Monday, February 16, 2015

Choosing the Best

And so the committee met to choose between the two finalists.

“It's easy!” announced Professor Tist. “The letter from Dr. Darlon states plainly that she is the best exolonomist of her generation!”

“No, no!” rebutted Professor Tast. “You are not an expert in her subfield like me. Darlon doesn’t really think she is the best, he was just being supportive of a young scientist."

“He was?” asked Tist.

“Oh yes,” said Tast. “He is very supportive of women. And besides he didn’t provide any concrete statements to back up his hyperbolic claim.”

“But he wrote that she was the first to exoblatanate a phemtomentorite!” said Tist. "The field of phemtomentorites seems to be really taking off!"

“I don't think phemtomentorites are very intellectually exciting,” chimed in Professor Took. “And besides, she didn’t really do anything innovative to make that discovery.”

“But she built a phemtomentometer! Only one other person has ever managed to make one – and hers is ten times more sensitive!” said Tist.

“Exactly!” said Took. “She is very hard working. But not innovative.”

“I think it was really her advisor’s idea,” mused Tast.

“But she published in Nature! Twice!” retorted Tist.

“I much preferred the specialist paper in Exolonomy Supplements by our senior colleague Professor Dogle. He is the true leader in this field!” said Took. 

“And she wasn’t very productive for two of the years,” said Tast. “How worrying!”

“But her mother was ill and she was the primary caregiver. There’s an easy answer to understand that temporary slowdown.” said Tist. “Her mother is better now.”

“We are sympathetic about sick mothers!” said Took. “We are not monsters!” 

“But we should make the decision based on excellence alone,” said Tast. 

“Yes, excellence alone,” agreed Took.

“Then what of the other candidate?” inquired Tist.

“He is simply brilliant! I spoke to him at a conference last month and he anticipated all my ideas!” said Tast.

“A singular mind like that will surely accomplish great discoveries!” said Took.

“But he hasn’t written any high-profile papers, has he?” asked Tist.

“It is the trajectory that matters! He reminds me of a young Professor Dogle.” said Tast.

“But he hasn’t built something like a phemtomentometer, has he?” inquired Tist.

“No, but if you speak to him you’ll agree he is a genius. We are looking for innovators, not hardworkers,” explained Took.

Fortunately, Professors Task and Took were ultimately able to convince their colleague. With a vote of 0-3, the position was awarded to the most meritorious candidate.