Original post date: Sept 30, 2010
I can't believe a whole day has gone by and no one else at LabSpaces has jumped on this one. Well it's mine, all mine!!
If you've been on the internet at all today, you probably at least saw a mention of the U Mich sabotage case. You did, right? I mean, my friend who is a lawyer saw it. In case you were not on the internet today, here is the synopsis: a grad student noticed that her stuff was all wonky, and after dealing with the police and whatnot and through hidden cameras, she caught a post-doc in her lab pouring ethanol into her media!!! Are we all shappalled? (why this portmanteau cracks me up so much may be due to the gin. It's completely possible.)
We are not shappalled, right? It's something we feel is totally within the realm of reality, and that we quietly suspect of that person in our lab who we think doesn't like us, but we don't know why. And seriously, shit doesn't go your way all the time, does it not? Your western lanes are all weird, or your cells die or whatever, and at first you think you are a terrible scientist, and then you think that maybe someone is messing with your stuff! And your friends are all, no, you're being paranoid, but then you install hidden cameras, and someone is TOTALLY messing with your stuff!!!!
The thing that really scares me is that in this particular case, the grad student and post-doc weren't even "competing," by which I mean they weren't in some (VERY REAL) situation where a PI gives like 5 of his or her trainees the exact same project and whoever gets the answer first gets a Nature paper. The post-doc just felt generally stressed and pressured, and was compelled to slow his lab mate's research. This is super sad, because I mean really, we are ALL stressed and pressured!! All of us!!!!! But do we go messing up our lab mates' research? NO, RIGHT??? If you are, you should probably turn yourself in, as there's likely already a hidden camera somewhere watching you. And this post-doc--whose wife is apparently pregnant--his career is over.
It's sad. It's sad because no one goes into science research with the mentality that they will do crazy, unethical things to succeed; you go into science research because you think science is awesome, right? It is!! That it has the capacity to turn people into sneaky, unscrupulous saboteurs, well, it just seems to go against everything that science is about in the first place.
And I'm sorry, but I can't post about a sabotage without a little Beasties, especially when they were just nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!