The biggest breakthrough in the treatment of tuberculosis was discovery of the antibiotic, streptomycin. It was isolated on October 19, 1943 by a graduate student, Albert Schatz, working in the laboratory of Selman Waksman. Waksman got the Nobel Prize for this in 1952. Schatz got the shaft. He sued Waksman and Rutgers, to whom he had signed over his discovery on the understanding this would be the best way to make it widely available. He settled out of court. In 1990 Schatz was given official credit. Not the Nobel Prize, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, too.
Schatz worked under Waksman, who today would be called the lab PI, or Principal Investigator, a designation given to the responsible party on a research grant. Most science graduate students and post docs work in the lab or research group of some PI. The grant pays their salary, equips and supplies the lab and generates the data they use for their dissertations or research paper portfolio. Who your PI is and what kind of person he or she is can make a big difference. I am understating the case.
I’ve been a PI for so long it is easy to lose sight of what it looks like from the other side. Like everything, it seems, there are pluses and minuses. Here are nine different types of PI, as seen by a grad student or post-doc:
Source: From The NIH Catalyst, Volume 3, page 23 via lab of Bruce Donald, Duke