How’s your legacy?

2016-02-29 14.05.03

Like it or not, most of us are doomed to be rapidly forgotten.

There’s a great moment in Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”, in which the brooding protagonist has been scouring the Earth for the oldest of the immortals. He finds his man in Paris, but is stunned to discover that the world’s oldest vampire is a relative juvenile of just a few hundred years’ age. Armand, the vampire in question, breaks it to him gently – although vampires can theoretically live forever, in practice they tend to fade away after a couple of centuries.

It’s an uncomfortable parable for any scientist, given that an oft-cited lure of the job is that tantalising chance of immortality. Continue reading

Wholly Trinity

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An obsession with publishing in three high-prestige journals is ruining careers and undermining good science.

Cell. Nature. Science. Three short words – but like another worshipped trio, their influence belies the simplicity of their names. These three journals exert a pathological and mesmeric hold on the entire biomedical research body, and it is high time that that spell was broken.

First off, and let’s get this in the clear so that there are no misunderstandings, it should be stressed that Nature and Science are terrible, terrible organs for the publication of scientific research. Continue reading