From a completely surface perspective... well shit, she's probably a way better speaker than most practicing scientists, and isn't that what she's there for? To SPEAK? (If she was there to split atoms I'd be bothered, yes, but.)
I agree, it's true that many scientists are less than stimulating when they speak (or do anything else, for that matter). However, I think her chosen profession(s) tip her chances of being a great commencement speaker because they require her to perform in public and appeal to a general audience frequently, not just because they're unrelated to science.
2005-06-02 06:07 (UTC)
If she wants to really tick them off, she should wear this:
I'd be curious to hear how her training in physics served her outside of it.
I'm reminded of my advisor talking to another prof about a recent graduate. She said, "Oh...she's taking some time off and then going into industry." I heard, "She's dead to me now
She should perform a one-act play instead of giving a speech. While wearing that outfit, of course.
I would assume that she ended up using the abilities she honed on solving scientific problems, such as concentrating for long periods of time, approaching new information skeptically and finding the most logical way to perform tasks. Oh, and time management. Creative non-science work requires just as much commitment and persistence as scientific research. At least, that's what I've found in my measly seven months off. It would be interesting to know if she still found her training relevant at all after 22 years.
Bet you also heard, "How dare she waste my time like that?"
I think of commencement ceremonies as rather like funerals. They're more for other people than the person who's graduated or, uh, died. My family wanted to go to mine, which is why I went. I don't recall the speakers being particularly interesting either, although when I got my Ph.D., I'd already been finished for nine months and was just looking forward to wearing the fancy hood.
Nobody know what she's going to say yet. Judging from her largely semi-autobiographical creative work, I imagine she'll speak about her personal experiences. Since she makes her living off her flamboyance, I imagine it'll be interesting. I'll be back in London during commencement, otherwise I'd definitely go.
...Oh HO! So that's who you are. ;-)
I don't think you said anything here, although you may have said something in person. Then again, it's highly probably that one or both of us were drunk at the time.
Here, here! I think Sandra Tsing Loh is a great example of 'outside the box' (which, really is what science is all about, no?)
There are many scientists who've graduated and never worked a day in a lab (look at writers for example) and letting graduating students know that there are other options can only be a good thing. Get nerds out of the labs and into society I say *l*
There are students in my degree program who thought working in a lab was the only option once they have their degree. Sad really.
Idealistically speaking, science is about thinking outside the box. But in practice, particularly in experimental science, it's about not straying so far outside the box that you can't get funding.
2005-06-02 16:47 (UTC)
Only a matter of time...
That second paragraph is good. Save it to use when you are giving the commencement speech.
2005-06-02 23:32 (UTC)
Re: Only a matter of time...
Ditto that. Hell, earmark the whole thing to tell as an anecdote. =)
Ho ho. No chance. They may forgive someone who got a bachelor's degree for leaving science, but someone who went all the way through a post-doc and then left? According to Them, she belongs in purgatory. I, on the other hand, should be toasting my mitts in the ninth circle of hell.
Yes, I think the hand-wringers could use a good hmphing.
It seems to work for bonobos.
No, wait... that's something else.
Never mind- that still works. Are they cute?
Are they cute?
Well, that depends on your standards.
Actually, it doesn't. No.
Oy vey. We have controversy regarding our commencement speakers nearly every year, but that's because we have people like Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal as speakers. This year it's just Derrick Jensen. Not so controversial. Well, some people don't like him, but he wasn't convicted of kiling cops at least.
What, is he too pacifist for them or something? Sheesh.