Friday, October 12, 2012

Taking your kids to work... on the weekends

One of the best parts of any of the scientific Nobel Prize is the human stories that arise. I really enjoyed Carmen Drahl's interview of novelist Cheryl Renée Herbsman, the daughter of 2012 chemistry Nobelist Professor Robert Lefkowitz:
CD: Growing up, what kinds of things did you hear from your father about what he worked on? 
CRH: Growing up, I don’t think my siblings and I necessarily understood what our father was researching. We knew it had to do with receptors, but that might have been the full extent of our understanding. Sometimes he would talk at dinner about whether the research was going well or not. Occasionally he would take us to the lab with him on a Saturday morning, where we would have wheeled desk-chair races and explore the walk-in refrigerators. Often, we would hear him dictate papers into his Dictaphone. The words didn’t mean much to us. But I remember my younger sister writing up “scientific papers” of her own with a lot of important-sounding made-up words. My dad always ended the dictation by saying, “RJL etc.” So my sister ended hers with her initials, etc., as well.
Some of the happiest memories I have of my childhood are going to my engineer father's workplace and wandering amongst the blueprints and computer terminals. (Also, the massive cups of super-concentrated hot chocolate that he would make me.)

I look forward to the day when I can take my kids to work with me on the weekend (safely, of course. They don't make steel-toed boots in kids' size, I don't think.)

Go on over there and read it. 


  1. My dad is also an engineer (working on submarines for the Navy), but I don't remember anything particularly interesting from his office. However, I did get a lot out of our time on the weekends. My dad did all of the maintenance on our cars and essentially built an addition onto our house by himself. I was tasked with being his helper, and a lot of the things I learned have come in quite handy. When you're a grad student in chemistry, you are 5% plumber/carpenter/vacuum repairman, etc.

  2. You can get steel toecapped boots as small as size 4 (Adult UK) though they take a bit of searching for (Got some for the good lady who has petite feet)


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