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Ask A SciencceBlogger, December 15

What’s a time in your career when you were criticized extremely harshly by someone you respect? Did it help you or set your career back?


  1. #1 Science Goddess
    December 18, 2006

    I once took a class from Elvin Kabat, the grandfather of antibody structure. I was a mere technician at Columbia University, unsure of my graduate plans. He was reluctant to admit me to class, saying that technicians generally didn’t make good graduate students, but I persevered. Then I had to give an oral presentation. He asked me a question I couldn’t answer, and I tried to BS him (stupid, I know). He told me to “shut up and sit down”. I thought I would die right there. After class, I looked up the correct answer, and since I worked at Columbia as a technician, I saw him later that day. Before even “hello” passed his lips, I blurted out the correct answer. After that, I could do no wrong, and boy, did I ever learn not to BS the greats!

    I subsequently went on to graduate school at Cornell-Sloan Kettering, and a (more or less) successful career in research.

    Go figure

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