Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jacob and Esau

27 The two first years grew up, and Esau became a skillful synthetic chemist, a man of the bench, while Jacob was content to stay in the instrument room, manipulating spectra. 28 Professor Isaac, who had a taste for new reactions, loved Esau, but his collaborator Professor Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 Once when Jacob was next in line for the NMR, Esau came into the lab. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me take a quick spectra! I'm in a hurry."

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your first authorship on your next JACS paper.”

32 “Look, I am about to give group meeting,” Esau said. “What good is my first authorship to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his authorship to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau his place in the NMR queue. Esau ran his NMR, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his authorship.

with apologies to Genesis
inspired by this very literate angry person


  1. I love it, although according to the context in other chapters, Jacob was a farmer/herdsman, which is not quite the same as a manipulator of spectra. The more accurate comparison might be that Esau was the golden boy but Jacob was on a less-trendy project.

  2. "...there is nothing new under the sun" (Solomon, most likely.)

  3. I love these parables - youre really good at it. More please!

    1. Amen!

      I mean, I agree.

  4. What about the one where Jacob photo-shops his NMR results to get the blessing of the advisor, and then Esau, who worked long and hard to remove impurities and solvents, gets nothing.

  5. and Solomon thus spake "Cut with my sword the JACS paper into two Tett. Lett. papers, then will we truly know who is the first author..."