QOTD: Annals of field biology

Robert Sapolsky on field biology“[Park officials and researchers]..occupy fairly different worlds. The former are government bureaucrats who, when based in the field, wear uniforms or, when based in government offices, suits and ties; the latter, by contrast tend toward torn jeans. The former think about issues like how to increase the flow of tourism in their park, while the latter would just as well get rid of those irritating tourists entirely, so that they can study their one species of ant in idyllic peace. editor’s note: Huzzah! The former tend to be pragmatic realists who function in a realpolitik world; the latter tend toward hysterics and causes and pride themselves on having no social skills. The former typically have wildlife management degrees, while the latter tend toward more prestigious degrees from fancy-ass universities and then, in a way that the former seem to find to be almost viscerally offensive, choose to live like Luddite pigs in leaky tents. And most of all, the former seem to exist merely to shit on the spirit of every park regulation they can get away with.”

Robert Sapolsky, A Primate’s Memoir

editor’s note part deux: A Primate’s Memoir captures life as a graduate student/field biologist perhaps better than any book. Furthermore, Sapolsky’s clarity and humor is a model for anybody who wants to write or teach better.


One Response to QOTD: Annals of field biology

  1. Kate says:

    As a grad student doing fieldwork I was obliged to wear the park uniform complete with epaulettes. I felt like I was going undercover or something, but it did give me an immense sense of power đŸ˜‰

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