William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Thursday, 21, January, 2010

How Stuff Gets Done.

Filed under: Science,Self mockery,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 14:45

I’ve had a couple of research papers sitting on the back burner for too darn long.  Again, the problem is I have too many pies and not enough phalanges.  And people who just insist on having me do things when they pay me money.  Yeah, I know, I know.

I am pleased that I have reached the point in my career where I now have minions.  Not full time minions.  They are not full time minions, and I’m supposed to call them “graduate students” instead of “Igor”.  But you can’t have everything.  On the bright side none of them look like Marty Feldman.  Which is something, I assure you.  The good thing about having min, er, graduate students, is they sometimes come up to you and ask you if you have any projects that you want them to do.  Now, of course, the answer is a resounding “YES!”   And you then hand them a packet of papers and research material, and tell them to go off and read it and come back and discuss it.

They do this, and come up with ideas of their own (if they’re any good) and bring you stuff you never new existed (you hope) and they discuss that with you, and you go through several iterations of this cycle.  Till one day you say.  “Good.  Now, here’s a copy of a review article for the orange journal.  Write me a review article of so many words on what we’ve been discussing.  The student then goes and does it, and then you read it, and go through some more cycles of “where the heck should we go with this?  We’re writing an article, not a bloody book.”

Then the advisor gets a copy of it in electronic form and tweaks it till it is in the format the journal wants and mails it off to them.  I’m in the middle of that process right now.  But it is quite helpful.  I’ve managed to make my problems my student’s problems.  This is brilliant.  Everyone should have graduate students.  (And they’re terribly grateful if you buy them a pizza, particularly if it is from here.  The Bombay and Greek pizzas are pretty darn good.)


  1. Sure is nice to hear the appreciation side of that discussion every once in a while, rather than the “Why haven’t you published more?” side. 🙂

    (Not bitter, just stressed.)

    Comment by bluntobject — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 15:39 | Reply

  2. If you haven’t seen it already, you should check out the disturbing stuff on http://ugliesttattoos.com/.

    Comment by Angry Professor — Thursday, 21, January, 2010 @ 16:21 | Reply

  3. Hey! I never got any pizza!!! (The chocolate was good, though. Thank you.) It’s ok… I was/am grateful for the lively conversations on- and off-topic.

    Oh… and I have enough problems of my own, thank you very much.

    Comment by mholzmann — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 15:40 | Reply

  4. Are grad students less cranky than residents?

    Comment by DocV — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 16:40 | Reply

  5. DocV,

    The crankiness of grad students is relative to the course, our professor, other non-academic factors, and the general state of inebriation.

    -adjunct anatomist (aka mholzmann)

    Comment by adjunct anatomist — Friday, 22, January, 2010 @ 23:37 | Reply

  6. Aha! That explains it! My residents don’t have time enough to get inebriated! 😉

    Comment by DocV — Saturday, 23, January, 2010 @ 09:33 | Reply

  7. LOL- Must be nice to have minions… I asked my secretary for help and she told me… well, never mind… 🙂

    Comment by Old NFO — Saturday, 23, January, 2010 @ 20:38 | Reply

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