Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MIT alleges Harvard recruiting violations in Nocera move


CAMBRIDGE, MA. (CJ Press) - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is alleging the Harvard Department of Chemistry violated generally recognized standards and practices in the way it recently hired one of MIT's stars, Professor Daniel Nocera.

"Look, we all use hookers (appropriately gendered to taste, of course), blow and ownership in local car dealerships to attract the best and most talented professors and their groups. But offering a freshly renovated laboratory? That's an inducement too far," said one unnamed MIT professor.

"When Caltech arranged for Greg Fu and his family to have a private day at Disneyland and managed to get him permanent floor seats at Laker games, look -- we got beat fair and square. We can't compete with that," said another MIT professor, shaking his head. "We didn't expect Harvard to resort to the nuclear option with Professor Nocera -- that is, arranging for a Nobel laureate to give him lab space."

In the bidding war for successful and grant-attracting professors, departments of chemistry have resorted to a variety of tactics. It is rumored that Professor Barry Trost was attracted to Palo Alto from his perch at the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1987 when Stanford University hired the Beach Boys for a departmental function that he attended while visiting. The offer of a laboratory with a new personal-use 400 MHz NMR and group access to a university-owned Lamborghini Countach was made during (naturally) Brian Wilson singing "California Girls." According to some accounts, Professor Trost was finally won over during Wilson's rendition of "Blue Moon of Kentucky."

MIT's allegations about Harvard's tactics have gone without comment so far. Harvard's strategy has been seen as aggressive in academic circles; it has been rumored recently that over 5000 text messages and an offer of an open tab at Legal Sea Foods were sent from Harvard's faculty to Professor M. Christina White of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Note to the overly literal: this is satire.

16 comments:

  1. Sounds about on par with the wining-and-dining Peyton Manning will be doing in the near future. Sad day for us Colts fans, CJ.

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  2. White was later quoted saying that the offer would not be humored until "the tab was moved to Long John Silver's, because Legal Seafoods doesn't sell Hush Puppies."

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    1. Wanna have some fun? Do a google image search for M. Christina White. Lady has one pose, and one pose only.

      I know, distilling a talented and successful academic career down to one thing, but come on, get that hand off your hip!

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    2. If that's the only thing you've got on her, then she's doing OK! Haha.

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    3. I've seen other small powerful women do that pose before and thought it looked odd and unnatural. When asked another stated that petite women often strike that pose to try to appear bigger especially in group photos.

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    4. She is a tiny thing. And an awesome speaker.

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  3. I've heard Roush wants houses near the waterfront, and Nicolaou will never leave La Jolla because of its "temperate Mediterranean climate." But where can Scott Denmark go? They only have Formula-1 tracks in so many places...

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  4. I'm not a synthetic organic chemist, so I had to look up most of the names being tossed around here, believe it or not. GOOD LORD! I was always under the impression that organic chemists have over-inflated egos, but come on! Has anyone been to M. Christina White's official website? I pray that it's satire and not actually representative of the current state of organic chemistry. I know that all disciplines have their big heads, but does anyone else think that organic chemists are disproportionately egotistical? Sorry about the rant, but if you think that "famous chemist" is anything but an oxymoron, you're probably living in a sad little bubble.

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    1. The reason MCW's webpage appears so over the top is because she (& her group) do good work without taking themselves too seriously. Have a little fun with it, yeah? No one dresses up like cowboys because they think "man, I think we're just a bunch of OUTLAWS!" The idea is to stand out from the crowd a bit and have a good laugh, and you can't deny that the website certainly accomplishes the former. The latter only comes when you stop taking everything so seriously and realize the website is just a wrapper for some really great chemistry.

      Perhaps "famous chemist" is a state of mind.

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    2. Fair enough. When the field is as large and competitive as organic synthesis, it certainly can be difficult to stand out. By and large, though, I agree that organic chemists often take themselves too seriously.

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  5. CJ, you got me. When I read the title to this post, I went into level-8 blog-panic mode.

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  6. I have to voice concern about this illicit activity at Harvard. Primarily I have good reason to be upset
    since last year I was only offered free use of Harvard's CCB Library for one week, three free hours usage at the Murr Center squash courts and 2 free sports massages after playing. I can't believe that other people have received better offers especially in light that I'm sure I'm the only ever recipient of the Bunsen-Kirchoff Award and the Stokes Medal. Harvard should treat me better!

    --Former award-winning, disgruntled MIT professor

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  7. Chemists are such pinhead that they live in this narrow world, with bloated egos and exaggerated "all knowing" opinions. There is a WHOLE UNIVERSE out there....chemistry is but a teeny tiny part. Come on, get your heads out of your behinds and live a life....

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    1. That's a terrible assumption to make about all chemists. Courting strong players is rampant in any field but when it's a part of Hollywood or politics or sports, the people behind the courting are different? Just because there are inflated egos within every sector of society doesn't mean that every successful person hides a terrible personality. To your comment about the WHOLE UNIVERSE being out there, in fact, the whole universe is made up of chemistry, so I'd say that whatever their characters flaws, these guys ARE just trying to understand the universe as we know it.

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