Villagers With Pitchforks

The flaming torches were delayed in transit, sorry.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mad Scientists In the (Purple) Spotlight

In which a non-mad scientist gets mad at photographers who bring in the blinkenlights and shinies to liven up their photos:

I know that you see this as a deficiency, but scientists do not work with purple radiance coming from the walls behind them. Not if we can help it, we don't, and if we notice that sort of thing going on, we head for the exits. In the same manner, our instruments do not, regrettably, emit orange glows that light our faces up from beneath, not for the most part, and if they start doing that we generally don't bend closer so as to emphasize the thoughtful contours of our faces. When we hold up Erlenmeyer flasks to eye level to see the future of research in them, which we try not to do too often because we usually don't want to know, rarely is this
accompanied by an eerie red light coming from the general direction of our pockets. It's a bad sign when that happens, actually.

But that's how it is. And when you get right down to it, you're actually doing us a disservice by trying to pretend that there's all sorts of dramatic stuff going on, that discoveries are happening every single minute of the day and that they're accompanied by dawn-of-a-new-era lighting and sound effects. We'd rather
that people didn't get those ideas, because the really big discoveries aren't like that at all. It doesn't make for much of a cover shot, but if one of us ever does manage to change the world, it'll start with a puzzled glance at a computer screen, or a raised eyebrow while looking at a piece of paper. Instead of getting noisier, everything will get a lot quieter. And if there are any purple spotlights to
be seen, we won't even notice them.


Read the whole thing here. Don't miss the comments and the follow-up article.

Oh, and by the way, Corante is a great site and well worth the reading even when it'd not about, er, mad scientists.

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