I’m rushing to put together a poster and it’s terrifying in many ways. I’ll get something in the space and try to make it look good and all. I know I’ve been doing this for years, but I am still anxious about showing work in progress or early work…that’s probably the perfectionist speaking. But it also speaks to an anxiety I have that everyone else expects me to be perfect too and anything short of that is unacceptable. When I was learning to do science (which I’m still learning), it seemed like the goal was to take the human out of the equation as much as possible. I have a hard time with that idea. Of course there’s a part of science that is objective- standardized measures and assays are what we all rely on to interpret the natural world and to invent amazing things. Ideally, there’s also an objective interpretation of the data too. But there always will require a critically thinking human brain to give the data meaning. And of course people are who do science…and we screw up sometimes and our experiments are almost all imperfect in some way. We forget facts, we haven’t read every single paper on our subject of expertise, we’re just doing the best we can (and no, I almost never feel that I ever do enough). I know there are a lot of decent people that practice science, it just seems that we often don’t treat each other as humans. Most of my friends who work in the private sector actually take vacations and get things called weekends. I love science, I just hope I don’t get posterified at this conference and that it’s OK if I’m human.


Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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