Hi! I'm Geeka. I've been a scientist for, I don't know, it seems like forever, I guess since I started college, so, like 15 years? Anyhow, this is where I'm going to give my take on a bunch of stuff. I'm usually a little bit out there (that is, I don't see the obvious at the outset), which means that you are probably going to have to deal with reading such topics as: Interpersonal relationship training for scientists, my lab pet peeves, how to get along in business when you just came straight out of academia, trying to deal with having a life and being a scientist, really odd topics for a paper, random stuff I found on the internet that made me shoot coffee out of my nose, you know, (ab)normal Geeka. Why the title? Because at the very heart of me, I'm a virologist, and while I don't necessarily do that now, it's how I view the scientific world.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
I'm actually friends with my post-doc advisor on facebook. He and I have kind of been going back and forth all day about different things. I checked facebook tonight, which isn't something I regularly do, and noticed that he posted about losing a friend today. This friend was both a personal and scientific friend to him, and while I didn't know him (he left the U before I started working for Tex), I heard stories. Occasionally, I trouble-shot something via email for him. He's probably best described as a "friend of a friend", but in the scientific world, aren't we all collaboators?
While I was in grad school, one of the faculty members died. She was the only female faculty member when I started. She was a squat old woman, long hair wound on top of her head in an amazing braid. She had rosy cheeks, large glasses, and a no-bullshit attitude.
While I have no evidence to support this claim, I imagine that she developed this attitude because she got her degrees in the 50's. She was married, had 4 girls, and an amazingly dutiful husband. She was really big on understanding where things came from. When she taught in lab, you needed to know what RPMI was made of and what the RPMI stood for.
She had an office that looked like it could collapse at any moment. Her labs were full of aquaria. If you talked to her for more than 20 minutes, you knew that her dream was to go to Tahiti.
For the first couple of years, she would putter around the department using a 4-pronged cane to get around. Then, over a break one year, she finally got to go to Tahiti. The plane ride was a little much for her, and she fell asleep with her head forward, and ended up in a neck brace. The neck brace and cane was a little too much to handle, so she ended up in a wheelchair. A wheelchair that I never saw anyone push but her husband.
She was teaching a class. A class that she had pushed for in faculty meetings. And she wasn't really feeling well on Tuesday, so she cancelled class. She came to lab on Wednesday. She died on Thursday.
I've always imagined that I'd leave this life working. She actually did. Scattered around the department are sea shells from her study species, and when I see them, no matter where I am, I still think of her. She did what she loved until her dying breath. We should all be so lucky.
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Great post, Geeka.