome on it. CafePress seller Lucida offers an intricate bacterial genome representation on pins, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, keepsake boxes, T-shirts and sweatshirts. Jewelry items usually are priced under $20. Shirts range from $15.99 to $27.99. See the seller’s page for more:

From the Twittersphere

A selection of recent tweets about biochemistry and molecular biology
IGBOANUGO M.D.@SomkyBaba: Suddenly I am loving biochem, I wish I had the patience to take it serious in med school.
Eng Wei Jie @idamnawesome: Suddenly everyone's friend's friend's niece's boyfriend is a PhD in biochem telling you to stay indoors and wear masks lol
Lewis Lab @Lewis_Lab: Looks like we plan on hiring a postdoc in the area microbiology, pathogenesis, and/or biochemistry. One whole year of funding in the bag.
Simon Edwards@sieduk: Very awesome day today — Also, Lead singer of The Offspring has a degree in Molecular Biology - who knew?!
Princeton@Princeton: Congrats to Prof. Bonnie Bassler, elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization.
Steve Silberman‏ @stevesilberman: Apparently, Justice Scalia does not "believe" in basic molecular biology. Or something.
Karen James‏ @kejames: My first shipment of molecular biology consumables purchased with my first grant has arrived. *geeky squee*
Ethan O. Perlstein@eperlste: @sumscience this kind of experimental molbio needs to be roboticized.

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