[ASC-list] is Heartland leaker a hero or villain?

Susan Kirk skirk at iprimus.com.au
Wed Feb 22 22:57:03 UTC 2012


On 22/02/12 9:00 PM, "asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au"
<asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: Scientific literacy of our leaders? (Regan Forrest)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2012 17:52:56 +1030
> From: Regan Forrest <regan at reganforrest.com>
> To: Rob Morrison <rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au>
> Cc: "asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au" <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?
> Message-ID: <380477FA-9198-4400-A19F-A13CBB316A9D at reganforrest.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Hi Rob,
> While I recognise the phenomenon you describe, that wasn't quite what I was
> getting at. 
> In fact, you've rather neatly illustrated the point I was trying to make, by
> assuming our hypothetical STEM graduate with political ambitions would be
> leaving a research career in order to do so.
> To my mind, our collective assumptions of this nature reinforce the notion
> that the only 'real' scientists are the one on the PhD-postdoc-academic
> research career track, and anyone who takes another path is somehow not part
> of "the club". That's how it can feel sometimes anyway :-)
> It leaves people like me, who have a STEM qualification but on a different
> career path, feel very uncertain about laying claim to the Scientist moniker.
> Is this a wider phenomenon among non-researchers or is it just me who feels
> this way?
> Regan
> On 22/02/2012, at 5:02 PM, Rob Morrison <rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au> wrote:
>> Re point 2, I understand (but have no studies to back it) that the reason
>> often given for the lack of scientists in parliament is that, while
>> scientists have many of the skills needed for parliament (research, analysis
>> etc), once you leave research for even a short while, it is hard to get
>> yoiurself back in at the same level. This seems also to apply to women who
>> take time out for child-rearing. The same does not apply to economists or
>> lawyers, who happily leave parliament for plush jobs taking up law and
>> commerce where they left off but at a more senior level, finding that their
>> parliamentary years, and contacts made there, seem to be regarded as a plus.
>> Dr Rob Morrison
>> rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
>> Phone: (08) 8339 3790
>> Fax: (08)8339 6272
>> ________________________________________
>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au]
>> On Behalf Of Regan Forrest [regan at reganforrest.com]
>> Sent: Wednesday, 22 February 2012 4:06 PM
>> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Scientific literacy of our leaders?
>> In the context of scientifically-qualified politicians and business
>> leaders, I think we (and by "we" I mean the broader scientific
>> community) need to address how we view those who do not follow the
>> career path of the lab.
>> I have always felt an implicit expectation that all science graduates
>> will go on to become 'practicing' scientists, and that those who take
>> other paths are somehow 'lost' to the profession. Graduates of history,
>> economics, philosophy and so forth do not seem to be burdened by the
>> same kind of expectations.
>> To me, this has two different but related consequences:
>> 1) People who are business or politically minded do not see the study
>> of STEM as a helpful route to that ambition
>> 2) People with STEM qualifications may not feel they are sufficiently
>> equipped to embark on political and business careers.
>> Do others think this is an issue or am I revealing my own hangups about
>> having left the lab many many moons ago?
>> Regan
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