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The What Syndrome?

The article on "The scholarly presentation " by T. V. Rajan1 was excellent and entertaining. Rajan's maxim, "they select the wimpiest people to chair sessions," reminded me of a story. As a young and inexperienced scientist in the early 1980s, I was asked to chair a scientific session at a meeting in Sydney, Australia. My session was 2:00-5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. A prominent, tall, and self-confident organic chemist from South Africa was fourth on the program, with three speakers scheduled afte

Joan Bennett
The article on "The scholarly presentation " by T. V. Rajan1 was excellent and entertaining. Rajan's maxim, "they select the wimpiest people to chair sessions," reminded me of a story.

As a young and inexperienced scientist in the early 1980s, I was asked to chair a scientific session at a meeting in Sydney, Australia. My session was 2:00-5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. A prominent, tall, and self-confident organic chemist from South Africa was fourth on the program, with three speakers scheduled after him. When he exceeded his 20-minute time period, I told him politely that he should wrap up. He ignored me, kept on talking, and showed another slide.

After a minute or two, I tried again, saying firmly, "Your time is up." He continued to talk. It was intimidating. The chemist was at least eight inches taller than I am, with a commanding baritone that easily overpowered my...

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