March 17, 2012
Only a Rock Scientist
Posted by Evelyn Mervine
I defend my PhD thesis in just under a month. I’m super nervous, particularly about the questions I’ll receive after my defense. However, I’ve come up with the ideal way to respond to difficult questions.
Scary Committee Member: Can you please draw all three uranium-series decay chains, with all of the decay constants, on the board and then comment on how they relate to life, the universe, and everything?
Me: What do I look like, a rocket scientist? I’m only a rock scientist.
I think this plan is foolproof*.
Okay, back to the thesis preparations now.
*Don’t worry, I won’t actually answer questions this way. I just wanted to share my new geology joke. Next time someone asks you a difficult science question, feel free to inform them that you are “not a rocket scientist, only a rock scientist.”
Geology: it’s not as if we’re rocket surgeons.
The running joke in the department where I did my PhD was that you were ready to submit when your thesis was heavy enough to drop in a threatening manner on the desk at the start of your viva. “This is my thesis, and I’m not afraid to throw its weight around a little…’
Ha ha! Chris, that’s hilarious. I haven’t printed out my thesis yet, but I think it’s plenty thick… especially with all of the appendices.
~just~ a rock scientist??? Surely you know we are the highest form of humanity? I always preferred ‘I’m a rock scientist not a rockET scientist we don’t need as many letters’. (there’s got to be a way to work in an ET extra terrestrial reference in there) My favorite question from my defense: briefly describe the history of life. Seriously good luck I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Hee hee! I like that. Not as many letters 🙂
Have you and your dad been synthesizing new nuclides again?
Chuck, 232Th totally counts as U-series… get with the lingo :-).
Only if you just made 236U in a reactor…
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My take on the “rock” vs. “rocket” scientist thing is this: rockets are simple. We made those suckers, and figured out how to get them into space and back. Rocks are MUCH more complicated, and I think being a rock scientist is a much headier, humbling endeavor than mere rocket science.
And, of course, the whole purpose of the really big rockets was to bring rocks back for us to study…
I like your perspective, Callan! 🙂
Tweeted earlier and realized I should leave it here too: “An exomicrobiogeologist could plausibly be called a Rock-ET scientist.”
Hee hee. The puns continue…