Terra Sigillata

Greybeards an endangered species

I was very late to the game on a DrugMonkey post last week examining the demographics of Early Career Award winners from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Drug noted that only 9 of the 50 awardees are women:

So who got lucky? See the slideshow here.

huh. anything strike you? no? lemme get a pencil here….hmmm.

2 African-American looking guys, another maybe. Six Asian guys. Maybe another four or five men who look other than standard model white guy. Nine women.

Really? That’s the best you could do? Seriously? You couldn’t even that gender ratio up even a little bit better than that?

As one might suspect, the reasons for the predominance of mostly white guys drew a comment thread approaching 100.

But nowhere in the thread did anyone mention (until I did), another trend that struck me upon viewing the awardees’ photos.

The paucity of male facial hair.

I am deeply concerned that of the 41 men, a full 33 sport no facial hair. I’m being generous here in giving the dude with the soul patch a pass. Including him and the single-moustached guy among the eight bearded, only three were goatees. (Great facial hair style guide here).

How can a man do legitimate science without at least a goatee? From where will our future greybeards come? Have we gone mad?

Comments

  1. #1 DrugMonkey
    April 6, 2009

    Boy is there egg on my face for missing this obvious problem. Way to spot it Abel! I just don’t know what is wrong with these kids these days…

  2. #2 becca
    April 6, 2009

    I thought when the National Academies calls you up they give you the secret formula for growing your own greybeard was in the welcome packet, along with a drug to provide you with the unshakable conviction that “things were better in the old days”.

  3. #3 Anonymoustache
    April 6, 2009

    Or is it that people with facial hair are being discriminated against? I, Anonymoustache, am outraged!
    Also, belated Happy Birthday dude!

  4. #4 jc
    April 6, 2009

    don’t let your facial hair go up in flames with those birthday candles! stand back when you blow the inferno out. many more…

  5. #5 Erin
    April 6, 2009

    Maintaining one’s beard must obviously put one at a competitive disadvantage; that’s a lot of grooming time that could be better spent thinking!

  6. #6 doug l
    April 6, 2009

    Fear not. The pendulumn swings both ways…though the way it’s swingin’ these days favors the youthfully narcissistic and androgynous middle.
    It only takes a brief exposure to classical sculpture of the Greeks and Romans to encounter the overpowering instinctive response our species has to a fierce visage set-off by a spectacular mantle of white or gray beard, bristling with energy. It says to our inner monkey “this guy must know something to be old enough to even grow one of them things”.

  7. #7 Joe
    April 6, 2009

    Happy birthday!

    Do you think there is discrimination against chin whiskers, or does that disparity simply reflect prevalence in the population.

  8. #8 antipodean
    April 6, 2009

    There’s no point growing a santa claus beard until I go white enough.

  9. #9 Candid Engineer
    April 6, 2009

    I am indifferent towards these facial hair issues. But I wanted to wish you a happy birthday. I hope you get some really good cake.

  10. #10 kiwi
    April 6, 2009

    grooming is a great way of *making* time for thinking. Ask any woman. Big hair is good. . .

  11. #11 leigh
    April 7, 2009

    you’re right! i was surveying the room at a recent lecture, and found that only TWO of the attendants (admittedly, a small group) had any facial hair at all. we’re on track to lose a major demographic!

    ps, happy belated birthday!

  12. #12 eddie
    April 8, 2009

    I’d like to see you try to fix both problems together.
    Need more bearded ladies.