A few years ago, when I was relatively new to the University of Connecticut Health Center, I invited Barry Bloom, my mentor from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, to present a seminar sponsored by a Burroughs Wellcome Visiting Professorship. We have a ritual in the immunology graduate program that is, I suspect, not unique to us. Following the seminar, we arrange for the graduate students in the program to share lunch with seminar speakers and talk to them.

This is usually a somewhat wan and dispirited affair, one that is rather poorly attended by most of our graduate students. Many of the more senior students come up with excuses, such as "I was overcome by an acute attack of umbilical lintitis," "My dog ate my electronic daily planner, so I couldn't remember where I had to be," or something equally inventive and unlikely.

Because of imponderable state regulations, our...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?