The Rise and Fall of a Geek

So i was reading Discover magazine (April 2011 issue) on the flight to Singapore (Ok! I read a lot of magazines! I know! Get off my back already! : ) and there’s an interesting article called, “The Fall and Rise of Douglas Prasher.” Interesting for several reasons, but i’ll focus on one here: Douglas Prasher’s fellow scientists won a Nobel prize for research he started (he learned this over the radio while driving a shuttle van for a car rental company), because he couldn’t find a job that paid him to do science.

Tragic, right? Don’t worry, it all seems to work out. 🙂 But here’s the line:

… he imagined a reenactment of his early career: If only he had networked with other scientists…

So the reason he was driving a shuttle van and not accepting a Nobel prize was that he didn’t network with his peers?

So anyone who spends a lot of time networking with their peers then can expect to win a Nobel peace prize?

Wake up people!


Just kidding (really i’m not : ). This is what i’m talking about; this man suffered for years, driven out of his chosen profession and doing menial labor to support his family, while battling depression, because… he didn’t network enough. That’s what i’m supposed to take away from this guy’s story; don’t end up like Douglas Prasher! Network!

I’d rather learn the real causes to things; the way to really get the result i’m looking for. It’s scientific. Why do you want to win the Nobel prize? To be famous, recognized in your field? Recognize the achievements of others. To be rich? Give! To feel fulfilled in your chosen profession? Try and give other people jobs that will make them feel that way.

Do it for others, do it for yourself. 🙂

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5 Responses to The Rise and Fall of a Geek

  1. Per Flood says:

    Thanks Eric, I like this one!

  2. ericbrinkman says:

    thank you for reading. 🙂

  3. qekbebfain says:

    thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. yes that makes sense – but probably that sort of trouble and problems that this man had seems like coming from some “seeds” that he has planted ( earlier life?) or rather mysterious and ugly denying of good things that he may have done in the past and therefore he faces the consequences of having a brilliant mind and yet no work???

    some other scientists like the math wiz – a beautiful mind – life of John Forbes Nash – comes to my mind – even he suffered a lot ( depression?) did he not?

    • ericbrinkman says:

      Yes, exactly. the seeds to be successful, and the seeds to be intelligent, are different. So you could definitely have the seeds for one and not the other; the proof of course being that many people are successful who are not particularly intelligent 😉 and there are also intelligent people who have lots of problems.

      So the solution would be to collect both the seeds to be intelligent and the seeds to be successful. 🙂


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