|What do you mean, you forgot to take the crude NMR?|
Photo credit: terraspirit.com
Obviously, this is immature and wildly inappropriate (especially in the presence of subordinates.) But it seems that most chemists have either seen or heard stories of advisers losing their temper and taking it out on either physical objects and/or (verbally) their students and postdoctoral fellows.
Such behavior is probably the result of a few of different factors: 1) the stress and pressure of a faculty career, with grants and et cetera, 2) the vulnerability and pliability of subordinates (when directed at such) and 3) the knowledge that such behavior is looked at with a blind eye and more or less tolerated by their department and/or administration.
I suspect that, unfortunately, adviser rage will always be with us; while I might be able to list 2 or 3 reasons why it might go away over time, I can think of 10 reasons why it won't. While it's awful and inexcusable, it does happen. (And sometimes, there's a legitimate reason for the adviser to be frustrated.) But it is my sincere hope that (over time) university administrations and the chemistry community will come around to the thought that it's unacceptable and needs to be frowned upon. I hope I'm right.
*Look, who am I kidding? Of course it was a dude.