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back to article Boozing boffins contribute less to science

A Czech researcher has stayed out of the pub long enough to demonstrate that those scientists who don't follow his shining example produce fewer papers, attract fewer citations per paper, and fewer citations overall. Thomáš Grim's grim findings, reported in the Journal of Unlikely Science, will certainly come as a terrible shock …

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Anonymous Coward

Control for all variables

Consider who gets their name on a lot of papers and participates in a lot of committees ("co-operates with others"): middle-age and older (takes a while to understand the system and make the contacts). I could already have told you that this group gets out for an evening beer less often than young newcomers. This article doesn't have a direct link to the paper it discusses, but did it break down by age?

Further contributing factors: active conference and standards-body participants travel a lot, and probably don't manage to stay in touch with their local pub regulars (or even local coworkers) so much as their less-active colleagues, so they wouldn't have anyone to talk with if they did pop in for a pint or two. The only people they see regularly live elsewhere.

Then, there are possibly social differences between the bar scene in Prague and that in Oxford, which may mean the results would not transfer. It may not be the actual beer that's the problem.

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tim

chad's not going to be very happy.......

thats two boffins and one egghead, he'll be spitting feathers by the time he gets to the comments section (or maybe thats because he's got a hangover.....;p)

(re: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/02/11/t_ray_spy_beam_da_vinci_invisible_shed/comments/#c_152822 )

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Paris Hilton

What about speeding boffins?

Paul Erdős!

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Has he considered the possiblity

that the relationship perhaps goes the other way?

Perhaps the "depression, "lack of co-operation with others", and decreased employability prospects" is what drove them to drink in the first place?

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Boffin

tosh

As an ex-boffin turned techy some of the most useful contact I had with other boffins was in the bar at conferences, and the bar scene in Prague is just as conducive to scientific debate, I remember (hazily) on a beer cruise to the eastern delight that is Prague a long night of arguing over the interpretation of quantum theory with a sub-boffin and a layman, needless to say we had all the locals enthralled by our philosophical and technical boffinry. These days as a techy I tend to solve some of my most difficult conundrums over a nice pint of ale. Its just more sensationalist tripe, propoganda the lot, beer is good, we know it is, but the bleeding hearts think otherwise, tripe!

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Bloody teetotalers

"Thomáš Grim"

I'm all for accented characters - it's a nice change from English to be actually able to tell how a word is pronounced from how it's written - but clearly in this case there was an ink blot on the birth certificate.

Anyway, sounds like a typical teetotaler to me. "How could anyone enjoy arguing about things they don't care about, taking sides they don't believe in and getting into pretend fights with people they like when they could be 'co-operating with others' sitting in a circle comparing woolen jumpers?"

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Silver badge
Boffin

Rubbish

Some of my best ideas come from the bottom of a pint glass. Must be the difference between real beer and that lager piss...

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cor
Coat

Not according to James Joyce...

...where then, did the subatomic term 'Quark' originate from?

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Anonymous Coward

@tim (and chad)

Yeah but Lester always make /boffin/ sound affectionate; it’s Lewis who makes it sound as if he’s looking down his 12 foot nose from his penthouse on condescension heights.

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Silver badge

The guy's name is Grim

What do you expect?

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Dead Vulture

@DavCrav

In the morning though you can't remember a thing, whereas that spotty little ass kisser who was on the J2O all night....

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Meh

@ Spleen; The accents in the name Thomáš do still change the pronunciation, it's pronounced more like Thom-ash than plain old Tomas.

I've always wondered about the statistic that Prague has the highest per capita beer intake in the world, i could be wrong but i doubt the figures take the massive numbers of beer swilling tourists into account, the Czechs i know drink very regularly, but tend to not take it to the "lets drink till we're sick then drink some more" extremes you see in the UK.

And if you're sitting in a bar, in Prague, surrounded by gorgeous women and all you can think of to do is discuss physics then there's something wrong with you.

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Alert

Correlation does not imply causation

Hey, Lets do the same study with food intake, hours spent outside the lab and frequency of sex!

Then do another study to find how many previous nobel laureates are anorexic chaste workaholic teetotalers...

Remember children, beer, food and sex are bad for you. Nanny knows best. Now go to your room and study.

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Flame

Most of them need to shut up

The lack of decent quality in research lately proves there are a lot of tea totaling, blathering, inconclusive, nitwits crapping out more disposable science, than you can shake a stick at, drink don't publish if it's compelling enough to poke through your inebriation then write about it.

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Dead Vulture

El Reg...

You're my best mate, you are, I luv you, you an' me aginst a wurld...

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Coat

Ale?

I think this research was conducted using Czech Pilsner-type lager, not ale, so the results may be different using that. May I suggest similar research in the UK?

<nitpick> His name is Tomáš, not Thomáš.

My coat please, I'm heading out for a beer.

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