Based on a Twitter discussion with Steve Hamblin (@BehavEcology) I am a little too excited about comparing postdocs and grad students to an ant colony. Biochem Belle (@BiochemBelle) posted a few months ago about how tired the indentured servant analogy is- and how inaccurate (I’m sure others have said similar things).
However, the ant idea has legs…six of them.
- Ant colonies are collectively smart, so are Ph.D.’s and postdocs (and the scientific enterprise generally).
- In ant colonies individuals are expendable, so are Ph.D’s and postdocs
- Ant colonies are very persistent and collaborative, following other ants to food, etc…sounds like Ph.D.’s and postdocs
- Ant colonies are adaptable. Ph.D.’s and postdocs also adapt to solve problems in their environments
- Ants are very strong. Ph.D.’s and postdocs have strong brains at least
- Ants can have fungi infect their brains. Ph.D’s and postdocs seem very prone to depression, anxiety, impostor syndrome and other brain issues (I’ll raise my hand and say I have had to deal with these things & I don’t think I’m alone)