Saturday, January 9, 2016

Here's hoping one of you wins the Powerball, because it won't be me

I don't play the lottery, but the fellas at the barber shop decided to buy tickets, I think. The jackpot is $900 million, and according to NBC News, the lump sum payment is $558 million. I hope one of you folks who bought a ticket today (did you buy a ticket?) wins it.

Here's my list of wishes for what you should do with the money: 
  • Found an institute to employ medicinal chemists to look at antibiotics in perpetuity. 
  • Found an institute to study the production, employment and unemployment of scientists and engineers in the United States
Best wishes! 

18 comments:

  1. Funding a whole new biomedical institute will not take that 558 million all that far if we're talking a new building, equipment, and 10-20 PI groups who have to do animal testing. Maybe you've got 10 years. Much better to create a small department for the study of antibiotics at an existing university (or several) and fund professor lines there with money for staff scientists. Have regular (3-5 years) reviews to make sure that they are actually working on antibiotics and not decide to switch to something completely unrelated as academics are wont to do. Then your money will last a very long time, especially if they get some funding too, and if it runs out, the university takes over and research can continue, though they may decide to switch research topics.

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  2. Sounds like a reasonable plan. My suggestion would be to fund scientists with original ideas and who are also willing to work at the bench (like me, of course). As opposed to more studentships and low-paying post-doctoral career-enhancers for tenured or tenure-track faculty members.

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  3. Here's one guy's plans if he should win the lottery :) http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f2f_1452156252

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  4. My group did a lottery pool. My plans were to quit and do full time podcasting and videos, hiring a bunch of my favorite chemists to do the same with me.

    Sorry, you won't be getting a job offer from me after all. ;)

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  5. I didn't even win $1. Sorry CJ. But the jackpot is 1.3 billion now.

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  6. Perhaps less popular, but I'd be more inclined to start a business (area TBD) and offer retraining/employment to those who lost their position due to outsourcing. Even if one person won the lottery, they can't fight the entire global economy.

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  7. Don't think I'd do either of your suggestions (sorry); I guess my priorities are elsewhere. I'd definitely fund a few nice scholarships, though, for people with potential who couldn't do X or fund Y otherwise. I'd stay in grad school, and sadly wouldn't be able to take a humongous vacation until after my prelim. But what a vacation it'd be.

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  8. I'd build a new building for my department at school, one with some nice classrooms and amenities for the undergrads (who overall get ignored IMHO). Definitely some full-ride scholarships for undergrads.

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  9. If I won, I'd spread some money around to various food banks. As chemists, we may need to make use of them some day, no matter how large an emergency fund we try to save.

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  10. My wife and I discussed what we would do with the payout. Here are some of the ideas:

    1. Buy a senator or two
    2. Start a manufacturing center to jumpstart American manufacturing in a location with low regulatory overhead and that needs jobs.

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    1. Betcha doing #2 would buy you #1, or get you most of the way, anyway.

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  11. "Found an institute to study the production, employment and unemployment of scientists and engineers in the United States"

    We could call it "The Chemjobber Institute".

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    1. I like Wavefunctions's idea.

      Further to my own suggestion (which I will be promoting on my anonymous poster for the ASC meeting) the question arises of who should referee the funding proposals from the unemployed chemists? Certainly not the full-time faculty! But rather, the unemployed chemists, themselves. Collect a poll on their preferences....unlike the method by which the ACS senior management are chosen.

      Another possibility would be to fund an anthology, composed of individual stories, of those enthusiastic, creative and energetic PhD graduates who, against their will, were forced to do something else to stay alive and support their families. Sorry, Linda Wang, those people have likely dropped out of the ACS.

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  12. Our office pool hit it for $44. Apparently, we got the Powerball eleven times... and virtually nothing else.

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  13. To get the Broad Institute up and running (source Wiki); "The Broads made a founding gift of $100 million and the Broad Institute was formally launched in May 2004. In November 2005, the Broads announced an additional $100 million gift to the Institute. On September 4, 2008, the Broads announced an endowment of $400 million to make the Broad Institute a permanent establishment. In November 2013, they invested an additional $100 million to fund a second decade of research at the institute.

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    1. The Broad institute is backed up by MIT and Harvard which is what I would suggest. I think just the salaries, might be a million over a decade for one person, with pension, insurance, etc... Since they are part of MIT and Harvard, they might be able to save a lot on administration, HR people, psychologists, medical center, and the like. I feel like at the current workplace I'm at, there are more support staff than researchers and even if their salaries are lower, which I doubt for some of the really high flying support staff, it's going to add up to a lot. Plus, probably for attracting people, they could say that if the funding runs out, they might still be officially part of the parent university if they can raise their own funding from NIH.

      This is what you should do with the lottery winnings, as opposed to opening up a Janelia Farm type standalone thing, as there even 500 million will not go that far.

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    2. Harvards Endowment 2014 fund was >$36M and MITs was >$12M Much of that is designated and/or restricted and spread across the entire universities I am not sure the $558 would mean too much beyond making fat cats fatter although based on biopharma companies and jobs in Boston area it does provide incubation to create opportunities for scientific advance and employment

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