Scientists are in general a fair, even high-minded bunch, but if one thing brings them down, it is their superior attitude toward a particular group of coworkers, namely technicians and lab assistants. Towards technicians, scientists can often be condescending, even belittling.

Let me illustrate with two examples, which would have appeared in the pages of The Scientist but for editorial intervention. The first comes from discussions on the status of postdocs. The character in question was quoted as saying, "I feel like a glorified technician .... Scratch that, I feel like a technician."

We know what the sentiment is here, but does the point really need to be made by deprecating another group? My impression, and it is only that, is that such imperious posturing towards technicians and lab assistants is rather widespread among younger scientists. Coming from nominally intelligent, highly educated individuals, this is simply unacceptable.

So far, so...

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