Despite the notion that scientists are some sort of breed of quiet,introspective sociopath forever lost in their own little world of ideas,hypotheses and experiemnts, many scientists crave attention and adulation. This craving is often on display in the way that they present their work at seminars, the wording of their papers and their `presence' at meetings. So,for those who crave this attention, here are a few tips on how to impress people. Of course, I have never road-tested any of them; so if you try them do so at your own risk.

  1. Show mathematical equations during your seminars (crystal structures used to fall into this category, but now everyone has one, and so they no longer impress). Chemical pathways and synthesis, and old-fashioned genetics (complex crosses) also work.

  2. Discuss anything to do with the brain. This can be purely descriptive (e.g. neuroanatomy - GFP-tagged proteins expressed in specific pathways to show how different regions of the brain are linked together), function (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging, recordings of neural activity and use of Morris water mazes) or higher brain activity (e.g. cognition, senses and emotions). Do not worry about mechanism, hard data (any data!) or an explanation of the rationale. It is to do with the brain, stupid - if any one asks, roll your eyes and look upon them with pity that they are not smart enough to work in the field.

  3. Show (descriptive) movies of the anatomy of multicellular organisms (e.g. formation of blood vessels in zebrafish and neuronal pathfinding in the worm). It is no longer good enough to show this for tissue culture cells (again,everyone has those).

  4. Speak in whole sentences with punctuation when giving a seminar. Be eloquent. Use big words. Never read from prepared notes. Recall quotations from books no one has heard of. Present the minimum of data, and let your words flow over and around them for explanation. Never `um' or `er' and thereby reveal that you are grasping for words from your patently limited vocabulary.

  5. Present a genome-wide analysis of anything. It really doesn't matter that a third of the genome is affected when you heat-shock yeast, that you are analyzing the whole genome of an organism is still very impressive. However,you need to work this into your talk soon, because like crystallographic structures, these types of data will soon be being shown by everyone.

  6. Here's a dinner tip. You are at a restaurant with a group of other scientists whom you are trying to impress (it could be a meeting or a job interview). You go to the bathroom and find a famous scientist in the midst of ablutions. Respectfully and deferentially, ask them for a favor: when they re-enter the restaurant could they hail you from afar, come over and gush over you and your general scientific worth? Tell them how important this will be for your career and that it will also be amusing to do this in front of the others at your table (i.e. your little secret). Some pleading may be required- if necessary, tell them they will be helping a young scientist. You return to the table and resume your discussions (this is the time to be earnest and focused). The famous scientist returns to the dining area, and you hear your name shouted from across the room. Your colleagues at the table look up and recognize the famous scientist, and then look at you with renewed interest. The famous scientist slowly works their way around the other tables, reaches your table and extends a hand towards you in greeting. You look up angrily. With a dismissive wave of your arm, you say, “What do you want [UNK](insert surname of famous scientist)! Stop bothering me! Can't you see I'm busy!”

  7. Show knowledge of really old experiments, papers and scientists. Frankly,the older the better. It is really helpful if the work or scientist is famous. But it is important to make sure that you place their work in the context of yours, and not vice versa.

  8. Get quoted in newspapers, scientific magazines (Nature, Science)and your local, institutional rag. “When we contacted one of the leading scientists in this important area for their comment on this discovery, Snotely responded, “Of course, this is important progress (show your appreciation of the field from your leadership position) based on the advances made by us (recall and distinguish your `advances' from their`progress'), but I think that we now need to head in the direction of...” (again, show that you are thinking as a leader and inferring not only the direction to take but that you have, in all likelihood, already taken it).” Make sure that you have a really good picture of yourself - preferably one at the lab bench. If you are interviewed on television, make sure that it is beside a lab bench and that others in lab coats are close by doing something complicated.

  9. Ask really long and complicated questions at meetings and seminars. Make sure that you stand while delivering your question. Use the suggestions outlined in point 4 above on how to impress others with the presentation of your question.

  10. If you write opinion pieces in journals, do not do so anonymously.

Yep, it's pretty ludicrous. Of course, I wouldn't do any of this. Back to being a smelly, neurotic, insecure sociopath confined to a windowless cave in an ivory tower.