Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On how to win a scientific argument against your co-worker

Two professors, one an organic chemist (A) and the other a physical chemist (B), were debating the merits (or workability) of a certain synthesis pathway. Students from both groups were also present in the meeting room. Temperatures started rising when the former accused B of not being an expert in A's area and was attempting to just bullshit his way through.

B shot back: "Have you published in Science for a similar starting material? I have."

What followed was silence in the room.

Classic. A friend (later) commented: "That's just a very unfriendly way to do science."

Imagine a Nobel laureate losing a scientific argument, then s/he says: "Have you won the Nobel Prize?"

N.B. The above methods will not work if you are not as accomplished as your opponent. Then it might be better to shut up (aka the 'Asian' way of showing reverence).

1 comment:

SM said...

Er, could you please change the "commented" to "later commented"? I wasn't even there in the room :D