Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No Vacation For You!

A week ago, the FBI made some recommendations to universities in the Northeast about zealous science graduate students. The bottom line was if grad students are really into the science they're doing, they might be terrorists. Zealous is defined here as working long hours, displaying an intense interest in the subject being studied, and communicating with other scientists about their work. If you think that's over the top, it doesn't stop!

Additional reports are that the FBI has suggested that these hard working graduate students not be permitted to travel outside of the country, for fear that they will be more able to transfer sensitive information to rogue scientists outside our borders. It's not like we need vacations with all of those late hours in the lab anyway!

This policy betrays serious misunderstandings about how science is done, and how knowledge is transmitted. I can understand how research involving weapons or bioterror agents could generate some sensitive situations, but these recommendations seem to target all graduate students.

Anyway, if you think your labmate's a spy, check this document for instructions about how to report him or her. I would also like to see these recommendations and not just read about them from reporters and bloggers...

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