“So, what are you doing next?”
14 May, 2007
So: this afternoon, when there was a lull in Science, Dr. Scientist (me) started a post about how crazy is the life of Dr. Scientist…but then Dr. Scientist got too busy to finish it.
Yep…I have been meaning to post about my big paper which came out last week, which is the thing I have been working on, but couldn’t talk about in detail, for the last 18ish months. It was a big secret, see, because we were trying to be the first group to publish on the topic (which, you’ll recall, is the genetics of bipolar disorder). Well, IT WORKED, y’all! Yay! All that work! Not for nothing!
We have surprised everyone. In fact, we have it from the head of NIMH (who’d be Boss’ Boss’ Boss’ Boss) that an even bigger bigwig (let’s call him BaB, for “Bigwig Among Bigwigs”) called him after reading the paper, saying “Why didn’t I hear about this?!” Heh.
This would be a day or two after I ran into BaB (at a graduate student poster session, of all things; I was there as a judge). Now his friendliness is legendary and I am not one to be intimidated by bigwigness, so I walked up, introduced myself and gave him the elevator pitch about the paper. A few hours later he called my boss and arranged permission to mention our paper in a Congressional subcommittee hearing on Monday. (Lest you think this was ALL because of me, BaB already had the paper, but his staff said he was not going to have a chance to look at it in time for the hearing. But probably when a young enthusiastic postdoc waylays you at a poster session and tells you she found a result for a psychiatric disorder that’s more significant than any that’s yet been published, it pushes the paper a bit more to the front of your mind.)
This whole bleeding-edge thing is new to me. Heck, in grad school I never even imagined I’d be doing science at the cutting edge of ANYTHING. I thought I had gotten used to it while writing the paper and nervously trying to figure out if we’d been scooped yet, but that was only the beginning. We had a little celebratory party last Wednesday, ~24 hours after the paper came out. You know how it is, “Yay us, our hard work paid off, let’s have some sandwiches.” And even there, EVEN AT THAT PARTY, sandwiches in hand, someone — who meant well, surely — asks me, “So Techne! What’s next??”
(Actually I was eating a brownie. Oh the weight I’ve gained in the last few months of sitting in front of the computer.)
More tales to come: tales of bigwigs and the science rat race, from the life of Dr Scientist. Just as soon as she gets a fucking minute to breathe.